TBT: Bologna

When you’ve been blogging daily for over 500 days, you sometimes get writer’s block—or just don’t have anything interesting to say.  It’s rare, as there’s almost always something happening that ticks me off.  But as I’ve noted, in The Age of The Virus, it’s a more common occurrence.

Think about it:  politics right now boils down to the media misreporting President Trump’s statements about The Virus, and to the question “should we reopen or stay closed” (the correct answer:  reopen)?  There are no major cultural events.  In general, it’s a bit of a blogging malaise.

A wise woman, fellow blogger Bette Cox, once advised me to write when I had something to say, not just merely for the purpose of churning out content or to meet an arbitrary daily counter.  She probably has a point, but in my youthful impudence, I’ve ignored her and have slammed out post after post, some good, some terrible, and a few truly great.

This week’s TBT is one of those posts that grew out of a need to publish something to keep my WordPress daily streak counter going (there are days where I feel enslaved to that arbitrary computer counter, which is really just me being enslaved to my own expectations).  It’s a test of a writer, though, to see if one can turn straw into gold—or, in this case, bologna into filet mignon.

You be the judge—did my ode to America’s lunch meat rise to the level of blog-worthiness (keeping in mind that the bar for blogging is pretty low)?  Or is it just cold cuts twisting in the wind?

Regardless, here is December 2019’s “Bologna“:

The long national nightmare is over.  No, not the impeachment farce; it’s the end of the semester!  Grades are in the books, work is done, and teachers and students are heading out for two weeks of glorious Christmas Break.

It’s been an eventful week.  As the House was fulminating about Trump’s alleged “crimes,” I was playing a gig with our community jazz band.  I play second alto sax with the group, but I asked to sing a song on this concert.

It’s long been a dream of mine to sing with a full jazz swing band behind me, and that dream came true Wednesday evening.  I sang Andy Williams’s “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” and was a nervous wreck (if you’ve seen the lyrics to that tune, you’ll understand why—what a mouthful!).  But I got through it admirably enough, even with a low-grade sinus infection.

The gig was during the dinner hour at a large church in town.  The first alto player indicated how hungry he was, and wondered if he could get a plate.  I told him (unhelpfully) that I’d eaten a bologna sandwich in my car before coming in (which sounds like a joke and/or the most mundane, pathetic detail in the world, but it was true).  All the old guys in the band—it’s a swing band, so there are a lot of them—expressed their enthusiasm for bologna sandwiches, and asked how it was prepared:  did I use mustard?  “Nope, Duke’s mayonnaise, with cheese.”  Murmurs of approval followed.

I am a great lover of bologna.  My brothers still express frustration that, as a child, I would often opine that on Sunday nights, I would rather go home and eat a bologna sandwich than go out to eat (eating out was a rarity in those days)—thus undermining their cause to eat a deliciously fatty meal at, say, Shoney’s (rest in peace).  It’s probably terrible for you—all the reject parts of the Big Three sandwich meat animals (beef, pork, and chicken) rolled into one beautiful, red plastic-lined disc of processed flavor (one of my students called it a “hot dog pancake”)—but with a slice of American cheese and some mustard or mayonnaise, it’s delicious.

My students hate bologna, and tend to express disgust if they discover I’ve been eating it.  I can only assume that, living in more prosperous times, they’re used to eating lunches full of kale and couscous, and deli-cut meat from a high-end grocer’s counter.  Material wealth has robbed them of the opportunity to enjoy an American staple.

My older bandmates’ reactions were telling.  They were all quite wistful about their childhood bologna sandwiches, probably back in those high-trust times when children who looked and talked like each other and lived near their extended families ran around barefoot in fields and neighborhoods until the sun went down.  Most of them look to be in better shape than me, and they grew up eating processed reject meat.

Being on a tight budget, bologna is a godsend.  It’s cheap (around $1.50 for twelve slices of Gwaltney at the local Piggly Wiggly) and filling.  It’s great fried with an egg for breakfast, or slathered in Duke’s on white bread at lunch.

All quite different from the congressional bologna served up earlier this week.  Talk about a bunch of overstuffed, fake trash.  I bet Nancy Pelosi would faint if someone asked her to eat a bologna sandwich.  GEOTUS Trump—a lover of fast food, and fit as a fiddle—would chow down with workmen on a construction site, no questions asked.

America should be for the bologna eaters, God bless ’em.  It’s the meat of the workingman.  Kale only ever brought anyone misery.


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