Thursday, May 5, 2011

Cosmic Lemons, Lemonade Sea

"When life gives you lemons, rent a storefront in the trendy part of town and make artisanally squeezed lemonade at $14 a glass."     - Bike Snob NYC

The Little Lemonade Stand of Life

Life is funny. It wasn't that long ago that I was complaining about having to pay my taxes. Complaining isn't exactly the right word here - let's just say that I was acknowledging my civic duty, but reflecting in a negative vein about what I'm getting in return, viz., the grudging ownership of a corrupt and bankrupt medieval principality somewhere near the Hindu Kush and the Karakoram Range that begins with 'A.'

On the other hand, I did record my elation at having applied for Medicare. This milestone is, like most milestones, a mixed blessing inasmuch as milestones generally mark the passage of one's days, and to qualify for this little prize you have to have reached a point at which, willy nilly, you begin to surrender certain of the powers and perquisites of being a large primate.

"Sure, I used to swing - both ways."

My point here is that sometimes, all you have to do is mention something that might use a little improvement, and the tables turn just the way you wanted them to. If I play my cards right I can break even - take back in medical payments what I pay out in taxes. That way, I'm not really leaving a balance on either side of the ledger, so I'm not contributing to the GDP. Which is just another way of saying that, provided I get sick enough, I will no longer officially exist. Or to put it another way, mereo, ergo sum. And that means I'll no longer have to do certain things, like comb my hair. . .

. . . or sit up straight

Not officially existing, in my lexicon of financial terms, need not mean the same as being entirely forgotten. So long as the Social Security Administration grants me a minimal existence by keeping me on its rolls as a beneficiary I'll be happy. So far, so good. Not everything is entirely rosy on that score however. They acknowledge my existence (much like that of a lesser god, a distant star or an awkward weather system . . . )

. . . but their letter apprising me of my new favored status ("Notice of Award") was sent from the department of Retirement, Survivors and Disability Insurance. That seemed to me a little bit of "giveth and taketh away" in the same breath. It is beneath mention that this is not a select group, nor do any of these designations include poor Miguel. I am neither retired nor disabled, and I like to think of myself in my cheerier moments as more than merely a survivor.

Survivor making artisanal knishes 

Let's be clear about this: being alive isn't necessarily the same thing as "being a survivor." It seems you would have to have survived something, like eating an artisanal knish, to qualify for the title.

"Knish, anybody?"

And then talk about making knishes out of lemons, this other thing happened as well, just like mentioning taxes and being immediately taken under the government's sheltering wing.  I had posted some time ago what was beginning to seem a premature announcement of my return to gainful employment somewhere in the Great American Desert - in Nevada, to be precise. But, like the pages of the calendar flipping across a movie screen . . . 


. . . the days passed, the phone was silent, the e-mail came and went with its empty promises of Viagra and ExtenZe offers. Forty days and forty nights I fasted in the desert; I complained, I raised my hand against the Cosmic Lemon, I cursed my humors and the fruit in my loins (lemons, assorted citrus). And the Cosmic Lemon heard my plaint and there issued forth lemonade in the desert.

There must be a moral here somewhere to help navigate this Sea of Lemonade we call life. In my case I'd say the moral is complaining will get you everything you want. It usually seems to work.


  1. I think this means you got the job -- I think. But you're absolutely correct: complaining WILL get you everything you want!! A thorn in every side!

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