Last Saturday, at work, I walked into an elevator and found myself sharing it with a Tater Tot. It was just sitting there in the middle of the floor. I was struck by the poignancy of the moment, and wrote a haiku, which I sent to a friend:
A bit of breakfast escaped
The Lone Tater Tot.
The problem with the form, though, is that it's associated with natural beauty and serenity, and entirely fails to capture the tragedy of the event. For this, I turned to everyone's favorite cokehead and absinthe-drinker, E.A. Poe. With apologies to the master and his lost love, this is what happened:
Overflowing golden bowl! The barrel-shaped morsel dropped.
Dirty as coal, the elevator's floor is hardly ever mopped.
Someone has lost a tater tot, in non-trans-fatty-oil fried,
And part of me, as if it were my own warm breakfast, suddenly has died.
How can you salvage this unfortunate tasty tater tot?
So tempting, so delicious (or it was when it was hot)
I want to pick the morsel up, but know I'd better not.
Careless! If you pile high the bowl of salty treats
And walk around and board an elevator as you eats,
How then, can you then feign surprise when one falls off the heap?
How does your conscience ever calm enough to let you sleep?
How long will it haunt you, this lost tot you couldn't keep?
Perhaps it hasn't been there long, and now it could be mine.
Maybe it's dry, and clean enough, really the floor seems fine.
If I could have this tater tot right now, my heart would sing,
And also burn, in just htat way that fried and tasty pleasures bring.
My coffee cries out for a bit of solid food to eat besides,
Something chopped to little bits and recondensed with rounded sides.
A perfect starchy steed on which a drop of Frank's Red Hot sauce rides.
Alas! Alas! Another passenger the elevator's gained,
Without my privacy I know the tot could never be attained.
I'm not so classy but my Mom got me at least a little trained.
So when the elevator doors squeak open I'll be on my way
And then I have to start another dismal, hungry, totless day.
Your Humblest and Most Devoted Servant,
It is better to light a candle than curse the gas leak.