It seems a little off to wish folks a Happy Memorial Day, because every related story I’ve read in the newspaper this morning has brought me to near-tears.
Which, I suppose, is the point.
Another (not quite related) point of Memorial Day? To go to cookouts and barbecues. Apparently.
I’m headed to one such shindig this afternoon. Thankful that I was not the one tasked with hosting – I certainly would have ended up buying a new blender or complete set of silverware or perhaps a new dining room table because you never know – I asked the hosting couple what I could contribute.
“How about some guacamole?” she suggested. “And maybe a two liter of something.”
Okay. I need more direction than that, but I didn’t want to tip her off that I’ve got super-bad just play it cool-itis when it comes to this type of thing. Don’t want to look like an overachiever (bringing, say, two types of homemade guacamole and a half dozen varieties of carbonated beverages), but don’t want to be the cheap-ass who buys “guacamole flavored spread” from a jar and a six-pack of Sam’s Choice Mountain Thunder at the Dollar Tree on the way to the party.
Because I’ve been both of those people, and it’s equally disconcerting.
Fast forward to Julie at the Wal-Mart last night.
First, did I mention that I don’t like guacamole? I think it’s because I don’t eat food that resembles fancy tile grout. Also: too smooth. It should be sweet and minty-flavored, like a delicious organic frozen yogurt, yes? No. No it is not. If you think this, you are wrong. So, so wrong.
So yeah. Guacamole. I didn’t even know where to fucking begin.
Juanita, as guacamole-illiterate as I, tried to be helpful. She spotted the aforementioned “guacamole flavored spread” quickly. “Is this it?” she asked, using the same ultra-polite tone of voice she sometimes uses to make observations without passing obvious judgment: well, if that nice man wants a neck tattoo that says MAYHEM then, well, I suppose that’s his choice.* Except together we found it’s pale-greenish color to be, basically, disgusting. “Um, I dooooooon’t….thiiiiiiink…soooooo…” I replied, unable to look away from the spectacle of jarred goo before me. Do people eat this shit? Oh, God.
Except now we were stuck. I had a vague memory of someone bringing pre-packaged guacamole to a party I hosted years ago. I explained the packaging to Juanita, who nodded, adding “So… where would it be?”
At this point, you are probably saying Where the hell else would it be? Look in the guacamole section, idiots! to which I reply: forget you, ass-head. I am sure there are things of which I know the location in Wal-Mart that you do not. And if all else fails, I at least know how to de-dangle my participles.
That must be worth something.
Oh, back to guacamole hunting.
It dawns on me that guacamole is made from avocados, and avocados are
fruit vegetables produce. And whaddya know? There was a fucking guacamole section with the produce! It was incredibly picked over, though, making me wonder: is there some sort of Memorial Day food tradition of which I’d been previously unaware? Also suspect: Wal-Mart brand was more expensive than the brand for which I’d been specifically searching. And there were different types of guacamole: did I want spicy? Original? I carefully considered my options (read: eeny-meeny-miney-moe) and went on my merry way.
I’m already planning out the story I’ll tell guests, depending on how well this shit goes over:
Guest: Oh, I love this brand! So creamy and completely unlike fancy tile grout!
Julie: Oh, I know, right? I just went right to it at the store. I totally should have brought more!
or, if I notice no one is touching the guacamole, I will make small talk over the salsa:
Julie: Yeah, I searched and searched for the good guac, but this is all they had. I figured we could give it a try, but… well, I’m just so sorry. I’ll use my homemade recipe next time. Just like my Mom makes at home. All the fucking time. Because we love our goddamned guacamole in that house, I’ll tell you what!
Guest: I am incredibly impressed, and will invite you to many more parties.
As I imagine how this might all play out, I’m also realizing something important: I guess the whole backyard-cookout-thing isn’t really that strange of a Memorial Day tradition. We’ll all be around family and friends, having a good time, and as long as we don’t forget why we got the day off in the first place, I think spending the day with loved ones is a fitting tribute.
Remember: Freedom isn’t free, folks.
Also: no one should have ever decided this was food:
*She only does this in front of other people. Behind Neck Tat’s back, it’d be more like OH GOD, WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT TO YOURSELF?!