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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Aisle 15 Again: Wheat Or Reality?

You may be wondering why I called you all here today to my favorite Mexican restaurant (I sure am). There was a good reason, having something to do with how flimsy reality has got lately and the best place to sort that out is lunch in a really good Mexican restaurant. With whatever you order, I recommend a bottle of Corona cerveza --one of the most cheerful beers in the world. For those conscientiously disinclined, ask for a pilsner glass --you will be brought a different  drink from the one in this bottle, that is equally cheerful (because it is Corona cerveza too). 
Let me begin by discussing an aspect of 'flimsy reality' that concerns the Muse. We write here, you and I. We found this medium because we wanted a place where we could say what we want and write as we wish. Surely you have all considered the nearly unthinkable importance of that license. The Muse's job is to negotiate between divine impulse and human consciousness.

What happens to the Muse's job when all her gods retire among metaphors in English 1-B classes? Gets harder, that's what. Reality suffers. We suffer. Writers suffer --of course you all know that. But I am not a writer. I am a gardener. I reluctantly consent to reality but expecting everybody to approve of it is a bit much. That's why we're going on a field trip after lunch. Now settle down, it's just to the market next door. Orderly line (and remember where the train's parked!).
Now, here we are in the cracker and cereal aisle, take note. I am pointing at a product of woven wheat. Those of you who insisted upon corn tortillas at lunch wouldn't know about wheat being called THE STAFF OF LIFE for 10,000 years, only that it has gluten in it --our concern is elsewhere. 

When we first tried shredded wheat cereal in the 1950s,  my brother theorized it was baled straw from some sort of miniaturized field operation. I disagreed, said if it looked like wicker and squeaked under pressure like wicker and...well, I thought it was wicker. Then came woven crackers and I imagined wheat woven on tiny looms by tiny slaves in tiny countries and, if I ever became a writer, I'd write about it --but the Muses never brought any divine impulses to encourage or contradict me, so I avoided the subject (and the whole occupation) because the reality wasn't anything I could always consciously consent to. 

As a human being, as a gardener, I consent to the basis of free expression, of true civilization, that is, I consent to compassion --and, if we're done here, another Corona.



31 comments:

  1. Somehow, Tiny Tim started singing in the background, "Tip toe through the tulips....". Admirably and tactfully written post, my friend.
    I'll have my enchiladas with green sauce, if you will, Hatch chili's would be nice too.
    And a large dash of the first amendment. Those few lines allow rebuttal in equal measure.
    I can't measure up to your amazing and admirable tolerance, Geo. I'd be a better person if I could, but......
    Cheers my friend.
    I'm off in a few days to see if some of my cardio colleagues in LA have some more options than the ones here. Hope springs eternal, as they say.
    Mike

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    1. Mike, I trust you won't think less of me if I confess that although Norma loves their bean burritos and green sauce, I go there because they make the best hamburgers I ever had. I send my best wishes and hope your LA inquiries bring promising results.

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  2. Now I'm worried about those operators of those tiny looms.
    As for the shredded wheat, I ate it rarely as a lad thinking it could really be a Brillo pad.
    And yes, Corona is a cheerful drink!
    Muses, I believe, are independent and teasing spirits who make their own travel plans.

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    1. Tom, I may have exaggerated some details regarding those looms --they are automated, and can be programmed to generate Brillo pads or Triscuits or door mats with a minimum of human involvement, all without changing raw materials.

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  3. Hear, hear, Geo.! I wish everyone consented to compassion. And even though it's not yet universally practiced, that is a worthy goal. Cheers! *clinks glass of diet root beer*

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    1. O Jenny, that is a toast in which I happily join.

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  4. I too consent to compassion. And laughter. and grubby hands and knees in the garden. You are welcome to my Corona though.

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    1. True communication is often accompanied by laughter. Glad you mention it.

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  5. The Corona sounds good but I am just as happy with iced tea. What I really want is chips with some good salsa. I live in an area with several Mexican restaurants run by Mexicans who make terrible Mexican food. It is one of the few things I miss about living in the big city.

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    1. We have to consider, not every country has a distinctive cuisine that can be mastered by all its cooks --except maybe Portugal and Canada, but you don't see their restaurants springing up on every corner. Mexico is a place of great culinary variety, yet we see mainly northern Mexican dishes on menus here. Give your restaurants suggestions and time --they'll do their best.

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  6. Whilst I always welcome the muse when she appears in the form to which I am accustomed, it is sometimes a relief when she's off visiting someone else. Alright, so one feels a little lost, but at least one gets the chance to recover from......

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    1. I suspect the "lost" feeling gives us time for adventure that eventually finds its way into expository writing. Muse seems to assemble herself in the intervals.

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  7. If only the world had your kind soul and keen intellect, it would be one helluva better place. Compassion and tolerance have abandoned us - - especially of late....

    Corona, and all reasonable facsimiles, enable us to cope with the grim aspects of reality - - or (better yet) to forget them.

    My mother used to love Shredded Wheat. Much like your brother, I considered it to be more tasteless than baled straw. And I still do.

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    1. Ah Jon, you've nailed it. We have to keep in mind, though, that we've gone through the double whammy of the calmless holiday season at the close of an especially contentious and unnerving election year. Everybody's jumpy as hell. I sure am. Let's hang on to the loved ones in our hearts --which leaves our hands free to hang onto our beer-- and we'll get through the storm. We'll be ok.

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  8. No matter how many mental notes I make about where the 'train' is parked somehow I always come out the wrong door and things go south from there. It's a theme. I start out on the wrong foot, come out the wrong door, get out of bed on the wrong side...it's just all wrong. I have a mental picture now of all those little John Deere toy farm implements beavering away growing those teeny tiny wheat crops and harvesting them and sending them off to full sized manufacturers who add way too much sugar and salt and then sell them to us at ridiculous prices. Somewhere in there reality stepped in. Nasty.

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    1. What a delightful Lilliputian harvest scene, Delores, so well-assembled, I can hear the little farmers squeaking at each other!

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  9. When they put sugar on the Shreaded Wheat and hid that basket weave straw like texture, we didn't question it anymore. A Corona or two also helps that Triscuit go down the throat easier.

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    1. True Arleen, without beer and sugar the wheat-weaving industry would collapse.

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  10. Just dropping in to ask how the weather situation is there now ... hope things are moderating.

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    1. Thanks, Jenny. Right now we're getting chilled sunshine, which lets a lot of Californians go outside and find out where their yards went.

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  11. First off, I beg to differ with you. You ARE a writer, dude, and a darned fine one.

    If everyone consented to the principles of free expression, true civilization, and above all, compassion, it'd be a much kinder gentler world. Let's hope the pendulum has swung as far as it's going to go, and we'll be exiting this bizarre world of alternative truths soon, and moving towards a center ground of common sense and common causes. (If not, I may have to try one of those cheerful beers.)

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    1. Kind Susan, dude is grateful. As to the pendulum, I've never seen it behave quite like it's doing now. It seems to be wobbling among grand dramatic gestures that leave people upset. Yes, beer will help.

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  12. Oh Lord, shredded wheat made me gag when it came in those huge blocks. My mother used to soften them with hot water which only made them soggy and more dreadful. I'll have a margarita, thank you! I could use several to hide from our current reality in this country. Our fearless, charging ahead leader seems to be seriously lacking in a number of traits, starting with compassion.

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    1. Well, my liquor bill sure went up! Louise, this might indeed be a good time for the wise investor to buy stock in alcoholic beverage companies --starting with Grupo Modelo, which brews Corona.

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  13. I sometimes wonder if I would have made a better Muse than a human.

    --The Countess.

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    1. Glad to see your comment, Suze! I think my settings got skewed while I was incommunicado (Communicado is a California town near Ukiah --which is Haiku spelled backwards). Lot of muses work there.

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  14. Dear Geo., being schlepped by my friends through different pubs to test "Craft beer" I have some expertise now - and am thankful to you that now it's my turn to surprise them with ordering a corona (accompanied by woven wheat cakes, of course. Can you image their astonishment last year when I had to confess that I ate crisps - these paper thin things like Pringle - for the very first time in my life? Before I always asked myself: Why should I?)
    Back from lovely Venice just now - there I drank wine, of course - because I hadn't read your blog till now :-)

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    1. Dear Brigitta, having tried woven wheat cakes I recommend Pringles. And yes, I believe your friends will be surprised by Corona.

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  15. I think you're right, it's wicker. Why has nobody pointed this out before? All these years we gnawed on patio furniture. grrr
    And as Susan said, you most definitely are a writer. That is a reality we can all agree on.
    x

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  16. Kind Austan, a most generous compliment. Thanks. I predict great futures for wheat processors in edible patio furniture.

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