Celebrating My Independence From Happiness and Peace of Mind
Ordinarily, the 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays because it, along with Memorial Day and Labor Day, is one of the potato salad holidays. It is actually my least favorite of the potato salad holidays, owing secondarily to the firework noise and primarily to the glut of Lost Pet posters that spring up in the wake of the firework noise, but in the words of one of our founding fathers,
When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary to choose between potato salad and no potato salad, the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God compel one to choose potato salad. We hold these truths to be self-evident. Nom nom nom.
– John Hancock
I’m fairly certain that Hancock was the kind of guy who, at holiday gatherings, ate more than his share of potato salad, although the historical record is silent on this point.
Anyway. I usually enjoy the 4th, is my point. This year my plans were as follows:
- Spend the afternoon of the 3rd making potato salad
- On the afternoon of the 4th, take potato salad to friend’s house
- John Hancock the potato salad at friend’s house
- Leave friend’s house early; come home and eat potato salad
Because this is America, that’s why.
However, it became apparent early on in the run-up to the third greatest potato salad holiday of 2013 that things would not go as planned.
July 3, 12:30 PM
I began making the potato salad (YAY) and got as far as chilling the potatoes when the phone rang (BOO). I ignored the phone. The phone rang again. I ignored the phone. The phone rang again. FINE. I answered the phone and spent the next hour and a half talking to one of my East Coast cousins who I only talk to about once a year and who every year slips further and further into mental illness.
July 3, 2:00 PM
I finish making the potato salad and try not to think about the person my cousin used to be, and who she is now, and who she will be next year or in five years or in ten years if she lives that long. I also did that thing where you hold your eyes open really wide and don’t blink for like, an hour, because if you do, you will cry in the potato salad and have to throw it out and go to the store to buy more potatoes.
July 4, shortly after midnight
I was walking through a parking lot alone. I saw two women I hadn’t seen in 15 years and they said, “don’t let him see you.” Just then I saw a car that looked like this:
except it was pink, had tinted windows, was filled with smoke, and was being driven by Satan. Oh. I was having a nightmare. I guess I should have mentioned that. Satan gets out, and it turns out Satan is the lawyer I worked for in my first job out of law school. He says, “MWAH HAH HAH!” and I start to run, but because I am barefoot and he is wearing Ferragamo shoes on his cloven hooves (he’s evil, but dresses really well), I know he’s going to catch me. I woke up before he caught up to me, and I decided to stay awake just in case dreams are real and I really did work for Satan 15 years ago and now he was back to claim my soul and take it with him to back to hell (or San Bruno, which is similar in many ways), and you would too if you’d ever worked for this guy. OH HELL NO. I just looked him up on the State Bar website and he’s a judge now. That is so very wrong, I can’t even tell you how much.
July 4, 11:00 AM
I went out to the alley to bring in the trash can and compost bin after the collection trucks went through. Hey, things are looking up. Not only did they not delay trash collection because of the holiday, they actually got here early for once. It’s a Potato Salad Nation’s Birthday Miracle!
When I looked inside the compost bin I saw … maggots. There were maggots in the compost bin. Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
Some combination of food waste and the recent heat wave and me evidently shutting a fly in the bin at some point created this most disgusting turn of events.
So I spent the next, I don’t know, two hours maybe, spraying insecticide in the bin, waiting for the maggots to die, drowning their little maggoty corpses, dumping out the water in the alley behind my neighbor’s house (WHAT? He flicks cigarette butts into my yard! I owe him nothing!), filling up the bin with soapy water, dumping out the soapy water, staring fearfully into the bottom of the bin, lather, rinse, repeat. I’m sure I appeared quite insane, but I don’t care because gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
Then I threw away my gloves, came inside, showered, washed my hair, washed the clothes I’d been wearing, and ran a bleach and hot water cycle through the washing machine because gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
Thus, I am not feeling very festive. I’ve decided to stay home, and in fact I might not even eat any potato salad today, so I think you see how serious this is oh who am I kidding, I will eat that potato salad until I have a chive and mayonnaise headache and we all know it. Potato salad makes everything better. Or, as another of our founding fathers stated,
Where potato salad dwells, there is my country.
– Benjamin Franklin