Ask people how they are doing. Pretend to care. They will often say, “Can’t complain.” I wish that were true. People will take every opportunity to bitch about god knows what into your ear for as long as you’ll let them. BUT NOT TODAY. Today I’m going to open my life like a crappy book nobody wants to read (“The Zen of Accounting”. “Top Ten Sex Positions For Arthritic Grandparents.” “Naps I Have Taken.”)
While I usually CAN complain, I try not to, because I figured out early on that truly, nobody gives a shit. One thing I can NOT complain about is my marriage. Sifu is my best friend, a brilliant, virile, kung fu fighting love machine who cooks me delicious dinners and has a wang you could hang a wet bathtowel on, and he loves me, for some reason. Here we are, from last weekend, enjoying a couple of cigars in the plastic-lined kill room:
It’s very unusual for us to argue, but that’s what happened recently, because of small appliances.
I was in the living room, watching Adriana La Cerva projectile vomit across the FBI conference table, Sifu was in the kitchen frying polenta disks. He came in, his cute face full of enthusiasm. “The hardware store has these big electric skillets,” he said, but like the horrible dream-killing hag I am, I said “We don’t need an electric skillet.” His face fell.
"No, you’re right. I guess we don’t," said Sifu, "We don’t need THIS skillet either. I could cook dinner in a coconut shell, if we’re just talking about survival."
My inner kneejerk minimalist dominatrix stomped his hopeful fantasy of stacks of fried cutlets and crispy golden eggplant rings right in its optimistic scrotum with the cleated fetish boot of shattered dreams. “I’m sorry,” I said. “Get the skillet, it will be good.” But it was too late. We had this much in common, at least: we were both hated me at that moment.
He went back to his polenta, and to drive the dagger of shame even more deeply into my eye, he brought me some. It was delicious. I ate it with great sorrow. I went back for miserable, sulking seconds. I felt like a real piece of shit.
On my screen, Adriana was getting her ass handed to her by the Feds. She was going to have to spy on the Soprano family or face jailtime for selling heroin. I’ve seen the show before so I know that things go about as bad as they possibly can for old Adriana.
Sifu sat down next to me in a grade A snit, eating polenta disks with tomato sauce drizzled artfully over them. “Don’t be mad at me,” I said. “You can have any skillet you want. I don’t know why I even said that. That was stupid.”
"I’m not mad."
"Adriana’s gonna get the shit shot out of her in the woods."
"But Christopher’s gonna sit on her dog first."
"That was good polenta."
"I made extra for you."
"I love you."
"I love you too. Bitch."
* * * *
Into every life, a little bickering over some stupefyingly meaningless bullshit must fall, and the best we can do is to try to live in such a way that when it does, there is hot polenta, a weinerdog begging for hot polenta, and a story about someone who has it way worse than we do to fall back on. As long as nobody shoots us to death in the woods and raccoons don’t run off with our weave, things could always be worse. It also helps if you have a handy place to hang your wet bathtowels.
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