ONION RINGS Handcrafted FRESH EVERY DAY. As if that’s a hallmark of quality. As if deep frying your onion rings on the same day you sell them signifies excellence in dining.
Picture the AGM and the Vice President of Marketing standing before the shareholders, announcing the new differentiator.
“Onions,” he says with dramatic flair, and pauses. “Handcrafted ones.”
The hall is silent. A nervous hand slowly rises. “Still deep fried, right?”
“Oh yes,” nods the VP. “Every day.”
You know what? They’re not even that good. The onions are too thick, the coating is to crumbly. When you bit into them, they kind of feel like they’re still alive.
Pretty much the entire conversation, verbatim:
“I have no idea what this note says,” I told Jo, and showed her my phone. I had a sticky note app, which I used frequently, habitually, perhaps neurotically. It was littered with notes left and forgotten and found again days or weeks later. I pointed to the one that concerned me. “This one,” I said.
“It says, ‘jealous conversation clinic‘” She frowned. “I don’t know what that means. Why did you write it?”
“I didn’t,” I said. “I used the phone’s voice-to-text app.”
“It’s not very good.”
“It is very good,” I sighed. “I’m just not very good at talking.”
“So, is the note supposed to be about finding a clinic on how to have a jealous conversation? Who needs a clinic on that? It’s a pretty easy thing to do.”
“Maybe it’s a conversation clinic that’s jealous.”
“Jealous of what?”
“Of other conversation clinics, silly.”
“What else do you got?” She took my phone from me and began scrolling through my sticky notes. “Ham coma.” She looked at me. “You wrote ‘ham coma.'”
“It’s a real thing, you know.”
I tried to take my phone back but she spun away, scrolling again. “Who needs to remember the term ‘ham coma’ so much that they actually write it down?”
She stopped and held up the phone. “What’s this one? ‘it smells like Ontario'” She frowned. “What? What smells like Ontario?”
“I don’t know why I have that there.”
“Is it a good smell or a bad smell?”
“Really? It’s Ontario.”
She nodded. “Fair point. Look, why don’t you just delete the ones that make no sense?”
“I’m afraid. What if I delete something that could be a million dollar idea?”
The silence hung between us. A fly buzzed about the room.
“You think ‘ham coma’ is going to make you a million dollars?”
“No. Not really. Maybe. I could happen.”
Her eyes narrowed. “You think they’re messages from God, don’t you?”
I blushed. “Well, not the God. But a god. Some god. Or a space alien, maybe. It would explain so much.”
“It would explain absolutely nothing. Look, you typed those in a hurry, you were too distracted to even remember why you put them there in the first place, and now they will haunt you for months.”
“That’s ridiculous. I’m going to continue to think of them as coded messages from a higher intelligence.”
“Messages you’re not bright enough to decode.”
“Which is why they keep appearing on my phone,” I explained. “One of these days, one of them will make sense.”
End of act one. Act two begins that night, as I lay in bed and thought about the messages on my phone. I fell asleep, wondering if I was clinging to threads, grasping at straws, but then it happened. I had a dream where the higher being finally delivered me a message that I could unencrypt. I burst awake.
Shaking my sleeping wife, I said. “The god is telling me to be more updog.”
She squinted at me, rubbing sleep from her eyes. “Huh? What’s updog?”
“Not much,” I said and rolled over to go back to sleep. “What’s up with you?”