I met Mike in another life, it seems. I was barely a runner, and was but a fledging sales rep at my publishing house. Mike lived in a different state then, and worked at a store which has been shuttered for years. When he would offer me one of his cigarettes, I would actually take it and smoke it; now we are both quitters. Nevertheless, we still frequently find ourselves today belly-up to an extravagant meal, laughing at, moaning over, lauding and mocking what life has flipped our way. Most recently, life has flipped him into the pages of the Washington Post as a published book reviewer. This is exciting news; and I share it because he has done a magnificent job on the piece. You absolutely must read it–I insist!
Last night, Mike had a suggestion for me when I confided I couldn’t bear the thought of faking a smile for another day at the office:
You should get some weed from R., and smoke it before you go to work. Then drink three little nips of tequila in the restroom when you arrive.
I love the deadpan delivery, as if he were giving instructions on how to scramble an egg. So Mike, I proclaim your national debut as a literary critic here, to a bunch of runners, as thanks for your good advice. A fair exchange, yes?
Completely unrelated, but also on my mind today: Pepper and Gooch. Given to me by Husband (back when he was still My Only Boyfriend) as a “just because” present nearly a decade ago, these two African Clawed Frogs were my only roommates for years. Pepper is the albino; Gooch got his name because he was a bit of a bully. To feed them, I would press freeze-dried worms to the side of their tank. Mostly blind, they would always bum rush my fingers in a desperate attempt to gobble as much as possible–that’s about as much as we had in the way of a bonding activity, me and the frogs. When I got them, they were the size of nickles, but when they died (parboiled, I fear, during the big blackout of August 2003), they were the size of silver dollars. I kept them in the freezer for years, always with the intention to bury them as soon as I owned a plot of land. They are now resting peacefully under a shady tree in Pocono Lake, PA.
(Yes, I displayed postcards of semi-clad and hardly-clad women from the back of the tank. It was kind of funny to see these chubby frogs swimming in front of all those sort-of bare breasts.)