my jaundiced eye

the absurdities of life

Month: March, 2018

lunch meat madness

cold cut karma

What is it with old geezers who seem to think they, and the rest of us, have all the time in the world when they dodder over to the grocery store. And puhleeze, don’t get on your high horses about the dignity of our elders and how MJE should be respectful. First off, have these fossils looked in a mirror lately? The grim reaper doesn’t take a number at the deli counter my friends. We’ve all been at the mercy of geriatrics who stand in the lunch meat line clutching their paper numbers, peering into the case with an intensity usually reserved for members of the bomb disposal squad trying to figure out which wire to clip. Even after reaching the head of the line they remain maddeningly indecisive, weighing the relative merits of olive loaf vs hogs head cheese, liverwurst vs bologna, etc. At long last they cautiously settle on a preference. Then the weary hair netted clerk embarks upon the hunt for the buyer’s selection, rummaging half heartedly among logs of salami, hunks of ham and slabs of pastrami. However, more often than not, the selected item cannot be found and the clerk shuffles off into the meat locker for the remainder of his shift.

A new meat monger eventually appears on the scene and the entire process begins anew. Finally, we reach the point where a choice has been finalized, and we enter into phase two of the process. The all important taste test. I may be overly suspicious but I’m pretty sure this isn’t the pensioner’s first rodeo in the cold cut corral. And I will further surmise that he or she has a pretty good idea what that slice of compressed meat tastes like. Yet one can’t be too sure, so a tranche is gently laid upon a square of wax paper and offered to the potential buyer like the krupp diamond upon a velvet pillow. It gets a good once over, a sniff and then is masticated slowly and deliberately. Our senior gives the appearance of a master sommelier thoughtfully pinpointing the terroir of a fine vintage, assessing the bouquet and savoring fruit forward notes of cherry or kombucha followed by a clean mineral finish. The buyer hesitates, the throng in line behind him shuffles restlessly, hopeful for a swift and positive judgment; he hesitates, then offers a nod of approval. The crowd goes wild! No it doesn’t because by now all of the other geezers in line have had to dash off in search of the bathroom.

However there is one final hurdle: the intensely subjective preferred proportions of the slice. The deli meister carves a sliver and holds it up for approval. If it should get a thumbs up, then the full order of 1/16 of a pound will slide over the counter, however should it receive a thumbs down, off the scrap goes into the trash bin. And it often takes several attempts before the ideal slice is achieved, with each imperfect pass tossed onto the garbage heap.

For god’s sake america, half of ethiopia could subsist for weeks or even months on one grocery’s single day’s cast off bits of deli meat. But then those poor people would all develop hypertension and high cholesterol and drop dead of stroke or heart attack before they had a chance to starve to death.


family tree

family tree-2

Politics, gun violence, russia and porn stars have worn me out so I will turn to another soul deadening topic, family. MJE tends to roam alone with the OB&C as an occasional traveling companion. Perfection. However, once a year I am burdened with one of the fragments of flotsam floating in my familial gene pool in the form of my half-sister, astrozeneca. Many years ago she abandoned her perky nineteen fifties given name and was reborn a self-proclaimed sufi, purportedly ascetic and mystical. Well if asceticism means that she limits herself to herbal tea infusions, comfy shoes, voluminous stretch pants and injesting only those foodstuffs prepared by others and which require no effort on her part, then I guess she’s ascetic. As far as mystical, that’s a mighty grey area. According to merriam webster, mystical means “inspiring a sense of spiritual mystery, fascination and awe.” Well it’s a mystery to me how we could possibly be related. And in point of fact, she does inspire a profound fascination with the thought of putting my head in an unlit oven. Awesome.

Siblings aside, MJE and the OB&C have two offspring with whom my loyal readers will be familiar, daughter albatross and son knot, neither of whom displays a single intellectual or cultural trait of ours, good or bad. Albatross is easing comfortably into her late forties having conned us into paying her freight since birth by producing two grand children. She supplements our generous contributions by taking full advantage of the largesse of the united states of america, the state of california, the county of alameda, and the city of oakland. We suspect she is also a grifter of some success as exhibited by her elaborate and presumably expensive head to toe tatts. We were able to pry loose her elder child bandoliera early on and she has miraculously grown into a wonderful young woman unscathed by her early childhood brush with her mother’s narcissistic personality disorder. But in a surprise move, albatross issued forth a second child, jesus! one day shy of bandoliera’s 17th birthday. A miracle baby, apparently the result of a virgin birth as any human paternal being has thus far failed to materialize, at least to us. We have every confidence that she’s got her financials covered in that regard, although the notion of birthing a child in order to guarantee an income stream is deeply perverted to say the very least

Then we have son knot and his long-suffering wife, alhambra. Knot is a graduate of the university of georgia, but is of the opinion that college is a complete waste of time. According to him, success in life boils down to having the right contacts. Wish we’d known that before we went into the poor house to put him through four years of wasted education when we might have simply signed him up for the rotary club. In fact he states with some pride that he never learned a damned thing in college. We could not agree more.

Knot and Alhambra have three little moppets in their clutch; apricot, seymour and the ear-splitting caboose decibelle. They are as different from one another as avocados are to armadillos. Apricot is a pile driver, unwise to get in her way. Destined to be the big boss. Seymour is the thoughtful and kind one, also apparently something of a savant, a whiz with numbers, especially sports stats. Destined to be a very successful bookie or a hedge fund manager. Decibelle is the wild card, a vegan from birth she subsists on pasta and strawberries. She is destined for something beyond our current realm of knowledge; discovering the source of dark matter, figuring out what sketchy stuff sarah huckabee sanders has in her past that keeps her from getting security clearance, or perhaps she’ll hop aboard the astral plane with astrozeneca. We’ll be watching from the other side.