Wistful, Hazy Pleasures

Just as our plight seems endless, fall winks at us

I got a carton of eggs for a buck the other day.

Ponder that a moment. I mean, how do chickens do that, squeeze out a dozen eggs at those prices, when I can barely afford a car?

They weren’t jumbo, but they were really nice eggs — $1 a dozen, 8 cents apiece. Wasn’t so long ago you couldn’t even find eggs.

California was about to price me out when this egg purchase came along. John and Ellen, two of our favorite neighbors, just sold their handsome little hut for $1.2 million.

That’s insane. You smile, and praise God for the equity, but what’s the trade-off? Your hard-working kids can’t get into the market, your niece flees to more-affordable Chicago. Will they follow?

In rare moments of contemplation, I think to myself: “If my daughters ever move away, I’ll be toast. Who’ll re-fill my gin glass? Will Smartacus change my diaper?”

Probably not.

Then along comes these eggs, 12 for a buck, reminding us that the world is still full of little miracles. Maybe the best miracles are small and you just have to string them like pearls? Maybe that’s how you cobble together a worthy life? Maybe that’s the best equity of all.

Weird week, and we’ve cobbled together a few of those as well. On Tuesday I wondered (on Twitter) how we have little problem sending 18-year-olds off to fight ridiculous wars, in obscure deserts, yet we won’t send them out to play college football in carefully controlled environments where they will be mommied the entire way.

Just an observation. Just pointing out an odd double-standard.

Twitter is so cute when it’s mad. You can throw followers into a white-hot rage just by suggesting nectarines are superior to plums.

Relax already.

Besides, note that the sweaty and slobbery NBA is getting by just fine, without a single COVID case. And truthfully, if COVID were so fiendishly lethal, no grocery workers would be left standing.

Maybe we don’t need to approach everything like fretful kitties.

That’s my two cents, which is probably worth a penny. I never said I was Socrates.

Then Angie Dickinson proposed, which was nice. It’s been a long courtship, yet we hadn’t chatted in a while. When I called, she was watching “Perry Mason.”

“Hold on a second while I turn up the sound,” she said.

Such a wise guy.

We talked about my recent road trip, and visiting the Grand Tetons.

I said, “Angie, if anyone knows about the grandness of Tetons it’s you,” since she vacations there every summer.

She laughed, because like everything I say, there was some sort of entendre involved — double or triple, I’m not so good at math.

Fortunately, Angie comes from a time when people laughed a little. She also knows, as George Will once put it, that “the world has sharp edges and abrasive surfaces,” which apparently is news to any cupcake under age 30.

Next thing I know, Angie offers to take me to the Grand Tetons for our honeymoon – “Two days, not four” – and I said, “Angie, is that a proposal? Let me think about…OK, I accept!”

So, obviously, my luck with women is turning a little (take that, No-Kiss Kelly!).

I am now loosely engaged to Angie Dickinson, a gorgeous bowl of big-screen butterscotch with a keen mind and a smart mouth, which has always been my fever dream. Late at night, in my deepest of sleeps, I’m Frank Sinatra.

Anyway, so that was my weird week, how was yours?

Twitter is so cute when it’s mad. You can throw followers into a white-hot rage just by suggesting nectarines are superior to plums #ChrisErskineLA #twitter #getalife

Meh? Listen, I’m tired of hearing how broken everything is.

We have baseball back, and it’s different but it’s there. And the NBA is about to enter the playoffs in fine form. No fans? So? Watching those rich dolts in the expensive floor seats used to bug me anyway.

I am also enjoying the early eps of “Hard Knocks,” HBO’s amazing documentary on NFL training camp, the presumption being there will be an NFL season. I can go a long way on a little hope. I mean, look at me and Angie, a relationship that started with cheeseburgers and fries.

“Oh, you’ve got to get a milkshake,” she said at the time. “They have the best milkshakes.”

Which is when my vision went hazy and love arrived. I was bewitched.

Point is, those NFL players are marching ahead, making the best of things, just as we mostly are.

Poke, diced tuna with pickled veggies, with fish from Neighbor Nick.

The week got even better. Neighbor Nick gifted us a couple of giant slabs of tuna. I made poke bowls – imagine that? Me, a good goy from the Middle West pickling cucumbers and dicing the tuna and adding some sriracha mayo and sesame seeds.

Will wonders never cease? I can make rice now! My son Smartacus even went back for seconds, and he never goes back for seconds (Like a cow, he has 10 stomachs. But they are tiny stomachs, and are mostly filled with burps and bubblegum).

And when I was buying those eggs the other day – 12 for a buck! – I noticed that the Halloween decorations were already up. Too soon? Too late? I can’t decide. These are ghoulish times, after all. And it’s the year of the mask.

In any case, I always get a slight buzz from seeing the first pumpkin of the season. Just as our plight seems endless, fall winks at us.

Even better, the toilet paper aisle at the supermarket was fully stocked.

If you squinted a little, it looked like a Lutheran wedding dress exploded. If you squinted a lot, you couldn’t see anything.

So don’t do that.

But in these weird and wacky times, if you squint just a little at the wonders all around us, you can still cobble together a decent day of tiny, wistful, hazy pleasures.

You can be bewitched.

21 thoughts on “Wistful, Hazy Pleasures

  1. My mind has been pushing you in Angie’s direction for ages, Chris. Besides, I’m saving Sela for myself.
    Jeff from La Mirada

  2. Cheap eggs, toilet paper bridal gowns, nectarines and lovely Angie. As usual, you’ve covered all the bases, Chris. I cannot wait for pumpkins either. Thanks for the Saturday smiles!

  3. You are such a delight… thanks for always brightening my day – you have pockets full of smiles, chuckles and belly laughs that you hand out to all of us sad souls regularly. Thanks!

  4. Geez… that excited about $1/dozen eggs? Those are typical Illinois prices – come back to your home state prodigal son (I would’ve kissed you goodnight.) 😉

  5. Mazletov Chris – Ms. Dickinson is a lucky girl (and a favorite of mine). Keep writing, a week without your wisdom is like being in a dark room with a spider. And, finally, where’d you get dem eggs?

  6. Hey Chris, I needed that. Just when we’re all exploding in anger on Facebook and all we have to talk about is what we saw on Netflix, I was wondering myself what it’s all about. Alfie? Then along comes your column. Thanks.

  7. You almost lost me there for a moment. My COVID spidey sense went all spidey. My daughter is a doctor and works in a well known hospital in our mutual area. COVID is real. It’s dangerous. We can all do our part so that those who do not have robust health as you do can live their days healthy and makes us a little wiser. I’m not saying Angie is elderly but if it means we nix the sports to keep her around to be your bride, then I’m all for it.

    1. Hello Sylvia, I think Chris was just expressing gratitude that sports are back in any form whatsoever. There are no in person fans at this point so I don’t think Angie or people like her (or me) are in much danger if we don’t nix sports altogether. We need a little joy in our lives, too, even during a pandemic.

  8. Stringing little miracles together like pearls….I am DEFINITELY holding onto that one! That is the only way through this mess. My grandsons hug around my neck, the ocean on a Wednesday, a great sandwich with crispy chips, a strong skinny margarita on a Friday night….all the little pearls….Thanks Chris…add your words onto my string of pearls!

  9. In the Yiddish book of made up truisms –a true Mid Western Goy would call himself a Mid Western Guy. What a difference a vowel makes

  10. Brightening my day twice a week is what I look forward to. Opps hanging preposition; don’t block me.

  11. I’ll try again, since my last missive-simply disappeared. You have always been about tiny ecstasies making up a lovely life, so it is no mystery that beauteous Angie finds you compelling and laughingly absorbing–you string together little pops of joy, so it is easy to become addictive to your brand of zeitgeist. Keep us sane, Chris, at a time when intimate, pervasive lethality is driving us the other way. And how I like your Tetonic intellect. If Love is in the air, anything is possible.
    –Forrest Gale

  12. Wow you and Pepper Anderson. Congrats! Thanks for the giggles and smiles. Always enjoy seeing life through your lens. I will try squinting this week.

  13. Happy Hot Days of Summer Chris.
    And hotter then “double toothpicks ” they are! Black outs and brownouts of electrical energy occurring the last two days. Ugh!
    However, the energy of your writing shines through. Bravo!
    It is enjoyable to read of your ” long time love affair” with Angie Dickinson. And noteworthy Angie was watching Perry Mason on TV when you called. I love that show myself!
    Bravo to Angie for having good taste.
    My best t you and your family during this COVID-19 time.

  14. I am always delighted by your writing and it feels like it comes from a really good friend. Real or imagined, Angie is one to love!

  15. I’m so glad to have found you again! It makes the l.a. times less unimportant…whatever that means! Welcome back into my life!

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