Look, seriously, screw it all. Just put cheese on top of your pancakes. Maybe it’ll be your new favorite thing and you’ll be all, “You have changed my life for the better in this instant, Extra Crispy!” Or maybe you’ll feel like, “That was so weird and I didn’t like it, but you do you / a pox on your house.” Even if it goes that way, it will be one of the more innocuous things that happens to you this week. I in no way presume to know your own current personal goings-on, but zeitgeist-wise, it’s pretty damn grim out there. 

Pancakes are good and cheese is good, and by the transitive powers of that combination, eating them means that things will become good for you, yes? Let’s just go with that. Think of pancakes and cheese as a psychic sponge into which all your angst may seep. (Or all of the additional election-related alcohol you may or may not have been ingesting.) Feels better already, doesn’t it?

I started ordering cheese on my pancakes at diners a couple decades ago when all of a sudden my body began rebelling against all of the sugar I was pouring into it in the form of Coca Cola and discounted Twinkies and fruit pies from the Hostess outlet store. I had a serious sweet tooth in my youth and I’m semi-convinced I consumed my entire lifetime’s allotment of sugar by the time I hit 21. Suddenly, my beloved pastries and pancake toppings turned on me, and I started to feel ill and sluggish within minutes after eating them. 

Then one night at a diner, after staring forlornly at the laminated menu and perhaps even whimpering lightly at the sight of the whirling, cake-laden pastry case, inspiration struck. I liked pancakes, I liked eggs, and I liked cheese—why not see how they fare all stacked together? Diane, the waitress, had worked the graveyard shift in our college town for decades and was entirely unfazed. “That might actually be good!” she said, and came back about 10 minutes later with a laden plate. “Lemme know how you like it, and if it works out, I’ll add it to the wall with your other one.” (My standing order for a reuben with no meat, seeing as I was a “vegetarian” and all.)

I mean, what was gonna go wrong here? It’s a short stack of perfect diner pancakes, with slices of American cheese interlaced therein, and a fried egg or two on top. Maybe a dash of hot sauce if there’s some on the table. There really is no room for anything to go awry—like if someone handed you a warm, sleeping puppy and she was dressed up in a teddy bear costume and she fell asleep at the exact right angle for you to take selfies without waking her up. You might not naturally wake up thinking "Oh, this is what I need in my day," but when it happens, there’s no denying that it’s perfect.

So, cheese on pancakes. You are welcome, America. Good luck out there.

(Oh, and you should also put hot sauce on your oatmeal.)