I know what you're thinking:
"A Throwback Thursday post on an actual THURSDAY?! You're SURE you took your medication?" *feels forehead*
I know, I know. But getting beyond that, let's talk about something important: cheese.
According to a post I did not actually read to validate its claims on Facebook just now, cheese is actually an addictive substance. This makes sense to me, since even though I'm mildly lactose intolerant I did eat broccoli and cheese soup today for lunch, along with a bleu cheese-topped salad, AND I had mac-n-cheese for dinner. And then my housemate came home with a serving platter--yes, a full serving platter--of block cheese.
I don't know what it is, but cheese is following me today.
There was a small debate over what sort of cheese was on the serving platter. There were the basics--American and cheddar, of course--but then two non-standard white cheeses were up for discussion. My husband identified one as pepperjack (gross), and the cheese-bringing housemate claimed the remaining mystery cheese was havarti.
"Provolone," I said, to nobody in particular.
Because I am prone to saying random words in the middle of nowhere, everyone ignored me, and Cheese-Bringing Housemate went on to discuss the merits of the cheeses. She said something like, "I think it really balances out the flavor of the havarti."
And I said, "Provolone."
I didn't pronounce it like most Americans pronounce "provolone" (PRO-vuh-lone). I pronounced it "pro-voh-LONE-ee." And why?
The worst part is that I can't even show you a clip. I can, however, re-direct you to this really convenient article about Pajama Sam: No Need to Hide When It's Dark Outside. Basically, there's a toaster who teaches Pajama Sam how to play a game called Cheese & Crackers (glorified Tic-Tac-Toe), and there's a call and response thing you learn later:
"Havarti?" (Wanna play?)
Pajama Sam used to be one of the most daring games I would play. It wasn't cute, it was scary. I could never figure out where that damn water meter near Darkness's house was. Of course, it wasn't nearly as scary as JumpStart 4th Grade: Haunted Island, but NOTHING WAS.
It's funny how different things scare you at various parts of your life. Back in the days when I played Pajama Sam, I was unafraid of children. I was confident that one day I would make a fabulous mother. I was sure I wouldn't screw up my kids--hell, I didn't even know what screwing up your children meant. Life was awesome, and the scariest things in the world were Bloody Mary, Darkness from Pajama Sam, zombies, and that episode of the Powerpuff Girls where a humanesque leech sucks people's brains out at random.
Now I watch American Horror Story, and I'm terrified of almost everything in it. I'm scared of murder, and people rising from the dead (I guess some fears never change). I'm scared of miscarriages and suicidal teenagers. I'm scared of mass-murderers and ghosts. I'm scared of someone trying to poison me with a cupcake, and I'm scared of someone trying to re-create a famous murder in my house. I'm scared of basements and jars of unknown substances.
But why? Why am I afraid of these things I will probably never encounter? Is it because they serve some sort of morbid purpose in my life, to make me remember how good I've got it? It seems like the older I get, the more I have to lose--probably because as an adult, I have much more agency than I did as a child. And when I have agency, I hold power in my hands. Power over myself, over other people. Every time I get in a car, I am responsible for the lives of others and my own. Every time I pay my bills, I provide livelihoods for myself and others. As a married person, just living and trying to achieve happiness substantially affects the lives of four other adults in my house, and especially the everyday life and well-being of my husband. And most of this feels easy. Most of this feels good. Having this control makes me feel safe.
But it also reminds me how much control I don't have. How even if I drive perfectly, someone could swerve five lanes to the right, directly into my driver's side, with no warning. How in this economy--in any economy--there's always the possibility that I could lose my job, whether it's my fault or not. How people who have made all the right decisions--who've gone to school without complaint, who've strived to make others' lives better, who've struggled to keep themselves free of cheese addictions--can lose it all because someone else had control. Or didn't have control.
Oh, to be Pajama Sam. Oh, to make friends with Darkness.
On Halloween, I don't fear ghosts and witches. I, like many other people, fear the unknown. We come together in our communities for a party or to grieve, so that we can ignore this fear, because being together, having now and here and this, is enough to distract us from the not-knowing. Every day is an invitation to continue, despite our fears--even to face our fears. It extends a hand, with everything that we know and that we don't, and curls its fingers to beckon:
11/28/2020 06:53:20 pm
I saw Robbing Leach from The Powerpuff Girls.
4/6/2022 05:40:36 pm
My son will be 31 shortly. And we will still greet each other with "havarti" and "provolone" on occasion. For us, it has become more of a greeting than a challenge.
12/20/2022 05:22:16 pm
Great blog I enjoyed reeading
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