In January of 2002, while George Bush II was alleging Iraq’s stockpiling weapons of mass destruction and drumming up reasons to spearhead a war, I was living in Boston with five guys who were at various stages of obtaining adanced degrees from Harvard. Every morning, I ate breakfast with my housemates: a French physicist, a German professor, a Japanese language student, and a South African diplomat-in-training.
The men came from all over the world, and each had a very particular breakfast routine. The German would arrange his jams, butters, and honeys in a row, meticulously spreading a precise dollop before each bite. He also fit the stereotype of the neurotic, scrupulous German (he used to divide rent and bills to a third decimal and then give us a break by allowing us to round to the nearest quarter).