The Bus-Riding Conservative has long been a proponent of zerOz wallets — a local business, found just a few doors down from the firm, that makes a very snappy alternative to the regular male wallet. His persistent advocacy has encouraged many of the members of our lunch bunch to become converts, and now they too tout the many advantages of the zerOz option. It’s almost to the point that we can’t go to lunch without somebody boasting about the coolness of their particular zerOz.
I’ve resisted, mostly due to inertia, but when Kish became a committed zerOz proselyte and got me one for my birthday I knew further resistance was futile. Like a new member of the Borg, it was time for me to throw in the towel and be assimilated into the zerOz Nation. Yesterday I emptied out my old wallet and tried to decide what I really needed in my new zerOz — because the whole idea is to get rid of all of the random crap that you’ve stored in the old wallet and skinny down to what is really needed.
My old wallet wasn’t quite in Costanza territory, but it was pretty bulky, and I got a laugh out of the amazing amount of stuff that came out of its many nooks and crannies. Two different grocery store “advantage cards,” three hotel rewards cards, and three health care cards. Long-forgotten cards from shops and restaurants where you get a free lunch or pound of coffee after ten punch-outs. Countless heavily creased and well-worn handwritten scraps of paper that was supposed to remind me of where I parked in the blue lot at the airport. Random business cards from people I’ve met over the years and not met or spoken to since. The band I took off a cigar that I particularly enjoyed. And a handwritten note from the host of the Belvedere Ice Room in Whistler, Canada with the name of the Polish vodka that tasted like pure water. (It’s Uluvka, for the record.)
What will I do without all of this unused stuff in my wallet? Walk a little taller and without listing to the wallet side, I guess.
It started, oh, maybe a day ago, after Kish had been fighting a cold for a few days. The germs, like the Borg, are trying to tell me that resistance is futile.
That unwanted scratchiness in the back of your throat. Mucus pouring down the esophagus like the sluggish River Styx. The occasional, unexpected cough. And just feeling a little bit . . . off.
Not a full-blown cold, though. No fever. No hacking fits that wake me up at night. No light-headedness. No uncontrollable sneezing.
I’m treating my condition with the basic patent remedies and folk nostrums. Aspirin. Juice. Ricola Natural Herb cough drops. I’m staying inside and keeping warm. And, at night, I’m imbibing a glass or two of wine to dry out the sinuses and help with getting a good night’s sleep.
I think I’m on the brink, teetering between ruddy good health and the alternative. I may have come through the worst of it already, or I may be ready to plunge.
As usual, I ate too much on Thanksgiving. As I sat, groaning and belt loosened, on the sofa, I also realized that– among my many other significant personal issues — I am helpless in the presence of pumpkin pie.
Usually my self-discipline when it comes to food is pretty strong. I’m not much of a snacker. Typically, I eat a satisfying meal and I am done until the time for the next meal has come. There are certain foods, however, that completely overwhelm my feeble resistance, and pumpkin pie is one of them. If it is in the house, I am going to eat it, no matter how uncomfortably full I am and how embarrassed I am at my cursed weakness.
Why is this? Is it the firm yet squishy, mildly spicy goodness of the filling? Is it the crisp, flaky exposed crust, or the moist, chewy crust under the filling? Is it the delicate dollop of whipped cream framed against the brown skin of the wedge of pie? Or is it that, deep down, the familiar taste of pumpkin pie brings back warm memories of childhood, of eating pumpkin pie for dessert at gatherings of extended family on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other occasions — and then sneaking an extra piece late at night, when no one is looking?
Whatever the reason, the piece of pumpkin pie is like the Borg, and I am about to be assimilated. Resistance is futile!