to cut itself down
I've been working on a poem for the past several months called "Why is Silverware Suicidal?" That's also the first line. And so far, the only line. That's the problem. I can't come up with a word that rhymes with "suicidal."
I thought I had something going with "Midol" like, "Why is silverware suicidal? Do they forget to take their Midol?"
You can see what the problem is there. You can't start off a poem with back-to-back questions. Also, my wife pointed out that the word "Midol" carries some heavy baggage in the community of women and I "might not want to go there."
I don't know what "there" she's talking about. I was only interested in Midol for it's rhyming qualities. I'm not even sure what it is. For the first several years of our marriage, I just assumed it was some kind of chick vitamin. Those were tough years.
But she's right. I don't want to use words that detract from the main point of the poem, the suicidal nature of silverware.
Have you noticed that you can't turn on a garbage disposal without a knife, fork or spoon suddenly throwing itself into the masticating maw beating blades?
It's unnerving. The savage grinding noise. The utensil's horrifying St. Vitas Dance as it bangs, clatters and spins. You dive to turn the machine off and then pull the poor jagged and battered implement from the terrible grotto.
WHY DOES silverware have such little zest for life? What does it have to be depressed about, other than the obvious thing about having to go into people's mouths? But going into people's mouths is an eating utensil's job. Having to endure a little on-the-job saliva isn't worth killing yourself over. Especially since you get to take a hot bath afterward.
That's why I want to write a poem about silverware, to honor all those soup spoons and butter knives and the little tiny crab forks and the rest of the eating ware team. And to help people understand and appreciate their silverware.
Silverware has a lot to be proud of. It nourishes us. Food travels miles from farm to store and from store to home. But it is the silverware that transports those nutrients the last important inches to our bodies. Without silverware we'd be stuck with plastic picnic eating implements. You ever try to eat a New York steak with a plastic knife and fork? It can't be done, at least not without fork tines flying all over the place.
So I'll continue to work on my ode to silverware. Maybe it should go like this:
"Why is my sugar spoon sad? Life is so sweet, it should be glad.
The ladle is listless, the pie server flat.
The tea spoon wonders where the Cuisinare's at.
Come on utensils! Is life so heinous?
That a garbage disposal turns you into Greg Louganis?"
OK. It still needs a little work.
Charles Memminger, winner of National Society of Newspaper Columnists awards, appears Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org