Friday, May 23, 2014

Camouflaging Tofu

This is a post about the things we do for love, just so it's clear. I would have called it "The Things We Do For Love," if that title had not already been apprehended some time in the 1970s, by a small but successful band called "10cc."

I also want to be perfectly and permanently removed from what I'm saying here. I don't want anyone reading this to think that, upon request, I will one day pull up out front of your duplex ready to engage in any of the following activities:

1) Sorting, washing, and folding unmentionables. I realize this is a pox on every country which has not yet adopted the practice of wearing disposable skivvies. I realize there are many others like me, out there dealing with this very same issue, but let's face it -- we're all just doing it for love. No? Yeah, me either. I just know for certain I will never again have decent attire if I don't do it myself. And what am I going to do? Leave a hamper full of BVDs and who-knows-what sitting around until I am compelled by my own sense of cleanliness to do them anyway? On second thought, I do it for love. I love me.

2) Answering. "So simple," you say. Never. It usually goes like this:
"Yo, Babe!"
"Yes?'
"Would you..."
And so it goes -- anything from running up two flights of stairs, moving three pieces of large furniture, and grabbing the blank piece of paper he left behind, to getting up an hour and a half early, making sure his blue shirt is washed and dried, mending his tan shorts, driving him to the shop, picking up his script, printing out the direction for his next job, and changing the oil in his Corvair. Answering. Never simple.

3) Listening. Quietly. Again.

4) Swapping spit. Oh, this is not what you think it is. The sloppy wet kisses of a two-year-old. Finishing the runny grape popsicle your grandson has been slobbering all over for the past 30 minutes, or sucking the pimentos out of those little green olives because he doesn't like "the red things."  Drinking from the water bottle your niece laced with every floater known to man. You do it for love. Sometimes because of love -- after all, it's your kid, right? Or your sister's kid -- in which case, she has completely stolen your heart and most of your good judgment.

5) Relinquishing the remote -- sometimes.

6) Gushing over an egg carton caterpillar as if it were hand painted by Cezanne himself. In my teens, I brazenly opened the bottom drawer of my mother's dresser. Sexy unmentionables? A cache of savings bonds and gold bullion? Nope. Every silly scribble, glob of paste, and fleck of glitter I touched, from nursery school (that's what Fonzie and his pals called it back then) to grade infinity! That's love, there.

7) Putting up with his insufferably dull sister and her husband. You may, however earn the right to brag to all your coworkers about surviving your first and only Christmas party with a Dr. Who theme.

8) Planning healthy, filling, delicious, unique, inexpensive meals for your family each night. Dr. Oz has made his way into your T25 via Pandora. He is telling you you can no longer eat as you did in your twenties, and expect to wake up without chest pains. Somehow you find yourself afflicted with the task of doing healthy better, for cheap. And of course, it's gotta be good, and diverse, and substantial -- cat food wrapped in Beggin' Strips might be a practical snack, but trust me, there are other ways. So, you spend days traversing the WWW only to find the same eight recipes -- all containing some quantity of white meat chicken, diced tomato, and minced garlic. You eventually find yourself frying falafel burgers at 4AM, and you camouflage tofu in as many as sixteen different ways. Maybe they'll only discover it in...fifteen. But you try because you love them. You want to keep them around. You want to be around for them.

9) Wearing a parka in the summer. Or shorts in the winter, depending upon your arrangement. Dividing control of the thermostat between seasons may increase the life of your marriage by -- yeah, I have no idea, but rules are rules, and there's always payback when your season comes around!

10) Listening. Quietly. Again. (Oh, and somehow, if you look past them to see the results of DWTS, it doesn't count.)

Maybe things are a little different for you. Maybe you are taking a bullet, giving up a kidney, purchasing new wheels for her Veyron, or footing the bill for your new college freshman.  Maybe you're simply camouflaging tofu. But whatever it is, do it for love.

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