Like my sibling, I don’t really understand the difference between expressions of affection and surreal forms of terrorism. It’s just how we say “I love you.” In grad school, I have a good friend—let’s just call her “Cathy”—who’s very dear to me; unfortunately what that means is that she’s on the receiving end of random acts of friendship-terrorism all the time. Here’s an example.
Cathy is a gracious host, and whenever my group of friends wants to cook together, we usually do it at her place. Because my group of friends is kind of disgusting when it comes to food, this usually involves making a shit-ton of bacon. As one might expect, this gave rise to the need for a container in which to drain off copious amounts of grease. Whence came the Bacon Jar.
The origins of Bacon Jar are shrouded in mystery. He may once have been a jar of preserves, but no one knows for sure. Though destined for Cathy’s recycling, he was spared that ignominious end by a quirk of fate, and was instead re-purposed to serve as a beloved storage vessel for six people’s gluttonous leavings.
Back then, when Bacon Jar was new and brimming with youth/bacon fat, we kept him in Cathy’s fridge, the better to have him handy. Then one day, after a particularly bacon-heavy cooking session, I decided for whatever reason that it would be amusing to hide him under Cathy’s pillow.
Well, she sure loved that. Somehow she managed not to find it until about 3 AM, when her arms knocked against it as she shifted positions. Startled by the feel of the cool, moderately greasy glass against her skin, she bolted upright and turned on the light. And there he was, in all his glory. She stared at Bacon Jar with a mixture of rage and incredulity. I was going to hear about this.
She confronted me the next time we were at her house.
Cathy: Shawn. The other day, did you put the jar of bacon fat under my pillow?
Shawn: Surely not.
Cathy: I think maybe that you did.
Shawn: I think I’d remember that.
Cathy: (shoving Bacon Jar into my arms) I think you need to get this jar of bacon fat out of my house.
Shawn: (accepting) Sure, I’ll take it. But you know what they say: “If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you…”
Cathy: Oh no. Wait. Give that back.
Shawn: Too late!
And that was the last Cathy saw of Bacon Jar for months. But in the meantime, my friends and I have not been idle. The preparations have been made. The Bacon Jar is coming home. And this is how Cathy’s finding out.
Stay tuned for Part II.
P.S. Also, “Cathy,” I deliberately arranged today so that I’d be putting up this post while you were sitting across from me at the same coffee shop table. And, apropos of something else entirely, you just uttered the sentence, “You know, you’re in danger of constantly appearing like an evil genius without ever bothering to put in the actual work.” Well, here’s the work.