Nine Lives

“Aristocat”

 

The Cat lay sprawled, rag dolled

in a warm splash of late winter light

the morning, ending but still streaming

friendly and blue-skied, sun beaming

through the glazing;

carelessly brushing the sink

and taking pause on the kitchen floor

blessing in their turn the patient linoleum tiles:

two travelling blinding squares of sun showered shingles

Unwittingly our feline becomes a snug sundial

I sit, scribbling scrabbling…

staring at the faded tabled blooms

but the outer azure sky lifts my spirits

Screw your future, eat Cheez-It’s®

get in my belly

I love Cheez-It’s®.

The right way to eat a Cheez-It®is to place it top down onto your tongue. Let the salt begin to soak, brining your saliva for a moment. Do not let the Cheez-It® become soggy. Push it against the roof of your mouth, shattering it into the wave of cheesy cheddary goodness you were waiting to be subsumed beneath.

I bought a box of Cheez-It’s® yesterday, feebly, at the supermarket. I’ve been feeling unwell. Sinus infections overtake me for weeks at a time. I drip and I sneeze and I blow, and eventually a squishy olive green walnut sized phlemgy mass rockets forth from my nose, weighty within its cradle of tissue, unimaginably large. This had not happened when I bought the box, as I do not buy Cheez-It’s® in triumph or celebration, though I sympathise with those who do.

In my youth Cheez-It’s® came in a one pound box. A pound is a solid amount, it feels right in the hand. It is, after all, a human measurement. Fuck the metric system.* One pound of Sunshine Biscuits Cheez-It’s® cost $2.50 circa 1996, when the Kellogg Company acquired them. It was a serious challenge to finish an entire box of Cheez-It’s® in one sitting, in those days. When you met the challenge you were likely to feel unwell for a time, but you knew you had accomplished something.

I perused the selection: Jack Cheez-It’s®, Scrabble Cheez-It’s®, extra toasty (new!!). When I was a child there could only be one – the Original Cheez-It®. After a quick mental debate, I agreed with myself to pretend to care about healthiness and greedily snatched a box of whole-grain Cheez-It’s®. As I left the store I sneered at the huddled peons, their carts massed with sundry mundane groceries while I traveled swift and light, the solitary red box loudly proclaiming both my unencumbered devil-may-care life and my superior taste in baked snack crackers, and foreshadowing another dark night of the soul.

Glancing at the box I revved up my spleen and prepared to be disappointed yet again by the weight. Since college I had noted the size decreased to 13.7 ounces. And yet the price remained the same. Have you no decency Keebler? Do my new corporate snacking overlords think I don’t notice the bait and switch they’ve perpetrated on the american public? Elfin magic my ass. Blackguards all. Godfrey Keebler rolls in his grave. Hefting this box of joy and despair, my eyes widened in shock and shame at the new news – my beloved Cheez-It’s® had been stingily whittled down to a proclaimed 12.4 ounces.  The Horror! Godfrey spins anew! The Horror! At over $4, the boxes are slimming almost as fast as my wallet.

The delicate and controlled soul eats Cheez-It’s® one at a time, from a separate bowl, lovingly yet stoically pre-portioned. Yet Cheez-It® continence is hard to keep. Soon you begin to double up. Sin feels good. You tremblingly wonder, can I handle three at once? The crystallized salt attacks your tongue, the cracker particles wander to the far crevices of your mouth. An army of Cheez-It’s® pleasantly painfully overwhelms your palate with dry salty cheddar.

That Cheez-It® box got plundered all night like a cheap slut. I’m sure it felt as bad as I did. The shame of bad sex with an disreputable femme leaves quickly unlike the stinging cuts on the roof of your palate from all the salt, and the inability to taste other food. A whole box bombs out your palate like 2003 Baghdad. Never buy the crates of Cheez-It® they hawk at Costco! Culinary warfare on a grand scale. The one box Cheez-It® hangover can only spur you to improve your life and take responsibility for your diet and actions if it is totally gone. And to my credit, it was.

*except when baking and drinking. I’m also much taller in centimeters