Friday, June 10, 2011

A Muse Not Amused

by Robert Jevne
   Having nothing more to say about my most neglected meal of the day than “Mmm…peanut butter,” I decided it was time to call upon my muse and invite him out to lunch. Yes - him. While for some, their muse might be youth or beauty, music, politics or philosophy, me? - I have Randy. It’s a long story. Nothing I ever do is good enough for Randy including the place I chose to eat. He had pink grapefruit and ice-water claiming a weight issue though he’s skinny as a rail. I had the usual thing I get on the rare occasion when I do go out for lunch. A patty melt. A patty melt is the classic “its so good because its so bad for you” sandwich. At its best a patty melt consists of fatty hamburger, oily Swiss cheese, greasy fried onions, on two pieces of rye bread the whole of which is then fried. Again. And don’t forget the side of Thousand Island dressing for dipping. Nothing lo-cal about that. In my book it’s a slam-dunk - in the best and worst sense of that phrase. I once went to a restaurant in northern Minnesota (I won’t even mention the town) where-upon ordering a patty melt, I received what looked like a plain old hamburger on a bun. When I complained to the waitress I was assured that, and I quote, “Everything was inside” unquote. And when I took my first bite something indeed was inside and came oozing out of the half moon declivity in my sandwich but which to this day I insist wasn’t everything. In fact it was an insult to connoisseurs of patty melts everywhere and frankly, as they say - “There ought to be a law.”

   Wiping my mouth and chin, I explained my inspiration problem to Randy. He was swirling an ice cube in his mouth and the look of disgust he had aimed at my plate turned to me. “You have a shelf full of poetry. Did you ever think of cracking one of those books open? Or is Google your preferred muse now?” He swirled the ice cube in a way which I suppose was meant to be meaningful. I knew he would be jealous, but for crying out loud, Google is so easy. Have you ever tried to research a poetic topic without it? I vaguely remembered something from William Carlos Williams about him eating all the plums in the refrigerator and how delicious they were but I couldn’t remember the title or first line so in the three volume collection I found nothing but an empty bowl where the plums used to be. But just Google “plums and Williams” and voila. And I’m not supposed to use a tool like that? But still I felt cheap and besides the poem mentions breakfast, not lunch. Randy kept eyeing me coldly and swirling that damn cube menacingly. I knew he was circling in for the kill. Why did I ever think this was going to work. “Well, I guess if you’re desperate,” he continued, “you could write about me. I’m interesting.” And he bit down so hard on the cube it sounded as if he were crushing his own teeth. Then he smiled icily.

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