The Margarine Dish

August 26th, 2021

Coming off two weeks of “vacation” which should have been relaxing, I am less on my game than ever. The other day, I accidentally referred to our fancy ceramic butter dish as the “margarine dish.” I haven’t thought about margarine, much less eaten it, since the ’70s.

Is this fifty?

My memory is not what it used to be. If I memorized your birthday or landline phone number in childhood, it’s still in there. Otherwise, utter sieve. 

Still, I am excited about turning fifty soon. I have managed to be alive for fifty years. When you’re fifty and have six-year-old twins, that’s a feat.

In the novel I just finished, Flights, by Olga Tokarczuk, I came across this insightful bit of prose:

When we were young we thought of old age as an ailment that affected only other people. While we, for reasons never entirely clear, would remain young. We treated the old as though they were responsible for their condition somehow, as though they’d done something to earn it, like some type of diabetes or arteriosclerosis. 

Ah, youngsters. I remember having zero regard for “old people” such as I now find myself. 

Last night, my daughter Eliza woke up with a bad dream. She dreamt that Rocky, our dog, had died. Eliza is very attached to Rocky and probably doesn’t appreciate that Jon and I frequently offhandedly mention how great it will be when our pets are gone. We are not terrible people. We just desperately need less factors in our lives. 

I snuggled her into my bed, but she could not fall back asleep. She had a lot of questions about death and dying. I spent the fours and part of the fives answering morose questions and begging her to turn the light back off. It’s a tough conversation. We finally came up with a solution that put her mind at ease. In the morning, we said, we’d make a list of all the ways we can treat Rocky wonderfully in his golden years. 

This is where that went:

 Note that Rocky can have up to eight treats if he goes outside to pee. Not a bad life, really.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

What I’m reading: 

The non-fiction book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus

In the Atlantic: Don’t Be a Schmuck. Put on a Mask. By Arnold Schwarzenegger, for real

What I’m watching:

Young hot Bruce singing my favorite Bruce song of all time

What I’m working on:

For Box: UC Santa Barbara: The pandemic-pivot of higher education

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