Every bagel is a journey into the mind of the person who schmeers it

The man behind the counter has a question about my bagel.

“Do you want a regular amount of cream cheese, or a ridiculous amount?”

“What’s the difference?”

“A ridiculous amount is when I layer it thick, like from your scalp to the top of your fro.”

I touch my hair.

“Yeah, that’s too much,” I say. “Don’t go crazy.”

“But the voices inside my head say I am crazy, brother.”

A wild laughter consumes the man. If he’s trying to look sane, he’s failing miserably. On the other hand, if he’s trying to mess with me, he’s crushing it.

The bagel comes out of the toaster. Suddenly, the man stops laughing.

“Ok, so we’re doing like half a schmeer,” he says.

I nod, a little surprised by the change in the man’s demeanor. But he reads the look on my face from a different angle.

“What? You think a Mexican guy can’t throw a little Yiddish? I work in a deli, brother.”

“No, I’m not surprised,” I say. “It’s cool if the voices in your head are multilingual.”

Once again, laughter consumes the man. He prepares the bagel, wraps it in foil, and presents it to me.

“I upgraded you to full schmeer, brother.”

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