Okay boomers, Thanksgiving is behind us and it’s time to send gifts. For Christmas, Hanukkah, whatever. And BoomerCafé’s co-founder and executive editor Greg Dobbs says that if you think fruitcake is the worst thing you could possibly send, it’s not. It’s the best. The only problem is, not everyone knows that.
People have made fun of me all my life.
Even as a kid.
Not because I wasn’t any good at sports. I held my own in baseball, biking, running, and skiing. And not because I made an absolute fool of myself whenever I stood up in class. A fool, maybe, but not absolute. And, although I probably wasn’t the sartorially spiffiest student at school, I did know where to apply the deodorant.
No, people have made fun of me all my life for one reason and one only: I love fruitcake.
There, I’ve said it.
I might as well have played the accordion. Remember how other kids would make fun of the kid in school who played the accordion? I always hated that because… well… I played the accordion too.
And although I don’t pull the accordion out of its case much any more, I do still make fruitcake a paramount part of the holidays. So I still am the eternal target of society’s taunts.
But so what?! You think I care what other people say? Let them eat cake. You know what kind of cake I mean!
True, most citizens compare fruitcake to concrete. Some even call it the worst of all holiday gifts. The best doorstop maybe, but the worst gift. One writer called fruitcake a pastry with “violently colored red and green ‘fruit’ and suspect nuts that top the thick dough,” with “pseudo-fruit scattered within, waiting like landmines.”
Yup. That’s what we’re talking about. Fruitcake.
Someone used to send a fresh fruitcake to my dad around this time every year while I was growing up. Since then, my love affair with fruitcake has never faded.
Or maybe Dad’s friend wasn’t sending us a fresh fruitcake after all. Maybe it was the same fruitcake. Johnny Carson contended on The Tonight Show, “There is only one fruitcake in the entire world, and people keep sending it to each other, year after year.”
When my older brother got married, his and his bride’s gift to every member of the wedding party was a little cardboard box embossed with their names and the date of the wedding and when you opened the box, sitting inside was a small cube of fruitcake. Suitable for freezing, meant to be opened and eaten ten years down the road.
Sorry to say, the fruitcake lasted longer than the marriage.
Anyway, if you’re a fruitcake cynic— perhaps a “Never-Fruitcaker” in today’s lingo— you haven’t thought it through. Has it occurred to you, for example, that in this fast-paced society saturated with swooshes and dings and a nonstop stream of audible announcements for meaningless messages, fruitcake is silent. It just sits there gleaming, a soundless sweet reminder that while most of the world gets restyled at the speed of sound, fruitcake doesn’t change. Not day to day, not year to year. Fruitcake has no bells and whistles, no batteries, no moving parts. You should praise fruitcake, not bury it.
But if you choose to keep making fun of fruitcake and those of us who love it, that’s okay too. We think it’s the best gift, not the worst. We are used to being the butts of your jokes. We have a thick hide. Kinda like fruitcake.