Like most New Zealanders I am the best dad in the country and my kids are the most special and important ever. My children's mother is the best mum ever. We love our kids more than life itself. More than anyone loves their kids. Yip, we are the most amazing parents ever.
You probably are too. But great as we all are sometimes we overshoot the mark and end up humiliated.
For my son's birthday last week I booked us into Eventing Banquet at the Green Dragon in Hobbiton, followed by a week snowboarding at Mt Hutt. He was pretty impressed. But not nearly as impressed as he was when I took him to Lincoln Road for lunch on our return.
In fact he was more excited and impressed by Lincoln Road in West Auckland than he was by Disneyland. The trip to Lincoln Road cost about 30 bucks. I'm still paying off Disneyland.
Lincoln Road became a magical destination for young and old when Steve Braunias ate it. I have been reading his life-changing book The Man Who Ate Lincoln Road to my boys at bedtime.
This from the blurb, 'The discovery that one street in Auckland was lined with 55 food joints -mostly fast food, soaked in fat and salt and good, sweet sugar - got Steve Braunias to thinking: could one man eat the lot in a single year?'.
The result is an epic journey that's gone down better with my kids than The BFG,
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and all the Potter books combined. It's all they talk about.
Moments after landing back in Auckland from our a ski trip my precious little Barry asks "Dad can we go through the tunnel to Lincoln Road". "No we bloody well can't," I screamed back. "What are you stupid?." "You shut up!" "You shut your face boy."
It was an idiotic request at 10pm at night. But the next day we packed up the car and headed west. He was in awe of the road. Looking out of the car with both hands on the windows and his tongue hanging out like a dog. My heart soared. So cute.
"Dad, dad, the BBQ Hut Nood Les, it's true, dad, they spelt it wrong, dad", "Look, look, La Porchetta, it's in an old Pizza Hut building. The Man Who Ate Lincoln Road ate there when Valentines wouldn't give him his free birthday dinner","'Dad, dad, look, look, that's the Carls Jr with the bad hygiene rating."
A positive review from a bottom feeder like me is almost certainly an insult to a proper writer like Braunias. But surely he is our nation's greatest writer.
I learnt more about New Zealand from The Man Who Ate Lincoln Road than Michael King's The History of New Zealand. Actually my review of that book would be similar to Steve's review of the first Subway on Lincoln Road.
The Man Who Ate Lincoln Road is compiled from the Herald column of the same name. With added insights and some non-boring footnotes.
I don't know if it was luck or design or bad luck and design but the book hits the key plot points of all great epics.
Its turning points are exactly at the right time. A redemption that brings parts of the first and second act together and like all great tales a heart-wrenching death at the three-quarter mark. How's that for pseudo-intellectual, drunken, book-club-level analysis?.
In conclusion. Bloody good book. Read it. Then if you are an amazing parent like me share it with your kids. It will transform one of the most punishing roads in New Zealand into a magical mystery destination.
To quote my beloved 8-year-old son, "Dad, can you ask The Man Who Ate Lincoln Road to eat Dominion Road?". "No you idiot, didn't you listen? He lives in West Auckland. He's not going to bloody come into town to eat Dominion Road is he?"