Apparently Jonathan Safran Foer is just like us. He eats at Chipotle and he curses the heavens when he neglects to bring something to entertain him while he crams rice, beans and guacamole (he's a vegetarian) into his piehole.
But since he's a famous author, he was able to e-mail the chain's CEO, Steve Ells, and pitch him a neat idea: "I bet a shitload of people go into your restaurants every day, and I bet some of them have very similar experiences, and even if they didn't have that negative experience, they could have a positive experience if they had access to some kind of interesting text," Foer recalled to Vanity Fair as a summary of his e-mail.
This is all to say that, starting today, original long-form text by Foer—along with fellow scribes Judd Apatow, Sheri Fink, Malcolm Gladwell, Bill Hader, Michael Lewis, Toni Morrison, Steve Pinker, George Saunders and Sarah Silverman—will festoon Chipotle's cups and bags. Chipotle deemed the initiative "Cultivating Thought." Foer selected the writers, and any edits were made by him.
Check out two of the writeups below and see them all here.
Via Vanity Fair.
The Two-Minute Minute
By Michael Lewis
I spend too much time trying to spend less time. Before trips to the grocery store, I’ll waste minutes debating whether it is more efficient to make a list, or simply race up and down the aisles grabbing things. I spend what feels like decades in airport security lines trying to figure out how to get through most quickly: should I put the plastic bin containing my belt and shoes through the bomb detector before my carry-on bag, or after? And why sit patiently waiting for the light to turn green when I might email on my phone? I’ve become more worried about using time efficiently than using it well. But in saner moments I’m able to approach the fourth dimension not as a thing to be ruthlessly managed, but whose basic nature might be altered to enrich my experience of life. I even have tricks for slowing time—or at least my perception of it. At night I sometimes write down things that happened that day.
For example: This morning Walker (my 5-year-old son) asks me if I had a pet when I was a kid. “Yes,” I say, “I had a Siamese cat that I loved named Ding How, but he got run over by a car.” Walker: “It’s lucky that it got killed by a car.” Me: “Why?” Walker: “Because then you could get a new cat that isn’t named Ding How.”
Recording the quotidian details of my day seems to add hours a day to my life: I’m not sure why. Another trick is to focus on some ordinary thing—the faintly geological strata of the insides of a burrito, for instance—and try to describe what I see. Another: pick a task I’d normally do quickly and thoughtlessly—writing words for the side of a cup, say—and do it as slowly as possible. Forcing my life into slow-motion, I notice a lot that I miss at game speed. The one thing I don’t notice is the passage of time.
By Toni Morrison
I took my heart out and gave it to a writer made heartless by fame, someone who needed it to pump blood into veins desiccated by the suck and roar of crowds slobbering or poisoning or licking up the red froth they mistake for happiness because happiness looks just like a heart painted on a valentine cup or tattooed on an arm that has never held a victim or comforted a hurt friend. I took it out and the space it left in my chest was sutured tight like the skin of a drum.
As my own pulse failed, I fell along with a soft shower of rain typical in this place.
Lying there, collapsed under trees bordering the mansion of the famous one I saw a butterfly broken by the slam of a single raindrop on its wings fold and flutter as it hit a pool of water still fighting for the lift that is its nature. I closed my eyes expecting to dissolve into stars or lava or a brutal sequoia when the famous writer appeared and leaned down over me. Lifting my head he put his lips on mine and breathed into my mouth one word and then another, and another, words upon words then numbers, then notes. I swallowed it all while my mind filled with language, measure, music, knowledge.
These gifts from the famous writer were so seductive, so all encompassing they seemed to make a heart irrelevant.