Comfort and Joy

I started having A Day before today was even officially, well, today. Late last night, the server that provides all my wonderful wit and wisdom to the internets and beyond began sporadically making sounds that led me to believe that either:

  1. it was going zombie on me and would shortly be stalking the house in search of brains, or
  2. a pair of…um…indiscrete hippos were doing the National Geographic Booty Call in the vicinity.

So I did what any other dedicated technical-type like me would do; I made backups, had a beer, and went to bed, hoping everything might magically sort itself out.

We woke up late this morning, of course, making the AM routine just plain chaotic and culminating in a mad dash to the school bus. Also, I found that the Terrible PC Grinding Noise had moved on from sporadic and had settled into a regular rhythm. But the kids did manage to make the bus, didn’t seem to be suffering, and I didn’t get caught in traffic behind a 300-foot wide crater caused by a crashed Extra-Terrestrial with a busted warp drive, so I hoped maybe my day would level off.

Hope is fleeting.

By mid-morning, I realized I was staring down the barrel of six weeks’ worth of work across something like four different projects, and for reasons I won’t bore you with, the Puddinette was considering whether living with me was worth the trouble or whether she’d be better off just selling my parts to the highest bidder*.

For the record, I would lean towards selling off my parts, myself. I’m kind of a pain.

Finally, though, by late afternoon, I’d made the appropriate acts of contrition and gotten a wrangle on some work. I fully completed one of those projects and began preparations for the next one. There was Light clearly visible at the end of the tunnel. And then, because sometimes Life is a vicious tease, somebody shut the gate letting the sun in and everything went south again. By the time I got home, all I could do was sigh in the midst of the horny hippo noises and contemplate tomorrow being a brand new day.

Fearful that I was fixin’ to spend my evening being mopey…and really, nobody likes me mopey…a wonderful idea suddenly sprouted in my cold, dreary brain: popcorn. A big bowl of warm, salty, slightly buttery popcorn would make everything alright. And I’m not talking about a nuked paper bag full of anything Orville or Country Willie have to offer. No, I mean the good stuff that comes out of pan cooked with oil. I make mine in something wonderful called a Whirley-Pop, that makes all other popcorn devices hide in shame, but then, I’m a bit of a dork when it comes to popcorn**.

Obviously, I realize that popcorn seems a strange choice for a bad-day pick-me-up. Trust me, it’s not the only one; it’s just the one that needed to fix what ailed me today. Grandma’s recipe for homemade potato soup also probably would have done the trick, but that takes time, and potatoes, neither of which were available in ample enough supply.

Now, I understand that some nutritionally-minded people might be thinking, “Oh, sure, leave it to a guy named Puddin to suggest we eat our problems away.” If you find yourself all full of righteous indignation that I’m advocating Therapy by Gluttony, please step down from constructing the gallows. I’m suggesting no such thing. All I’m saying is that sometimes a few moments with a reasonable volume of comfort food can feed one’s soul as well as their stomach.

Real, homemade popcorn makes me think about Friday nights on the couch with the Muppet Show and the whole family when I was maybe 6 or 7. I loved Kermit, obviously, plus Fonzi, Scooter and the Swedish Chef (Borka Bork Bork!), and I very clearly remember that I’d always promise not to get popcorn in the couch cushions, but inevitably would anyway.

In my mind, reliving a few memories like that is worth the occasional indulgence when life drops a load of something in your breakfast cereal or invites romantic hippos into your office.

Sometimes a little something bad for your heart can go a long way towards fixing it.

But, you know, reasonably. Maybe try not to hoover the Ben and Jerry’s straight from the carton.

And don’t squeeze that canned cheese right into your mouth. That’s just…wrong.


*Luckily, my parts aren’t worth much and her temper flares hot but quick

**As opposed to all the other facets of my life where I’m decidedly average and mainstream