The Passing Parade: Cheap Shots from a Drive By Mind

"...difficile est saturam non scribere. Nam quis iniquae tam patiens urbis, tam ferreus, ut teneat se..." " is hard not to write Satire. For who is so tolerant of the unjust City, so steeled, that he can restrain himself... Juvenal, The Satires (1.30-32)

Monday, December 05, 2005

THE FLY IN THE OINTMENT: The workday being what it is, I wandered down the main street of our happy little burg, a thoroughfare accurately but not imaginatively called Main Street, to the Three Sisters Deli, there to place an order for lunch. The Three Sisters Deli is the place to go for sandwiches here, the local arts monthly rating them the best deli in the city for the past two years, although I think there is something more than a little odd about an periodical dedicated to the arts holding forth on the quality of a deli’s cold cuts. One wonders, for example, if Minimalism has an intellectual space for the baloney sandwich on white bread as a metaphor for the outward blandness of suburban American life or what the Abstract Expressionists would have thought of the Three Sisters’ representational outlook towards the hot Italian combo served on either a roll or a hero with a side order of potato salad and a Coke. In any case, just for your dramaturgical and culinary information, the Three Sisters Deli is so named not through any affinity for, or appreciation of, the dramatic works of Anton Chekhov; they strike me as being more of the Neil Simon type, although I'm pretty sure at least one of them may be a closet Strindbergian;, but simply because three sisters run the deli, none of whom are in mourning for their lives. They are in mourning because the company they get their Italian sausages from doesn't seem to put as much fennel in the sausages as they used to.

So I strolled into the deli at the height of the lunch hour rush and promptly went to the back of a line so long that if it had a tuba at the front the line would need a parade permit in order to congregate anywhere in the city. That the line was so long does not come as a surprise to those of us who live here, though it often surprises outsiders who take a look at the population statistics and wonder if everyone is on Main Street at this one time. This is not true, of course, but you could forgive someone for thinking that was the case. Lunchtime is the busiest time of day on Main Street, since half the commercial establishments on Main Street make their living selling lunch to the other half. The second busiest time of day is the period between two and five in the morning, when the local traffic in unregulated pharmaceuticals is at its height.

As I stood in the line, waiting to put in my order for a ham on toasted whole wheat with lettuce and tomato, I spoke with one of the bulwarks of our local constabulary, Officer Pugliese. I asked how he was doing and he said, fine, everything was going just as well as one could expect, he supposed, although on such a beautiful morning he was inclined to look at life through rose-colored glasses. I ventured that that might not be such a good idea, given that if everyone did as he did, he would be out of work. He shook his head and smiled, saying he had lots of job security, given that human nature wasn’t going to change anytime soon. And I said, there it is. He looked at me and asked, there what is? Now it was my turn to shake my head as I told him, that’s the first scratch on your rose-colored glasses. He laughed and said, true enough, as he put in his order for a spiced ham and bacon on rye. There’s a moral there somewhere, although I’m not sure what it might be.


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