Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Not Completely Rad, Just Sort Of ... You Know ...

I recently read a commentary on the googly-tubez about chasing your dreams and passionately pursuing the things that you know in your heart of hearts you were put on this earth to do blah blah blah …

That’s all well and good for those who have dreams and aspirations and that sort of thing, but is somewhat irrelevant for those of us who are just fine being average middle-of-the-pack type of folk.  I guess I assume that had I been put on this earth for some great purpose, I would have discovered it by now.  That’s not to say that had I discovered such a purpose, I would have pursued it; on the contrary, in all likelihood, such a realization would have been responded to with a non-committal shrug and a gradual return to the Gilligan’s Island marathon I was halfheartedly attending to.  I am happy not being driven to excel (I’m fairly certain that I would not enjoy being driven to excel, as I would almost certainly fail at that goal, which, I would guess, would be somewhat unpleasant).  I think I long ago once won a bicycle road race, but it was the “B” category, and I seem to recall thinking “you know, this doing okay at a level that doesn’t require total devotion and, at the same time, doesn’t really put me in a circumstance wherein I truly risk discovering my limitations is something I could agree to.  I’m tolly down with mediocrity!”

Luke Wilson’s character in the movie “Idiocracy” voiced this attitude quite well:
Pvt. Joe Bowers: Why me? Every time Metsler says, "Lead, follow, or get out of the way," I get out of the way.

Sgt. Keller: Yeah, when he says that, you're not supposed to choose "get out of the way." It's supposed to embarrass you into leading - or at least following.

Pvt. Joe Bowers: That doesn't embarrass me.
Well, such was my thinking until very recently.

I think, though I can’t be sure, having never actually had one before, that I may, at long last, have a goal.  I’m not sure if I’m supposed to feel giddy or giggly or anything like that, but I’m not going to compare my “first goal” to the over-hyped goal fantasies of the sort you read about in trashy magazines while standing in the checkout line at the grocery store.  Who knows?  Maybe it is just a simple yearning … a slight urge … a trivial fancy that I’m temporarily taken with.  Whatevs … all I know is that I want to be …

The Radish King.

I’m not really sure what happened.  I was progressing normally along a project completion arc, this one being that of “grow a garden,” and had gotten to the step in which I place the seeds that I have bought into the ground (this is approximately year four of this particular project; last year I completed the “buy seeds” step, and this year I’ve incorporated “planting them”).  I had been told that radishes, in addition to being delicious, are fairly hardy and can withstand some frosty nights and are generally difficult to screw up.  (It did need to be explained to me that simply because the package said “plant ¼” for smaller radishes, and 1” for slightly larger radishes,” I couldn’t extrapolate to burying them a foot under and expect pumpkin-sized results.)

My original plan was to plant radishes, along with some peppers, cucumbers, lettuce, and maybe even some corn.  I got a little confused, however, at the corner Liquor’N’Seed, because they had several different types of radish, which threw me for something of a loop, to say the least.  “I just want the round red ones,” I said.  “Well, congratulations,” the seed girl said with dripping sarcasm.  “You’ve just narrowed it down to three hundred.”

They all had a good laugh at my ignorance, and it must have kind of hit a sore spot, because I did a little research on the googly-tubez that night along with my regular web-perusing activities.  I was overwhelmed, to say the least.  There are black radishes, white radishes, mild radishes, hot radishes, radishes that grow in winter, radishes that dress up like watermelons

I will grow them all.  Peppers, corn, and squash?  I’ll leave those to lesser gardeners to cultivate.  I will focus with laser-like intensity on my beloved radishes, and vendors at the local Farmer’s Market will avert their eyes as I pass, rightfully ashamed at the embarrassing radishional offerings they tender.  Rebecca Loudon will file a lawsuit citing copyright infringement, but will drop it upon full realization of my Radish Kingosity.  Letti will battle over which is best suited to serve as a vehicle for the yield I shall reap!

Odd … psychotic delusions of grandeur with regard to the scope and importance of my projects don’t usually occur until around year six.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Hittin' The Sauce ... Hittin' It HARD ...

They’re working me.  Working me hard.

The WINCO, I mean.

I really like that place – just about everything about it.  I like that it’s employee owned, I like the no-frills atmosphere, the dual-customer checkout lines, that they don’t take credit cards in order to keep prices low, the sense of community and the relationships you form, however fleeting, as you wind your way through the aisles, encountering the same fellow shoppers time and again.

The prices, of course, are simply unchallenged in the valley, generally speaking.  And while this may sound somewhat nonsensical, sometimes … sometimes they’re too low.  I’m talking writing about things like $0.39 for a can of pickled artichoke hearts or $0.99 for the new Lays Festering Flesh® flavored potato chips.  Stuff they know I detest, but that I just might buy if the price is right.

I know it’s just a little game to them, seeing what item that I absolutely loathe they can get me to buy, and I don’t begrudge them their fun.  Heck, I even have a little admiration for them, and I occasionally get a chuckle upon seeing the case of Bar-B-Q Diet African Hedgehog Tongue gathering dust in the pantry.

I’m a bit concerned about what they’re up to with the newest twist to their tomfoolery, however.  They seem to have grown tired of inducing me to buy small quantities of obscure and never-to-be-used products, and have pivoted to efforts of making me stock myself out of my own home.

I first noticed the sale display a few months ago.  “Tomato Sauce, 8 oz. cans, $0.18,” read the hand-written sign.  It was low-key and non-aggressive, but something about it caught my eye as I was rounding the condiment aisle.  “My god …” I muttered, as I slowed to a stop, staring in disbelief.  “Get your fat ass to one side or the other!” yelled an elderly shopper from behind me, jamming her cane into my ribs.

I knew that such a sale wouldn’t last long, and, in fact, I fell into a bit of a panic as I saw an employee walking toward me, carrying a sign.  Luckily, she didn’t seem to be seriously injured as I helped her up, though she seemed to regard my denial of tripping her on purpose with skepticism as she explained that she was heading to the produce aisle.

Anyway, the 8 oz. can of sauce is just about perfect for someone in my position.  It can be used to make a single pizza, or to pour onto a single piece of lasagna, or to make a single serving of garlic cheese bread … oh jeez, this is getting depressing.  Let’s just say it’s a versatile product for one who lives as one.  The Winco pranksters had obviously done some reconnaissance work in preparation for this.

I purchased a flat (24 cans) that day, and was floored a week later when I returned to find the price still in effect!  I marveled at my good fortune as I stacked up another flat, looking forward to being rich in sauce for months to come.  And then … the same thing happened the next week, and the next, and the next.

They’re working me.  Working me hard.

As of this writing, I’ve got what I conservatively estimate at 800-1,000 cans of tomato sauce.  As I try to rationalize this  internally, I find that I’m persuading myself to explore new uses for it.  It’s been 2 weeks since I’ve brushed with actual toothpaste, and the engine in the Zuke Of Earle seems to have developed an odd knocking since I made the observation that it had a consistency similar to 10w-40 motor oil.  It hasn’t done a damn thing for my split ends, that’s for sure.

I hope I can find some control soon.  The kitchen is nearly stacked full, and I’m having some trouble navigating the dining room.  I don’t hold any animosity toward the rascals down at the store … I’m sure they meant no harm; it’s just that sometimes a little fun can get out of hand, and that’s okay.

God forbid they lower the price of Spam.