Jon "Word Ninja" Heffley was meeting with some other Fools in Stewart Center. He arrived holding a cake. When questioned about, said cake Heffley stated that he found the cake, to which Paul observed that "cake is not naturally occurring."
Jon explained that the cake was sitting on top of a garbage can. Although part of the cake had been consumed, the plastic lid had been replaced, and surplus plastic cutlery had been thoughtfully placed inside. An argument ensued about whether or not the cake was garbage. Jon argued that it was not, since it was on top of the can and not in it. The other Fools countered that it was garbage. Despite this, Heffley consumed the cake.
The incident is notable not only because it is an entertaining story, but also because it is one of many instances where Paul's life has been later (or earlier) imitated in other media. Similar situations in popular media include:
- An episode of Seinfeld where George eats an éclair out of the trash in his girlfriend's mother's house. Although in this case the éclair was atop a doily, it is undeniably trash because it was below the rim.
- A Penny Arcade comic where Gabe finds a cake. However, that cake is clearly in pristine condition and not in a trash receptacle, rendering its designation as "litter" much more dubious than one that was half-eaten and atop a trash can.