‘GOOD’ AS AN ADVERB? NOT SO GOOD.
The battle over misuse of the word “hopefully” is over. The pedantic side lost. (note: the word comes from the Latin ‘ped‘ for ‘foot‘, and so probably means people who can think on their feet.) Properly, of course, when you want to find a beer you ‘open the fridge hopefully’ . But now you hopefully want to find a beer; Hopefully, somewhere.
But there are always new crusades, and one should be against the ubiquitous mangling of good, especially in the daily deluge of answers to the vapid, “Hey, how are you?”
If you’re “Good, thanks”, then you have to be either chaste, a divine prophet, named Johnny B, or at least a pope (and even then, the question should have been “Hey; What are you?”) Otherwise, the word don’t cut it. You can answer properly with
an array of single words, such as “Well”, “Unwell”, “Thriving”, “Blooming”, “Disconsolate”, or “Homicidal”, but Good is an adjective, meaning you have to explain which noun you are modifying as good.
But there is a way to remain calm when faced with this inevitable inanity. When I bump into someone at the grocery store now, I don’t just ask “How are you?”. I add a mumbled “…at shopping”. Then – after a beat – they properly answer, “I’m good. And you?”
“Good,” I reply, “Except in the frozen section.”
Then – after a beat – we can safely move into agreeing about the cold weather.
But this is just a feint and not a solution. It also makes people quite certain that you are mumbling a lot, and likely spiraling into dementia. Instead, maybe we can agree to stop being good all the time. Hopefully.
THE ONLY PROBLEM WITH BACON
We can all probably agree that turning a four-foot wide, six-hundred pound pig into thousands of cardboard-thin slivers of deliciousness is one of humankind’s greatest achievements. (Pigs may see it otherwise; Let them blog at will.)
So kudos all around, right? Well done.
Nope… NOT SO FAST.
There’s an enormous fuck-up between this miracle and enjoying same. Firstly, the sweet swine swirls are obviously run over by a steamroller. Many times. Then they are hermetically sealed into a vacuum-packed plastic sleeve that permits no easy access.
Every other god-damn thing sold at the grocery store today is easy to open and close. Cookie bags have a wonderful tab that says LIFT HERE TO OPEN AND RE-CLOSE. Beer has twist-top caps. Even the unresealable sandwich bags with flaps I buy come in a resealable box.
Yet – one hundred and fifty years after Porky was first sliced to rockin’ ribbons – we can’t get at the damn stuff! If we can’t find scissors because they’re under a daughter’s bed again, we slice open a thumb sawing at the plastic with a too-sharp knife. So, the conundrum: The only earthly thing that can possibly detract from the joy of bacon is the wrapping the damn bacon comes in. That’s insane. A comparison could be made with lovers and chastity belts but that would be in bad taste, and bacon and bad taste should never be associated.
And when you finally get at it and fry some (over medium heat; always), you’re left with a fistful of the stuff that you can only store in the tiny unresealable sandwich bags with flaps that you bought in their resealable box. (Or Tupperware, which isn’t really an option because everyone knows those are designed for leftovers that go fuzzy and green at the back of the fridge.) You thus end up tossing it all in the frying pan, which isn’t all that bad as solutions go.
OFF WITH SPIN-OFFS. QUELL SEQUELS AND PREQUELS
It became obvious to me early on that these were stupid ideas that didn’t work. First, the television Yin of the Beverly Hillbillies (1962) added the Yang of Petticoat Junction (1963) which begat Green Acres (1965). This was absolutely unnecessary because the screen was already awash with improbable shows featuring zany characters ( see: Mr. Ed, The Talking Horse and The Vietnam War).
Spinoffs soon became dizzying, with The Mary Tyler Moore splitting like an amoeba on amphetamines into not just one or two, but three (Phyllis, Rhoda, and Lou Grant; All happily short-lived). Away from TV, the American Football League was a sequel to the NFL, and the World Hockey League was a wannabe NHL. None of these worked well either. The perfectly complete Star Wars went and tacked on – I believe – a prequel and a sequel and then a sequel to the prequel. They lost me after the excellent “Luke; I am your father.”
And yet, we don’t learn. My partner and I had an acclaimed child, yet I went on to produce four more, none of which were as popular or well-reviewed. Yet we all carry on -offing and -queling, even that none is near as good as the original (and on the rare occasion that it is – like Toy Story and Godfather 3 – that doesn’t count, since they shouldn’t have been made in the first place.)
The rush to all this spinning and pre-ing and sequencing in popular entertainment is obviously about money. If The Fast and the Furious makes gazillions of dollars, churn out sequels Faster and Furiouser and Even Fasterest and Most Furiousest, even if the
titles get dumber. It’s pretty certain that at this very moment in Hollywood, scriptwriters are typing furiously to cash in on the Big Bang Theory and its’ offshoot, Young Sheldon. Look for it this fall: Yes….Fetus Sheldon.
But morally, we must consider other factors beyond profitability. The First Crusade in the 11th century (or maybe the 12th or 9th. Look it up. I’m busy. But it was certainly before the second one) was very profitable, but the world would certainly have been better off without all the sequels.
(This does not apply to beer-cap spin-offs, which properly display enthusiasm and dexterity.)
RECIPES FOR DISASTER
Because it cuts into my drinking time I don’t have much time for cooking, which means it should be quick and easy when I must. But the quest for a rapid repast is a hopeless one. The labels lie.
For example, the Cream of Wheat© I may choose for breakfast announces ‘Oven Ready in Three Minutes’, which is perfect because I certainly have that amount of time between coffee and beer time. But it turns out that first you have to boil milk (which you had to go to the corner and buy), which takes a couple of minutes. Then you have to add the grain and bring everything back to a boil, which takes another minute. Only then does the three-minute clock kick in. So Ready in 3 minutes is not exactly the truth. It’s much like you calling out to your significant other that the Johnsons just invited you over for drinks, and can she be ready in fifteen minutes?
“Of course,” she chimes. This, however, does not mean she will walk to the car with you fifteen minutes later. It means she will walk to the car with you fifteen minutes after she has showered, blown dry and brushed her hair, applied her make-up, dressed, plucked her eyebrows, and re-applied her make-up. It’s actually closer to fifteen hours.
It is similarly misleading for a favourite frozen pizza to announce that it’s ready in 12 minutes. Well, of course it is…because first you need heat the oven to a volcanic 425 degrees Fahrenheit. It takes fourteen minutes for my oven to reach 420, when (note: interesting scientific fact) all grease in the oven spontaneously ignites. Then it takes eighteen minutes to shut off the stove, douse the flames, and clean all grease. Now add another sixteen minutes to get back to a ‘safe, non-fiery‘ 425 degrees (which was never part of the directions.)
Only then does it truly take 12 minutes but – all in all – it has taken sixty, which is longer than it would take Amazon to deliver a pizza to my door. (I know, I know; Not just yet…but it won’t be long.) And I had to do housework to boot (which was never part of the directions, either.)
Some products lie about both time and simple preparation. Delicious Knorr© soup mixes
take four minutes to make (read: ten), but also include directions to whisk constantly until boil (five minutes), and then continue to whisk constantly for four minutes during simmering. That ain’t simple, Knorrites. Any intimate partner I’ve ever known will confirm that I am incapable of sustaining any motion continuously for four minutes.
(And while we’re at it, could soup directions also explain that whole thing about partially covering the pan, while still whisking continuously. My whisk is not a Slinky©. And isn’t that anyway like telling me to put a hat over most of my head, and then brushing my hair?)
We’ll have to leave the sardine tin dilemma unsolved for now. Gotta run. It’s been ten minutes, and my three-minute eggs should be just about ready.