the breakfast triangle

Talking with amandarin this morning, I landed upon one of the great dilemmas of the modern day: the Breakfast Triangle.

You might be familiar with the service triangle, the truism that you can only have two of the three qualities in a service provider: good, fast, or cheap. You cannot have all three. Will absolutely not happen, ever. If you think you have all three, it's only a matter of time before one of those qualities disappears. It was an illusion.

Even as fantastic a designer as I am, I can't manage to give my clients all three qualities. I do a lot of pro bono work for worthy causes, which is both cheap and good. But I am not fast, when I'm doing something for free, and I warn the clients about that. Glacial is a suitable adjective. For free, it gets done when it gets done. For free, it can go stand in line behind all my other paying work. For free, it may well languish for months or years if there's no firm deadline. My habit of moving at two speeds (Glacial/On Fire) does not help much here. You'd think it would be so easy to also just get the free thing done quickly. Surely, it can't be that much more difficult to just do the free thing sooner, right? But in what seems like the very instant a deadline is set for a project I'm doing for free, bugs, typos, and other errors inexplicably begin breeding like cockroaches. They just do. I suspect the hand of Titivillus.

So, the Breakfast Triangle.

You cannot find breakfast food that is all three of the following:

  • good for you
  • easy to make/acquire/consume in an undercaffeinated state
  • tastes good

Absolutely cannot be done. Some example foods:

Bacon -- tastes good, not good for you, not easy. Hot grease burns.
Coffee -- tastes good, not easy at all.
Yogurt -- tastes good, good for you, totally not easy. Those lids are made of evil.
Cold cereal -- tastes vile, not easy.

The problem with breakfast food is that it's so treacherous. I mean, there you are, trying to decide what to eat, when you've had no caffeine. Even making caffeine is hard when you haven't had any and are an addict. Now, some of you who don't suffer from severe caffeine addiction might be wondering what the problem with 'easy' is. I invite those of you in this category to come spend 15 minutes with me on any given morning before I've had at least 16oz of coffee. My dexterity, normally quite good, plummets as if my hands were replaced with action figure claws. My intellect likewise tanks.

So in that state, how can you reasonably be expected to choose foods that actually taste good together AND are easily made? You can't. Which is why I avoid breakfast entirely, and thus, the Breakfast Triangle. Maybe twice a year, I attempt breakfast before coffee, and regret it every single time.

Now, of course, for more coffee.

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