Thoughts from the ammo line

Ammo Grrrll appreciates UNNECESSARY ABUNDANCE. She wants us to appreciate it too. She writes:

My beautiful daughter-in-law sent us several thoughtful gifts for Chanukah or Mr. AG’s birthday or just because she is generous and Amazon Prime-addicted. Whatever.

One of the gifts is a spectacular set of steak knives. She probably noticed at last visit that I had just set out paring knives for our steaks. She is an excellent cook, daughter of a professional chef, and I’m sure this was a culinary faux pas of the highest order, but she was too kind to mention it. She is as kind as she is smart and beautiful. Good job, son!

Because she can see that my entire house was painted and decorated by my Mexican handyman, and features a riot of gaudy colors, each steak knife has a different colored handle. They are perfect in every way, including the number. Eight.

The Paranoid Texan Next Door has a slotted knife repository the size of a small ottoman on his counter that has 12 steak knives. Trust me, if I ever have 12 people for a meal, steak will not be on the menu! That is a Chili or Lasagna Party if ever I heard of one. But, needless to say, the collection does not end with just steak knives. Oh, no.

The PT once pointed out the name of every knife – The Chef’s Knife, the Bread Knife, the Bobbitt Bobber, the Bass De-Gutter, the Meat Tenderizer Mallet, The Tofu Pulverizer, The Boning Knife, The Squirrel Skinner, The Cheese Knife, The Football Deflator, the set of 12 never-even-once-used Grapefruit Knives, the Blind Mice Tail-Carving Knife, The Mushroom Mincer, the Getting Stuck Toast Out of the Toaster Knife (with Optional Defibrillator), and the Bowie Knife. There were many more, but even though I was wearing sunglasses, eventually he noticed I had nodded off over post-walk coffee at his breakfast bar. (Mr. AG is a runner, so I walk with the PT. I do not run. Not even for a bus.)

When I woke up, I asked him how many of these knives he had ever used and he said, he was pretty sure at least 3, but one of those was The Scissors. And I thought about how many gadgets, how much task-specific crap we own and never, ever use. Mango Dicer, anyone?

Oh, don’t get me wrong – I LOVE gadgets and I love American ingenuity and clever inventors and the dozens of aisles of “fun” things you cannot do without at Bed Bath and Beyond. But even in The Arizona Dream Kitchen, with 26 cupboards and 7 large drawers, I am plumb out of space to store frivolous utensils. Hard-boiled egg slicer? Avocado Cutter?

It is instructive to remember my early years when our motto was Make Do. I cut shortening into flour for pie crust with two table knives. Now I have a pastry blender that is always getting stuck sideways in the drawer, and which can only be remedied by violently shaking the drawer and swearing. The swearing seems to be a critical element of the process. As a young bride, I cut biscuits out of the dough with an upside down drinking glass. Now I have biscuit cutters in several sizes. And mostly use Pillsbury biscuits anyway, which have improved so much over the years as to make homemade barely worth the trouble.

Put down your coffee cup, my friend, and survey your surroundings. Can you even BELIEVE how much STUFF you have? My parents lived very modestly in the 1500 sq. ft. home I grew up in. But we didn’t realize how much stuff there was – in the basement, attic, garage — to “down-size” when we moved them from their home to a spacious Assisted Living unit. Then, when Mama needed more care after a bad fall, we moved them to a smaller 2-room suite in a different facility and down-sized once more. Finally, after Mama passed, “we” – and by “we” I mean my brother and his sainted wife — moved Daddy to a yet smaller single room. And Daddy STILL has a lot of stuff he will never use or wear.

I am using the Royal We here. My sister and I got in on one move each; our brother lucked into all three. That’s what you get for being kind, strong as an ox, and having some helpful children and a pickup. My main contribution was to have great friends who still live in my hometown. Thanks again, Bonnie and Wayne!

Unless the person is a junkie who has sold everything he owns to buy drugs, almost every person in America has more possessions than wealthy people a few generations ago. In my family, we are just one generation away from outdoor privies which my mother grew up with. Daddy’s family did have indoor plumbing – one bathroom for 2 adults and 6 children under 10.

Even in a regular old supermarket – not Byerly’s, AJs or whatever your upscale market is – the choices, the variety, the astonishing array of fresh produce and exotic fruits should take our breath away, but we take it for granted. We eat better than the Kings of Europe back in the day, potentates who never tasted a banana or pineapple or Salted Caramel Gelato.

All this awesome abundance has been brought to us by American capitalism, ingenuity and enterprise. And still there are millions of young people who think Bernie Sanders’ “one deodorant” program is the way to go. (Possibly because leftists don’t use deodorant.) Shared scarcity sounds so much better on paper. Speaking of paper, what are the chances that Sheryl Crow uses only the one square of toilet tissue she advocates to save the planet?

If people voluntarily want to simplify a la Thoreau, have at it. When we sold our home in Minnesota to move permanently to Arizona, we had to make some tough choices, especially with our thousands of books. Every once in a while, I think of an item that didn’t make the cut and wish I had it – where IS that nice salad bowl I got at my wedding shower? — but the feeling passes pretty quickly. I hope some Goodwill shopper is using it with joy, and finally finding the arugula the Obamas wanted the poor to have. And I remind myself that I have five other salad bowls. None of which has seen a leaf of arugula, which always sounds to me like some sort of unfortunate sexually-transmitted disease. Just sayin’.

So, I will finish this meditation on Abundance and Gratitude in a minute and turn to thinking Deep Thoughts about the Deep State or the FBI or who in my neighborhood besides the woman with the suspicious “Bears” banner is probably a Russian Bot. Right after I wash my three Deviled Egg Plates and Asparagus Platter. I mean, really, who could pass up a little platter with the imprint of asparagus in it? Have you no soul? Have you no VISA?

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