Monday, June 6, 2011

Eleven Dollars

So, as I was perusing our lovely local paper here in Syracuse, the Post-Standard (an extremely boring name, yet perfectly adequate news) I noticed something odd. I was scanning the Home and Garden section trying desperately to tune out my mother and one of her stories with no point that she swears are hilarious (“No, really! He was talking about math! On the phone!!” I kid you not; I had to sit through that story).  As I was doing this, I noticed a house that had been recently bought for $251,935.
Alone, that would have been unremarkable except for the fact that it was in Syracuse. I didn’t know we had houses that classy. However, odder than that was the asking price: $251,946.
Now, I don’t claim to be Pythagoras. I am an English major for a very simple reason- math makes me want to do one of three things: Cry ( Stats 2010), start screaming and throwing things (Algebra, 2008), and contemplate leaving college and pursuing a life of turning tricks in the corner of dusty bars (pretty much every time I sit down to a math problem).
However, despite my diminished brain capacity of the mathematic persuasion, I calculated that the difference between the asking price and the purchase price was 11 dollars. No folks, no typo. Not 1,100 dollars or 11,000 dollars. Eleven.
My writer brain kicked into overdrive and I imagined a really tense scene in a dingy basement with men in pinstripes chewing on fat cigars as they contemplated the deal. Where was the cutoff?
 “No lower than five dollars off that price, Al! Have you seen our wainscoting? Eleven! Are they kidding?? Who do they think we are, Rockefellers? They’ll cover closing? Alright, I suppose we can let it go for eleven less, but any more, they have another think coming!!!”
What, I wonder, did they need to buy for eleven dollars so urgently that they took it from their savings for their dream house? My guess is as good as yours. But after extensive research, I hypothesize the following:
-          A night of Skeeball. Recently, a friend and I went to Sylvan Beach, and spent around 11 dollars playing Skeeball. We ended up with enough tickets for 2 Blow Pops. Maybe they were jonesing for some Blow Pops, but wanted to feel like they earned it. I respect that.

-          Matching umbrella hats for those (I’ll admit it, few and far between) hot Syracuse days. At, you can get two for ten dollars. Do I smell deal, or is that just you?

-          For a limited time only, you can get a set of Samurai sword chopsticks from Because really, eating sushi with regular chopsticks is for squares.

These are my three guesses. I can understand rumbling over the cost of the home if I can get one of these things with my eleven dollars. Oh me, oh my, current homeowner of my future house, you’re going to have fun with my bargaining. Syracuse has taught me everything I know.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Really Big Asparagus

My mom tells me a lot of things. Five have stuck with me-

1. Never marry a man that wears matching pajamas.
2. Popping zits should be cathartic for everyone
3. Everything can be related to Sex in the City
4. Sometimes people just need to shut the fuck up
5. Never buy Really Big Asparagus

I haven't met a man that wore matching pajamas that didn’t have the last name of Brady, yet I'm convinced there must be a loophole here. What about Kings? Isn't it a rule that royalty must wear pajamas? I'd like to have seen Henry the VIII run out of his bedroom in just his boxers and a beater. No, royalty rocks the matching pajamas. I refuse to never be a princess because of this.

Some are true however. Just today I said 'All righty', referencing Charlotte's proposal disaster. Two weeks ago, my mom fell in the shower. When describing it to me, all my brain played back was when Miranda screwed up her neck and Aiden saw everything. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you suck. Go watch some quality television and put the damn books down. You're American, now act like it.

One thing, however, I have always listened to is her rule about Really Big Asparagus.

Growing up just her and me, I was always with her when we went to the grocery store and heard her many restrictions-

"Get Granny Smiths individually. The ones in the bag are shitty."
"Cherries are a rip off. Learn to like the Maraschinos, because that's all I'm buyin'."
"Soda is what's killing America. Put it back."

But when buying asparagus, she always went for the thin, bendy, cord-like asparagus. If it was any bigger than a Twizzler, she practically threw it at me.

Terrified from my years of asparagus abuse, I stayed away from Really Big Asparagus until one fateful day.

 You always hear about it happening to other people, but you never think it will happen to you. I was sitting, unbeknownst to me, in a restaurant that served Really Big Asparagus. When it came with my steak, I saw my mother raise her eyebrows at those think cankle-looking asparagus stalks.

Not wanting to raise a scene, I bravely cut a piece off, gritted my teeth and took a bite, waiting for the rapid heartbeat, apocalypse, or certain death my mother's frequent warnings against Really Big Asparagus had made me believe would happen.

Nothing happened, it tasted fine. When I said that to my mother, she shrugged.

"Oh, well. Maybe I was wrong. Look at that ugly family over there."

And just like that, years of fear and doubt about Really Big Asparagus disappeared as we watched a really ugly family eat their dinner.

Moral: Sometimes my mother is wrong. Sometimes Really Big Asparagus is fine. And Sometimes really ugly people are amusing.