Spread It Like Fertilizer


            A fresh faced Jack Klugman (of Quincy and Odd Couple fame) played an alcoholic horn player in an old black and white Twilight Zone episode. (Shows like Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock, and Thriller can be found on the ME network). His character couldn’t get a gig at a nightclub because his reputation for being a heavy drinker preceded him. He begged for a chance to play his horn in a local nightclub. He no sooner promised that he no longer hit the bottle hard, when all of a sudden a liquor bottle fell from his coat and smashed on the floor. Oops, he definitely wasn’t getting the gig now.  Still, he begged…

“When I play my horn,” he said, “I don’t see the cracked pipes and the dirty walls in the one-roomer I live in. Come on, give me a chance to play! I- I can’t even communicate with people ’cause-

Music is half my language!”

  Game playing, cooking, crafts, reading, singing, sports, creating art… these things are half our language; they’re a big part of our identities.

I was trapped in a doctor’s waiting room the other day, with the Rachel Ray show playing on a TV. Nowadays you can’t stand in line or pump gas without seeing TV. Anyway, I don’t normally watch that show on purpose but there it was: blaring. Rachel’s guest was David Duchovny. Remember him from X-Files? He’s  written an adult novel about anthropomorphic animals who go about their lives as people do and face everyday challenges much like ourselves.


Anyway the subject matter on the Rachel Ray show turned to online dating. An audience member (a well coiffed 20-something blonde woman) stood up to discuss her “horrid” experience with online dating. I expected to hear something very nasty. Here’s her “horrifying” experience:

            It seems that the man she met online was someone she initially hit it off with because they dated two years but—- she HAD to call it off due to his idiosyncracy of supposedly eating chili every day for breakfast, lunch and supper for two years! Of course I expected Rachel or David to ask,

“What was the problem? Did inflexibility, adherence to routine or rigidity spill over into other parts of the relationship until it got to the point you couldn’t tolerate it?” But no one asked that question, and the woman didn’t say that there was any other factor involved in dumping the guy:

it was just his chili eating.

I expected either Rachel or David to ask, “Well, was he a nice guy otherwise? I mean, there are worse things he could do, right?” But no one asked those things. In fact this man was called

“a chili eating monster” and

“one of the hazards of online dating.”

Interesting.  The chili eater was too much for her to comprehend, to tolerate. To accept. Between 1969 and 1976, I ate the same exact thing for lunch at school :

Corn Chips

A jelly sandwich

Chocolate pudding


Between 1978 and 1980 I ate the same thing everyday for lunch at school:

An orange

A cheese sandwich

Chocolate milk

Ever hear of Words With Friends? It’s a version of Scrabble.

Ever hear of Dice With Buddies? It’s a version of Yahtzee.

What’s in a name?

My point is that eating is eating. Eating a variety or sticking to the known. What should be a deal breaker?


I’m not always my best. Dysthymia, a type of hard to treat depression, sometimes shadows me. I went to see The Blue Man Group (my third time seeing them) and there’s nothing like a group of blue mimes to wake up the senses and give the blues the old heave-ho! There was a “quote” projected onto a big screen before the show started. It stated how “when you create art- whether that’s a meal, an art project, or a spontaneous dance party- you build a connection that lasts a lifetime.”

After the quote, the names of the people who wrote it were given as: Nora Epinephrin and Sarah Tonin.

Get it? Serotonin? Epinephrine? I do love a pun.

            Depression is less than half of my language. My eating choices are a mere sliver of who I am. There are nuggets to be gleaned from old black and white programs. Even books written before 2000 differ greatly from books written ‘today.’ In today’s books, you will see many words never ever used in black and white films and in earlier written works. You will come across terms like: Facebook, texting, Googling, and I Phones.  In the Twilight Zone episode I mentioned, Jack Klugman’s character did manage to communicate with his horn. He climbed up to the roof of his shabby New York apartment, and although it was not a paid a gig he played because it’s half his language. His horn playing attracted an appreciative listener who became a dear friend.

I was daydreaming: Maybe the guy who got dumped for eating chili every day has met a person who loves cooking and maybe just maybe this friend has made chili even more varied and interesting for him by introducing him to chili con carne, beanless chili, vegetarian chili, turkey chili… Or maybe he still eats the same kind of chili but no one in his life gives him flack now. Maybe in the scheme of things that is insignificant to people who care for him. Or…maybe he eats spaghetti every day now.  Somewhere on earth 70 foot long weed speckled concrete arrows like this one exist; which I found on the site http://www.messynessychic.com/2013/11/15/the-forgotten-giant-arrows-that-guide-you-across-america/  :


The US Postal service had a cross-country air mail service that used army war surplus planes from World War I. To get the planes and everybody’s mail safely across the country by air, the postman needed help. In 1924, the federal government funded enormous concrete arrows to be built every 10 miles or so along established airmail routes to help the pilots trace their way across America in bad weather conditions and particularly at night, which was a more efficient time to fly. Painted in bright yellow, they were each built alongside a 50 foot tall tower with a rotating gas-powered light and a little rest house for the folks that maintained the generators and lights. These airway beacons are said to have been visible from a distance of 10 miles high.

Are you sorry I told you what the arrow was? Was wondering about it more fun. Or most probably you already came across this and knew already… Well, if I came across one of these arrows (before actually understanding what they were for) I would’ve been perplexed. Sometimes the most perplexing things have the simplest answers. They don’t make sense until they do. Sometimes they never make sense and who says they have to? Up until I was 16 years old I thought Subway (the sandwich shop) was an actual subway system. My friend had just gotten his driver’s license and we rode by a Subway.

“I’ve always wanted to go in there,” I said. “Have you actually been down in the subway system? That subway has been there for years and I’ve never ridden it.”

As you can imagine, guffaws ensued. It was explained to me that this was an eatery, a sort of deli. Mind you this was 1980 and Subway wasn’t all over the media back then. I didn’t watch much TV anyway. After it was explained to me that Subway was not an underground transit system, my friend asked me, “Weren’t you curious why there are pictures of sandwiches in the windows?” I replied, “Oh. I thought they sold food in their lobby to take with you on the subway.” It was another year before I realized that those sandwiches were called “subs.” It was then that the name SUBway made sense.

To each their own. Some of us and some things are as confusing as 70 foot long concrete arrows. Some of us have become estranged from our old friend Sarah Tonin. Some of us make beautiful music and long to be heard despite the flaws that color us in. And still, some of us eat chili every day. But quirk does not equal jerk.

I saw the news today OH BOY! And again I was deeply jarred. Saddened. Repulsed. I had to do a serious “shake it off.” The opposite of EVIL has always been LIVE. Let’s remember we’re all in this together. So refrain from judgment. Make good in your corner of the universe and spread tolerance, acceptance, peace like fertilizer.

blue man image from: http://www.nj.com/indulge/index.ssf/2013/03/blue_man_group_star_loves_play.html

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