October 6, 1999

Last week, Harvard gave out its Ig Nobel Prizes, for scientific accomplishments "that cannot or should not be reproduced."

I was shocked to learn that the Sociology Ig Nobel prize went to Steve Penfold of York University (Toronto) who wrote his PhD thesis on the sociology of donut shops.

In fact, his thesis is titled, "Tim Horton of Hamilton: Suburban Culture and the Donut Store, 1950-1985"

I don't think those fine minds at Harvard understand what the donut shop means to a Canadian. If the subject is worth of a cover story of a national magazine, would it not also be worth of scholarly study?

In fact, I have often mentioned to friends that I would love to see a paper written on the status of the donut shop in Canada. You see, what I love about Tim Horton's and its ilk (not Starbucks, Second Cup or any other 'cafes', mind you) is not the donuts but the fact that is one of the few places where all of humanity can meet.

Where else can you find Sunday post-church folk sipping coffee beside the post-party hangover folk doing like-wise? It is in the donut shop where you find both delinquent and cop, grannie and teen gangs, grunt manual workers and high-tech new media wage-slaves, immigrants and blue bloods...

I worked at a Mr. Donut once.
It was not Ig Nobel work.