Proper Rotary Bagel Etiquette



I have been besieged with thousands of inquiries about what I’ve been doing in my new role of Immediate Past District Governor.  (Perhaps the actual number of inquiries is zero but my therapist says I specialize in self-delusion and the thought of thousands of inquiries makes me feel better.)  It has been several weeks since my last post so it is time to bring you, my faithful RFA readers, up to speed with RFA’s most recent insights into the world of Rotary.   Having missed my self-imposed deadline to bring you world peace by the end of this past Rotary year, today I’m breaking a very important story about bagel etiquette at the Rotary Club of Columbia Patuxent. (ColPax)

First some background.  Like many Rotary clubs, Col Pax is deeply engaged in finding new and innovative ways to make the club more attractive for the next generation of Rotarians. On the list, of course, is to explore ways of reducing cost.  And one of those options was to serve a continental breakfast instead of a hot breakfast in an effort to save money.  One of the popular items on the breakfast buffet is bagels with the obligatory lox and cream cheese.  The problem being that waiting for those connoisseurs who enjoy toasted bagels created a long line at the breakfast buffet.  My job as your RFA reporter? To get to the bottom of what is or is not acceptable in terms of bagel toasting behavior.

Here’s long-time club members, and Area Governor, Charlie McCabe, giving his view on the subject.  (Note the cameo by DGE, Greg Wims, as he slides by on his way to get his bagel toasted.  There was no way Greg was getting caught on camera discussing this issue.)

To give you some idea of how quickly Rotarians try to deflect responsibility for a problem to someone else, here’s another long-time Rotarian, and former District 7620 Membership Chair, Darrell Nevin, pointing the finger at Anne London, the club’s Community Service Chair, for a bagel toasting violation.  Note how gracefully Anne passes the blame on to some other nameless Rotarian.  In case you missed it, the revelation here is that is seems to be unacceptable to put your bagel in the toaster BEFORE the meeting starts.

In the next clip, Rotarian (and my dentist), Walt Mazzella, freely admits to leaving his bagel to toast while leaving the area to kibbutz with Rotarian Mark Stoner.  NOTE:  I’ve made it a practice to be very careful about what I say in print about anyone who puts sharp metal objects in my mouth that have the potential to cause me pain.  Mark Stoner , on the other hand, is the club’s President-Elect and is smart enough not to weigh in on this particular controversy.  I personally thought his response showed a lack of courage (or some other peculiarly male part of the anatomy), but it is the political season and club PE’s around the world are being careful with what they say about just about everything.  Interestingly, they are already experiencing the phenomenon of Rotarians not returning their phone calls.

It is ironic that the ColPax Board of Directors has now discontinued continental breakfasts, no doubt due to the extreme tension and conflict caused by bagel etiquette violations.  Or because they have other more effective means of lowering club costs, although I can’t be sure.  And it is interesting that the ColPax Club, under the direction of Mark Stoner and Club President, Alan Jefferson,  recently raised $10,000 for the Summer Enrichment Program which benefits kids in the Head Start Program here in Howard County, Md., with a new and innovative fundraiser, and I thought it was more worthwhile to write about the club’s bagel etiquette.

All of which is my long-winded way of answering the question about what Immediate Past District Governors do.  We reengage with our home Rotary clubs and begin to cause real problems based on imagined issues.  What fun!

Stay tuned for more hard-hitting journalism from your RFA correspondent.




2 thoughts on “Proper Rotary Bagel Etiquette

  1. This really is a, er, burning issue. What I want to know:
    1. Are the bagels pre-sliced and toaster ready?
    2. Is there jelly as well as cream cheese?
    3. Is it OK to adjust the toasting level if one were to want a toastier bagel?

    I can see where this might need a special Board meeting.

    1. Hi Ken, these are clearly urgent questions that deserve an answer. Yes, the bagels are pre-sliced. These ain’t fresh bagels from the deli my friend. Not sure. I’ve never thought to put jelly on a bagel and I’m horrified by the suggestion. Yes, anyone can adjust the toaster for a toastier bagel but doing so obviously holds up the line even more. It’s best to do such a thing while pointing to the fruit tray as a distraction. The Board has already killed the idea of continental breakfast…..thank goodness. The potential for disaster was just too much for me to handle.

Comments are closed.