I used to think I liked applesauce. So, I bought some. The little snack-pack kind, that seven-year-olds get sort of excited about, but always really just wish was pudding, and eventually it just makes them hate their parents just a teeny, tiny bit more.
Cool story, I know.
Anyway, I bought, like, two eight-packs of those things, and I’ve been bringing them to lunch with me once a week or so. And eating everything but the applesauce. Because applesauce– if we’re being real– doesn’t taste good. And isn’t that filling. Actually, it’s fucking nasty and weird.
In fact, my mini applesauces are proving to be nothing more than fermenting desk decorations. I take it out, it sits there, it rots, I frown, I throw another forty-five cents away and call it an afternoon.
Not only am I tossing out potential nutrients for kids in China or Africa or East Oakland, but I’m chucking money, which I constantly complain about having none of, into the trash can.
So, what’s my fucking problem?
Before I lay that out on the blogospherical table, let’s backtrack a hundred years. There was this guy named Pavlov, go ahead and Google him. Basically, he put a bunch of animals through some questionably ethical tests around the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century, and concluded that risks and their rewards teach things with brains how and when to react, and in which way.
He’d ring a bell, give a dog some food. Ring the bell again, food again. Bell, food, bell, food. Then, bell with no food.
And the dog would salivate.
I don’t remember exactly why this was such a magnificent discovery for psychology. Perhaps the results were more nuanced than I’m paraphrasing them to be. This or that being true is no matter; it’s interesting to hold up against the farce of adulthood that I’ve pulled over my shoulders and worn for the past few years.
Compared to the little black book of risks/ rewards (or consequences) that I’ve scribbled down along the way, applesauce is hardly a thing. It’s also the biggest, most crucial thing. If I can’t learn that, when the applesauce bell rings, my bank account salivates, I will also likely never figure out that when the whiskey bell rings on Wednesday, the hangover gods reign down saliva on my Thursday morning. Or that when the large credit card purchase rings, the next four months of poverty salivate all up in this shit I call life.
I’ve done well for myself, I guess, after college. I’ve managed to live on my own without dying, or killing anything, for almost two years, and I work at a job where I get to feel remotely appreciated for being an intelligent being at least once a month, for somewhere between five and eighteen minutes, variably.
However successful a twenty-three-year-old I may look like, though, there is, below the surface, a lot of dirty socks and broken mugs I’ve accrued along the way. Which is a fact of any worthwhile life– you fuck things up, and they’re part of you forever, then you get over it and move on. Except that most of us (or maybe just me, but I’m the only person who really concerns me, so you can go ahead and fuck yourself), don’t move on. We (I) take inventory of the broken shit we carry with us (me) on the daily, compiling an itemized list of things to dwell uselessly on and wax remorseful about.
I just threw out my last snack pack desk causality.
I think I might get some string cheese, instead.