Tuesday, March 15, 2005

That Will Be Three Dollars, Sir, For a Lifetime of Satisfaction

I found the perfect bowl while Gloria was out of town.

You may not think the perfect bowl exists. I tell you plainly that you are wrong. Life has beaten you down, robbed you of your hope, while my endless optimism and sunny disposition have enabled me to remain faithful to the idea that the Platonic notion of "bowl" does, in fact, exist.

At Target. For $2.99. Made of plastic. In red. Baby.

Those of the fairer sex may not understand the importance of a bowl with perfect dimensions. We understand, though. We argue about how silverware feels in our hand, about whether it has just the right heft and balance for consuming large quantities of food.

We do. I had that discussion with Gloria before we got married, when we were looking at silverware patters. I went through them like Rain Man. Then, last Friday at Crate and Barrel, we heard a man talking to his fiancee about how forks felt in his hand.

It was a moment of stunning vindication. I was not alone.

Tonight, Gloria made spaghetti. "I bought some garlic bread," she said, "but it's pretty strong." I'm not a big fan of garlic in anything more than microscopic quantities, because it's so strong that I can't taste anything else, so I approached this bread with extreme prejudice. It had garlic pieces on the bread. That's a guaranteed stinkfest, so I trimmed a few crusts (relatively garlic free) off the bread and took them with me. Then I filled up The Perfect Bowl with pasta, and sat down with the Sports section.

Those crusts were good. So I went back to the counter and asked Gloria is she was going to eat any more bread. When she said "no," I unleashed my genetic ability to innovate and filleted a piece of garlic bread--in reverse. I kept all the crust, even on the bottom, and neatly lifted out a perfect garlic bread fillet--which I discarded.

I sat back down. Gloria looked at me and started laughing. "Oh my God," she said. "You've got the bowl, bread crusts, and the Sports section. It's Heaven." Indeed it was, and you perfect bowl-mockers might keep that in mind.

I worked my way through the entire bowl of spaghetti, and near the end Gloria asked "Do you have a bite problem?"


"A bite problem," she said. "You know, where your top and bottom jaw don't quite line up."

"Does my face look funny?" I asked.

She laughed nervously. "No, no, that's not what I meant. It's just that your chewing was very, um, LOUD, and I thought maybe you had a bite problem." She actually tried for several minutes to dance around the conversation like a delicate flower, afraid that she was being offensive, which was getting funnier and funnier to me.

"Honey," I said, "I'm a guy. Don't ask me if I have a bite problem. Say 'You're loud--shut your pie-hole.' We have problems listening to whole sentences, so just be sure that the words 'loud' and 'shut' are included."

So there it is, my friends. Apparently, at times I can be a very loud chewer.

My bowl, however, is still perfect.

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