Saturday, April 27, 2013

Manicure! Manicure!

Call me sentimental but as I look ahead to my final week of work with my long-term employer, I can't help but search for any marks I made during my time with them. Or don't call me sentimental (I'm really not) but think of this as a microcosm of any of life's departures: we all want to know, what have we really left behind?

As for me, I've definitely broken some equipment in my day, so that's something. I've left a keyboard full of falafel crumbs. Innumerable pencils out on the prairies. Probably long red hairs clogging up most of the drains in the building.

A few sayings come to mind ('goat and cabbage,' 'bundle the sheep,' 'the Griffiths Hair Scale') - I hope those stick around. My opinion that Astragalus bisulcatus smells like hamster pee seems to have taken root. Countless photos of me at corporate events, reliably accessorized with a wine glass. Or bottle.

The savvy field technique of freezing a wet facecloth to stick in your lunch bag to keep your food cool until lunch then clean off the layers of grime at the end of the day.

Teaching wetlands folks the plant called pussytoes purely to ensure that there would always be pussy in their reports, since I know *some* people happen to find this objectionable.

Several dozen forks.

Even more reports.

And a ton of amazing friends.

This is where the mascara could really start to flow but, fortunately, it has been scientifically proven that there is life after consulting so you don't even need to believe in an official Afterlife to know that I've hardly effected much of a departure at all in the scheme of things. So call me sometime. Let's hang out.

Gonna throw away my title
and toss it in the trash.
~Paul Simon~

Saturday, April 6, 2013

What the Fork II

As you'll recall, about fifteen months ago I brought you all into my kitchen to show you what's in my drawers. What fun we had! If I may be so bold, I'd like to suggest that it's high time we do it again:

Figure 1: Tally of common eating utensils found in my kitchen, from approximate date of purchase to present, with very little interim data (not to mention absolutely no word on methodology) to support my spurious conclusions.

I actually can't close my cutlery drawer anymore. It's overflowing.

I'd like to present you with a witty theory about the population dynamics of cutlery, but to be honest I'm rather baffled by the observed trends myself. I suppose I could speculate that the fork population - perhaps in a spate of nominative determinism - is reproducing at an alarming pace, while spooning seems a generally less effective mechanism for increasing population numbers, regardless of whether you're the big spoon or the little spoon.

And, clearly, the knife guys are finishing last. (Don't they always?)

Based on my highly scientifish calculations, I have made the following predictions:

By the year 2018, my cutlery drawer will be teeming with an unprecedented 28 forks, while (barring any unforeseen upsets) the big spoon population will maintain itself in a relatively stable fashion, little spoons will continue their slow decline, and butter knives will dip to historic lows.

By 2028, forks will be running rampant in territory historically utilized by little spoons. Butter knives will be declared Endangered and their black market value will skyrocket, ironically contributing to their continued demise.

By 2038 I will be reduced to spreading butter with my toes and will be experiencing difficulty in maintaining my old age diet of rice pudding, Ovaltine and Campbell's tomato soup due to a grievous dearth of spoons of a comfortable size for my shriveled face to accommodate.

In 2048, five years after I die of asphyxiation under a fork avalanche, a small flock of butter knives - previously considered extinct - will be observed by a group of amateur biologists. A highly successful captive breeding program, in combination with aggressive culling of local fork populations, will revive the species to its former glory. My grandchildren will regale each other about the times from their childhood when I used to spread butter on their toast with my toes for lack of a suitable utensil, and smile.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Even the Gristle, Baby

Medium Fry and her boyfriend - we'll call him 'Silent Type' - sometimes go on little dates together. He's allergic to peanuts so they can't go to the Vietnamese place near our house for safety reasons, and they're not really keen on traveling too far afield, so their choice of locations is somewhat limited. In the early days of their relationship, they went to the local 7-11 to grab nachos and Slurpees (or whatever) to eat at the park. Lately - possibly a result of inclement winter weather, income bracket increases, or Medium Fry's desperate longing for gluten since the rest of the fam went off of it - they've been hitting up the nearby pizza and pasta place, most recently a few weeks ago.

After the date Medium Fry came skipping home, cheery, enviably stuffed full of gluten, and covered ear-to-ear in pasta sauce.

"So," I said, "what'd you have for supper?"
"Spaghetti and meatballs! M'mm!"
"Ah. Thought so."
"Wow, how'd you guess, Mom?"
"O, just a hunch. What did Silent Type have?"
"A rib dinner."

Quick: name the top two worst possible date foods you can think of.

Okay, so there might have been other items on your list - bean burritos, for instance, are both messy and liable to result in certain intestinal distresses, and are therefore a major Dating Dining Don't - but if you tallied up everyone's responses Family Feud-style, I guarantee spaghetti and ribs would be on the top of the list. Those are like, 'we've been married for fifteen years and weren't looking at each other during dinner anyhow' foods. But Medium Fry and Silent Type, well, I guess they're too young to know those sorts of manufactured dating rules.

But then, who am I to talk? I haven't dated in years, and they're hanging at the steak and pizza place at least once a month. Correlation? Causation? Who can really tell? Maybe they know something I don't.

So back to that Family Feud list of white-is-the-new-black Dating Dining Do's: what am I going to order up on my next date, assuming one ever happens again?

1. Big Mac, extra pickles
2. club sandwich, extra layers
3. sloppy joes
4. lobsters. one for each hand.
5. a glass of Metamucil
6. phở 
7. spaghetti and ribs (together at last!)
8. corn on the cob 
9. A Fish Called Wanda 
10. The Old 96'er

Oooohhhh yeaaaahhh. Even the gristle, baby. Even the gristle.