the butter quote
(originally posted 9/4/2020)
Butter is almost impossible to get off of you.
No matter how many times you wipe,
there is still a film left behind.
It’s like, if it gets on you, ironically enough, you’re toast.
I know. Brilliant.
“How does it he do it?” you must ask yourself from time to time. The endless flood of brilliant quotes and observations. “Where does it all come from, and why can’t I come up with this stuff?”
Beware of what you ask for.
In order to answer your question, allow me to give you a behind-the-scenes look at my creative process. A step-by-step recap of how a brilliant quote is created. One minute it doesn’t exist, the next it is pulled from the abyss into being.
It should serve as a warning the next time you wish your mind worked like mine.
Actually, just this preamble should be enough… but I said I’d share, so share I will.
Imagine a kitchen in Anytown, USA. In that kitchen is a man doing dishes. A rugged man. A handsome man.
Ok, maybe not entirely handsome, but from the right angle… not entirely unhandsome. Either way, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that the meal that proceeded the dish washing endeavor included corn on the cob. And that corn on the cob included butter. Lots of butter. Butter that ended up on those very same dishes. Butter that ended up on the hands of the rugged and not entirely unhandsome man.
He tried to wash it off. It didn’t wash off. Butter is funny like that. If you think stubborn foods are funny.
The rugged man did not.
In case you’re wondering, I am the rugged man. I just wanted to make sure you were clear on that. I could see a scenario where you are totally lost. “I thought he was going to share a personal experience and here he is talking about a rugged man” and then I can hear you asking yourself. “Do rugged men do dishes?”
Of course they do! Honestly I didn’t even see that question coming. I thought I had an enlightened readership and yet you come out with something like that.
I’m prepared to forgive you though. Just as you forgive me when my stories ramble a bit. Or a lot.
How else do rugged men’s dishes get clean? Do you assume that rugged men have rugged dishes? And by rugged I mean covered in mold and stuck-on food particles.
“Holy crap!” I/rugged man exclaimed. “I can’t get this shit off of my hands.” (the very not-rugged butter)
I tried hot water and then hotter water and then water that was no more than steam and would take the paint off of a tricycle to no avail. I tried paper towel and then I tried my shirt and then I tried a dish towel, which I can only guess is made of material scientifically engineered to remove stuff from hands, all to no avail.
Finally, frustrated beyond words, I screamed “What the fuck is with butter?! What in the Land of Lakes is going on? Why won’t it come off my hands? What am I… toast?”
Even as the words left my mouth I realized I’d blindly stumbled, in my unexpected outrage, on brilliance. If anyone else had been in the kitchen their jaws would have dropped in appreciation of the moment, so I let mine drop three times further than usual. My mind felt like a freshly-blown nose. The steel had been poured, the only thing left to do was apply the hammer and tongs of editing (full disclosure; I originally typed thongs, which led to an image of an enormous sweaty blacksmith standing at his anvil clad in nothing but. Leopard print. Given the sweltering heat of a furnace I’m surprised more of them don’t choose this option).
I knew I had to capture this profound thought (the quote, not the blacksmith in a thong) before it disappeared, but when I went to grab a pen it flew out of my hands.
The god-damned butter.
It got all over the paper I tried to write on. It got all over the keyboard of my computer when I tried to type. I wondered aloud why people say things are ‘butter’ when they find them easy. I wondered aloud if next time I eat corn on the cob I should forego the butter. I wondered aloud if “My mind felt like a freshly-blown nose” was a far better quote.
Still wish your mind worked like mine?
I thought not.