Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Hit It On the 57

Whatever else you do or forbear,
impose upon yourself the task of happiness;
and now and then abandon yourself
to the joy of laughter.
From “Whatever Else You Do” by Max Ehrmann

I have a friend who visited me from afar last year. As I showed her around my country by bus and on foot, we stopped in a cafe to eat.
Our burgers shortly afterwards arrived and I reached for the ketchup bottle to add a little dollop on the side of my plate.
I thumped away at the bottle but nothing emerged. My hand was becoming sore, my food cold. I grew impatient.
My friend watched me in her calm way and said sagely, “hit it on the 57.”
I did not know at all what that meant, but I trusted my friend and supposed that turning the bottle to a 57 degree angle might dislodge any obstruction and send gallons of sauce my way. I am not terribly accurate when it comes to precise degrees and I presumed that my friend must be the mathematical sort who knew about such things.
So I turned the bottle at a reasonably 57-ish degree angle, hoped for the best, and banged on the end.
The sauce flew out, but it missed my plate by half the restaurant's length. Or thereabouts.
My friend looked at me with a puzzled eye. “Why did you do that?”
“You said to hit it on the 57,” I wailed. There was sauce everywhere else but not a drop on my plate.
“ know that I meant you to actually hit where the number 57 is written on the end of the bottle...didn't you?”

Light dawned on me at last.
It was a Heinz bottle, you see, with its little '57 varieties' slogan emblazoned on the neck of the bottle. Apparently, hitting the bottle on that particular spot makes the sauce come out more easily.
If I recall correctly it took two hours to eat the meal because we both just could not stop laughing.
No, that really has nothing to do with frugality but it has everything to do with the fact that the simple memory cheers me up when I am feeling a mite gloomy. It costs me nothing to remember how much fun we had.

I do not recall any items I bought that day; I do not remember shopping; I could not tell you what I wore or whether my clothes matched or how much money I was carrying. You have a bad memory! one might say, but no—just a selective one. I keep what is important and everything else passes on as it should.

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