Saturday, September 30, 2006

What He Goes There For Is To Unlock the Door

My decades-old stovetop is wide enough to place baking pans on either side of the burners. The lure is irresistable. I must place things I need to place somewhere in this space between the burners and the wall. I cannot help myself! So the block containing knives and a cannister filled with teas and instant cider packets sit next to two ceramic insulators an old friend found in a junkyard. In my apartment, one may discover several large, heavy rusty objects - especially if you break in and I hit you with them. But that's not important right now! Sitting next to the stove, things get sticky, then furry, then you wish you could stick noses on them and call them "Mr. Potato Head."

Recently, lots of ostensibly intelligent people have been shouting things that don't make any sense to me, especially when they contradict one another. You may or may not remember this, but I used to be a Biblical Revisionary performance poet, and my theory was that you should never take anyone's word - including mine - for what was in the Bible, and believer or not, you should read it yourself. On Friday, I read an article in which Senator Harry Reid called this week's big-name bill "unconstitutional on its face" and a paragraph later, Senator John McCain said no, he thought it was constitutional. I thought, hell, I've been declared a genius on both sides of the Atlantic. I'm not using my prodigious IQ for anything special. Maybe I should clean the fuzz off my kitchen and read the Constitution while I'm making yogurt this week. I've got yogurt ingredients and cleaning fluid. And I can read.

Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

I'm an Eat Dessert First kind of gal, so let's start with the amendments, and hey, that one's not so tough. I can spell each and every one of those words. This came in handy when I brought whole milk and light cream to a milk boil. Since I was standing there at the stove, I took apart the block of knives and removed teas and ciders from the cannister. I washed the knives, the block, the insulators and the cannister with CitraSolv, an orange oil cleaner. My kitchen smelled great. It is important to remember that I am allergic to only two things: oxygen and nitrogen. Cleaning is a joyous adventure. My sinuses opened up as they hadn't since I was a blotchy, sneezing, crushingly attractive teen.

Amendment II
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Those words pack a punch, much like the pots and pans I got two Christmases ago. When Paulie Gonzalez and I broke up, the pots and pans were his, so I did what any independent, self-sufficient middle-aged woman would under the circumstances: I called Daddy and said, "Please buy me pots!" The grid behind the stove Dad put up when I said, "Daddy, help me move!" It's a miracle he takes my calls. On the topical other hand, today he sent me four pictures of himself with his Winchester, his whisk and a bandolero full of bullets. As you can see from the photograph above, the yogurt maker he gave me gets weekly usage. Let's not underestimate Mom while we're at it: that's a lefthanded spoon-whatsis, made by an artisan Mom found in her travels through New England.

Amendment III
No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Speaking of whisks, my rubberized plastic whisk is the tool in my kitchen that makes me happiest, though it's the one I may use less than thirty seconds weekly. I can combine my base yogurt sample with the boiled and cooled milk and cream without damaging my non-stick stock pot.

Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The fourth is one of my favorites. It's got a great beat and you can really dance to it. Check out this Electric Slide.

Tata: You've got to be kidding. I'm not getting up in church and renouncing evil in front of witnesses! Can't one of your friends be this kid's godmother?
Daria: We don't believe in it.
Tata: What? What does that mean? Can I tell a jackknifed tractor trailor I don't believe in car crashes?

But as much as I mocked my sister, I swear this was my mouth doing the talking when I went to interview for a part-time job at a discount department store.

Interviewer: We require a drug test.
Tata: I don't believe in it.
Interviewer: Okay.
Tata: Did I say something stupid? And you said "okay"?
Interviewer: Do you want to start Tuesday?
Tata: I believe in starting Tuesday.

I scrubbed the wall next to the stove, too, and the decorative tile you can't see in the pictures. It takes quite a while after the milk boil for the milk-cream mixture to cool to between 115-120 degrees, so while I was there stirring intermittently I wiped down other surfaces in the kitchen. This is great for me because I can't stand sticky.

Amendment V
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Yep, I can spell each of those words but I'm not sure I understand them as a piquant melange. I set up the yogurt in cups, put away dry dishes and washed up the stock pot. My stove's clean. Sticky furry things are now unsticky and unfurry. I read a few paragraphs of the Constitution and I don't even have a headache. Yes, those are my nails. I grew them myself, possibly as a side effect of the high calcium-low expectation lifestyle. And Poor Impulsives like yourself have taken up a new hobby. Don't worry, though: you can already sing our theme song. Remember?

Update: YouTube removed Schoolhouse Rock's preamble to the Constitution. Promise you'll sing it in the shower, because that will terrify your teens and cause your spouse to giggle. Yes, it will.

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Blogger Blogenfreude said...

Lawrence Tribe trembles before your analysis. You need to write a Constitutional cookbook - recipes and the amendments thereto.

12:09 PM  
Blogger Tata said...

I saw him on CNN once, trading tips with Heloise and Julia, but they all needed a decent manicure.

1:47 PM  

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