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Posted at 4:18 PM ET, 12/15/2010

On National Cupcake Day, a word for the muffin

By Alexandra Petri


National Cupcake Day?

This is yet another day I feel bad for muffins.

I always think of muffins as cupcakes' hard-working older siblings. They toiled at their unglamorous but steady jobs while cupcakes waltzed off to Hollywood to try to make it in the biz. As the muffins sat behind the Starbucks counter, they secretly looked forward to cupcakes' not making it and slinking back home with damp and wrinkled frosting.

Then -- well, we know what happened.

Cupcakes made it big. Now they're being photographed with celebrities, they have their own reality TV series, and muffins are still stuck behind the counter, sometimes for days at a time. Cupcakes live in trendier neighborhoods than muffins. You can even buy cupcake carriers to take them from place to place without incident, like small excitable dogs! Cupcakes sometimes are arrested for transporting illicit substances. The most illicit substance muffins will transport for you is bran.

When you call someone "muffin," you picture her as a grandmother, or a cat, or a cat who belongs to a grandmother. When you call someone "cupcake," you're either insulting a big man or talking to an attractive woman in a slightly more sexist era.

Meanwhile, muffins trudge in to work every day and try to keep a good attitude about it. They spill perkily out over the top. But it's not enough. People write articles about how cupcakes are more than just cupcakes -- they're a reflection on our society. Muffins aren't a commentary on anything. They're just a breakfast food. Not that they don't try to keep up. But there are few things more pathetic than a frosted muffin. "This is the general concept, right?" it seems to say. "I don't really get it, but I'll do it. Why don't you love me?" It's like watching your grandmother dress up in heels and a tube top and try to send a text message.

But I don't blame them.

Muffins are Garfield. Cupcakes are Nermal. Muffins are Jacob. Cupcakes are Edward. Cupcakes have a celebrity quality that muffins entirely lack -- they're decorative, brightly-colored, and leave you unsatisfied. You never see people lining up around the block for muffins. But they show up every day on time regardless. They seem reconciled to the notion that, for most of us, life is a thankless task in which we give and give -- bran! berries! nuts! digestive aid!-- and receive nothing in return.

The cupcakes go out and make a mess. The muffins have to come around later and pick up. After you've eaten too many cupcakes, "muffin top" is the cute nickname for the fat that spills out over the waistband of your jeans. And that's the pattern in a nutshell.

In case I was wrong, I looked on Facebook for a Muffin Celebration. I found a small, limp Facebook group called National Muffin Day that said you could celebrate it any time. That's the sign you're the red-headed step-muffin of foods. "We don't need a special day for you, because we can celebrate you every day," is what my parents said after they forgot my birthday. There's an official National Blueberry Muffin Day, but it's not the same.

So on National Cupcake Day, I'm not getting a cupcake. I'm getting a muffin, to show solidarity. Muffins put in the hard hours, and they deserve recognition.

Actually, who am I kidding? I want a cupcake.

I feel bad for muffins. I'll probably wind up marrying one. You know, muffins, you're so virtuous and hard-working; you make me feel guilty about myself. I see you every day behind the glass partition at Starbucks. I know you have too much dignity to beg me to take you. But if I did, it would be a pity snack. You wouldn't want that. I know you too well.

By Alexandra Petri  | December 15, 2010; 4:18 PM ET
Categories:  Epic Failures, Petri, Worst Things Ever  | Tags:  America, coffee, cupcakes, muffins  
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I get depressed every year on National Cupcake Day. My mom never let me eat cupcakes.

After our Cupcake Day turkey dinner, we would open our Cupcake Day presents and sing Cupcake Day carols, but all she ever served for dessert were bran muffins.

Unfortunately, when I try to eat a cupcake today, my body responds to it just like it was a bran muffin. My brother thought it was funny to make a video of my reaction to cupcakes, but it ended up on CNN:

Posted by: divtune | December 17, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

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