Cigars and Sashimi

I got accused outright of having a sheltered life earlier in the week.

The accuser wasn’t wrong. I thought quite a bit about it, and to sit and steep myself in the allegation. I indicted myself in agreement with the conclusion.

To be clear, I have witnessed some sh!t in my time. All of us have in varying amounts. Most of our lives probably overlapped a great deal. Thankfully, not everyone had a wild ride of it and each of us disparately experienced what I would label as “fringe” events.

But there’s a lot I don’t know. Obviously. My spell checker reminds me every day, as do my co-workers, neighbors, ex-wife, and even the mailman drops by every couple of days to shake his head in bewilderment at me.

Even at 54, I’m still finding out that there are worlds within worlds all around me. Words, foods, drinks, ideas, a cauldron of ceaseless wonder.

When you don’t eat sushi, for example, the barrage of specific vocabulary one must learn to order it for someone else becomes overwhelming, like signing up for Beginner’s Spanish only to later realize that it was in fact “Belgian Spanish.” I have no problem insisting that I’m ignorant and therefore need guidance. Otherwise, people will be eating a can of tuna and crackers. I won’t even get started on how they price the stuff. The sushi, not the canned tuna.

Food and flavor are 100% opinion.

NO, I don’t care what the various kinds of sushi, sashimi and blah, blah, blah are actually supposed to be called. That you like it is all that matters. I don’t have to like it. I like it that YOU like it. That’s pretty much how all of us should respond to friends and family when they love the stuff we wouldn’t eat if the human race depended on it. I know for a fact that some of the stuff I eat would make Bill puke until next Tuesday. Sorry, Bill. It’s true. Besides, you’re definitely not busy next Tuesday anyway. Yes, I read your calendar, the one by the fridge.

But the prices? I know for a fact that in a dark basement, probably in New Jersey, there’s a really big man who spins a wheel and randomly determines the definitions for both ‘quality’ and ‘price’ of sushi. The worse it looks, the more it costs. (Note: it’s a shame that isn’t actually true for a lot of things, right?)

For those who aren’t around smokers, there are twenty-two million kinds of tobacco and specialty products available now. I remember in the early 70s when you could easily memorize the main twenty or so tobacco products. Now the racks look like Heidi Klum’s makeup room. There are so many adjectives you need to know to ask for the right thing that I feel like I need a thesaurus when I’m around it. Things that look cheap are obnoxiously expensive. Things that look expensive… well, they are expensive too.

The point of this is to forcefully point out that I am very ignorant about more things than you’d realize. I am very knowledgeable about a lot of things, too. But it is a lot of work hiding my ignorance – not that I make much of an effort. I’d need a big box for that.

Because I’m rejuvenated, I’m going to share another vow with you, exactly like the one that allowed me to lose all this weight…

I am going to say, “I don’t know” a lot more often.

I am going to say, “You probably need to show me this again, for the fifth time, unless you’d like a disaster.”

And if you need me to go buy good seafood, lord help you until my ignorance abates.

I’ve always been quite ignorant. You just might not have realized how much. I’m here to help you with that misunderstanding.

Meanwhile, be yourself. Smile, laugh, and growl sometimes if that is what is needed. Eat the foods you love even if your mom vomits, and let everyone eat the foods they love. Take that same acceptance and throw it into all the other areas of life where we encroach needlessly on people’s ability to live freely.

P.S. I have not been drinking. But I am going to have a bit of vodka and homemade sweet and sour.

And those index cards on the floor leading the rocking chair were part of an elaborate ruse that I couldn’t execute today. I have optimism for tomorrow. You’ll note the rocking chair is in front of an open door, leading to a balcony and a whole new world.

Love, X

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