Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Inflation



I wonder in which decade the expression "I feel like a million bucks" lost its currency. Not the 70s. My mom used to say it all the time. Well, not all the time, but whenever her kids got good grades or hadn't been arrested. I suppose back then, a million bucks made people sit up and take notice; a million bucks threw some serious weight around.

Today, a million bucks means a mortgage and a migraine. Not that I'm speaking from experience. Except, I do have a mortgage, and sometimes my head hurts, but I'm just wondering -- what's the monetary simile for feel-good these days? Do we feel like $3.5 million, $4 million, or am I still low-balling this thing. In my middle-class way.

The longer I've lived, the more I've grown to disbelieve in Fitzgerald's "the rich are different from you and I." They're not, really, other than knowing which fork to use. (It's from the outside in, generally speaking, but not always. I learned that one the hard way. And the fork-thing is stupid, anyway; a fork is just a glorified spear, meant to transport food to its ultimate destination. But now I digress, only because I really fucked up on a fork series last week. To which, I say, take that pastry fork and stick it where the sun don't shine.)

Where was I? I've totally forgotten, because I'm still stuck on the pastry fork, and my gaffe.

OK, it was a dinner party. I don't even know why I was invited. But after I kind of figured out the salad fork (easy), and which one for the meat, and which one for the fish, when it came to the pastry, I got all confused. The cocktails, aperitifs, and wine were no help at all.

So the rich aren't different from you and I, it's just knowing how to handle a situation, gracefully. If you're confused as to which is the pastry fork, or at some point, can't with precision find any fork at all or even the top of the table with some degree of confidence, just pat your stomach, dab the napkin to your lips, and say, "Oh this was lovely, but if I eat another bite, I'll heave."

Works like a charm. And you'll get port. The good stuff.

35 comments:

  1. I'll skip the port and opt for a good Cab...and a bit of chocolate...no fork needed.

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  2. I'm thinking $100,000,000 with tech-stock options.

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  3. This was so funny, I felt like 10 million bucks. You must have gone to a very special dinner party, because we don't often meet pastry forks at ours. When I was 11 years old, we stayed at a posh hotel and at dinner, my father whispered urgently to me, "Eat from the outside in." So I ate my food from the outside of the plate into the middle, as ordered to, even though I thought he'd gone a bit mad. After the meal he told me it was the order in which I should have used the silverware.

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  4. When I was consulting in London and Helsinki, the papers there hosted many dinners where the number of forks and spoons (and don't forget the dessert fork and spoon above the plate) were overpowering.

    If I were older and wiser, I would have counted the forks to get an estimate of the number of courses we would be served, and adjusted my drinking. But I was not older and not wiser, so by the time dessert was served, I couldn't tell you what it tasted like, and usually couldn't even focus my eye (having to keep one eye closed so I wouldn't see double) to tell what I was eating.

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  5. Vic, we should never sit at the same table.

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  6. You're a million times better than Emily Post.

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  7. QEII: (dabbing mouth) "Oh this was lovely, but if I eat another bite, I'll heave."
    Charles et al: (wide-eyed, stunned silence)

    I'd love to be there.

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    1. I'll take you next time (if there is a next time, which I doubt), and we'll giggle.

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  8. The whole idea of multiple pieces of flatware with specialized functions is relatively new, within a couple of centuries I think. Don't think it has staying power.

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  9. There is an antique store that advertises its insanely pricy wares in The Wall Street Journal. A few weeks back, my dearly beloved showed me their ad: for silver flatware for 12, and by my calculations it held something on the order of 18 pieces per place setting. I told him, "Thank you, but I don't need it. I have my own flatware." And, really, I was thinking that it was some absurd price approaching 100 grand, and that was just stupid beyond belief. I wonder if they've dropped the price yet. 5 or 6 pieces per place setting is plenty - and 6 is only necessary if you insist on a butter spreader for each setting, because the horror of using your dinner knife to spread your butter is simply too awful to bear.

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    1. 18? That's way beyond my league. No, it's beyond conception. Although, I will admit to owning a set of pickle forks.

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  10. Sounds posh! Play the artist card, we're expected to be iconoclasts and use the cutlery ironically.

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  11. OK, so you forked up, though I doubt by dessert anyone was in shape to notice. Personally, I prefer to eat raspberries and blackberries with my fingers, pretending they are newly picked. Oh! Warning, do not giggle at such dinners. One tends to snort the red wine through one's nose. A real conversation stopper.

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  12. For reasons unknown, when matriculating at my preferred college, I began eating a good deal of my food with my fingers. I still think it's a viable option.

    PS I think what used to make the rich different was manners - whatever they are.

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  13. That's why I like finger-food and Ethiopian restaurants.

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  14. My youngest son firmly believes everything is finger food. It's almost comical to watch him eat peas or stuffing with his fingers, while I scold him to behave like a reasonable human being. I guess you and PJ stand with Mark.

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    1. Mark is an independent spirit. Why am I not surprised.

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  15. Karen, you never fail to have me laughing. Particularly those last two paragraphs . . . POW!

    Fortheluvamike, why would you even consider going to a party like that?

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  16. Oy, vey, I misspelled Karin. Sorry about that. Jon

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    1. I know, it's a really irritating name, isn't it?

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    2. Sorry, I've cornered the entire market on irritating names..

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  17. I think I'd pick out someone elegant and just watch what they do, hoping they don't screw up.

    I would be terrified to drink at a party like that. Or maybe not. Maybe that's the thing to do to when using forks with wild abandon.

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  18. Chinese food. Chopsticks. Made of wood. Enough said.

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  19. I will be very intimidated in this dinner party above.

    Use chopsticks for me is really a challenge!

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    1. Me too. I always ask for a fork; to the horror of my cultural elites.

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    2. No greater fun than horrifying one's cultural elites.

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  20. P, I can't imagine an evening like that one with out copious amounts of alcohol.

    As for chopsticks, surely you jest.

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  21. Not sure about dinner parties like the above, but once at a fine restaurant my chopped salad would not stay on the fork, so I asked for chopsticks [OK, they knew me}, They were produced and I was able to eat my salad comfortably.

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  22. I didn't know there was such a thing as a pastry fork.

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  23. The next time I'm in a "multi-fork" situation, I'll follow your advice. (Fun piece!)

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  24. The rich love their tennis skirts and make crappy Brownie Leaders - and that's all I've got to say on that.

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  25. The experience sounds perfectly wondrous. In my next life I want to go to dinner parties such as this. I really do think I've missed out on something by not being wealthy in this life. Ah, yes, it's hot dogs on sticks and beer out of the bottle for this lucky lady. It tastes good nonetheless so I shouldn't complain:)

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  26. Well done... I would probably have just flung down my napkin and screamed 'FORK THIS' ...... before being ushered out the servants entrance!!

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