Too Cheesy to Fail


I know I am, but what are you?

Sculptress Gretel Muffet lived in an artists loft in the NoHo section of New York City; an area so named for its complete lack of prostitution. An ardent soul possessing more self-confidence than she really needed, Gretel usually looked to her grandfather Peter Muffet for guidance. Peter was one of those proud old WWII veterans who refused to discuss his war time experiences even though he merely served stateside as a baker. With this kind of role model it’s easy to account for her occasional absurdity. She was crazy about the old coot and whenever anyone asked why she revered her grandfather she’d sigh, “Oh for the love of Pete.”

Gretel was the first to admit she wasn’t very tightly wrapped. After all, she believed restrooms should be segregated not by gender, but by the concavity of one’s belly button. In her world all restroom doors would be marked either Innie or Outie. “Compliance,” Gretel averred, “would be verified with electronic navel readers so you’re either in or you’re out.” Her friends quietly agreed with her while smugly thinking, “Doesn’t this whack job know that nature has already predetermined who’s an Innie and who’s an Outie?”

And Now the Story Really Begins

Gretel Muffet sculpted primarily in Play-Doh and, when she could afford it, Silly Putty. Her sculptures were usually skewed versions of New York City landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, or Woody Allen. She had a talent for self-promotion and was developing a reputation as a singular sensation whose spectacularly mundane creations begat counterculture celebrity much in the style of Andy Warhol and his everyday soup cans. A buzz was developing about Ms. Muffet and it wasn’t ganja-induced. Recently she had sold 2 pieces of work to patrons of dubious sincerity. One piece was currently being used as a door stop and the other was purchased by a Wall Street financier as a ploy to gain access to Gretel’s Innie. She saw right through his scheme when in the memo section of his check he wrote “Occupy Gretel.” Despite her avant garde tendencies, all she really wanted was to love, and to be loved. Not such an outlier after all. Yeah, she was all that and then some. 

{Tell the readers why they should care about Gretel. Yeah I know. Hey, can we leave my inner dialogue out of this. Some things are better left unknown. Like how much rat feces is in your hot dog. Perhaps I’ve said too much already. Back to Gretel fast…}

Never a friend of Big Oil to begin with, Gretel was opposed to fracking on environmental grounds, and yet she was completely on board with Horizontal Drilling stating, “Horizontal drilling is my all-time favorite thing to do.” Having worked hard to gain the mantle of a starving artist she strove dearly to maintain it. In fact sometimes after several regular meals she would skip a few just to legitimize her status. No stranger to hunger pangs, Gretel shared her Bohemian loft with at least 2-4 cats that rotated through her loft on an eerily regular basis. She had one name for all of them – “livestock.” She dressed herself in vintage clothing which she referred to simply as “clothing.” Her attraction to bodily concavities led to a side business where she sold armpit hair extensions on the internet – mostly to French women.

 {I still don’t care about her. She’s just a mass of symptoms. I’m working on it if only you’d stop interfering. What if I created tension with an “evening in question” conceit?}

And Now the Story Really Unfolds

On the evening in question she had dined out at her favorite Argentinian restaurant “The Pampas Ass.” Taking her usual seat at the bus stop just outside the restaurant, she asked a patron who was leaving if she could, “Please have your doggy bag?” The diner surrendered the bag to this retro-vision wearing a taffeta hoop skirt, halter top and saddle shoes. After devouring the donation and rounding up a few cats, she went straight home and right to sleep with a belly full of pre-owned Empanada de Espinaca Y Queso. On the evening in question this usually soporific comfort food somehow produced a terrifyingly cheesy nightmare causing Gretel to rocket bolt upright from her futon and pierce the night with a milk-curdling scream. Her dream catchers swung wildly; her Che Guevara poster was suddenly wide-eyed and even the livestock meowed in their pens.

In the dream on the evening in question {Alright, we get it…the evening in question…enough!} a cash strapped New York City has been forced to raise revenue by selling corporate sponsorships to its historic landmarks. Partnering with the American Cheese Council does reduce the deficit but at what cost? At    what    cost     Mr. Spock?  Every significant landmark had been co-opted by the agenda of its over lording benefactor – The American Cheese Council or EVIL (if you used the Portuguese acronym and then rearranged the letters to spell EVIL). A look of terror crept over Gretel’s sensitive face as she rifled through the museum section of “KRAFT’s Guide to NYC Landmarks.” Its once proud municipal showplaces now renamed and reduced to the horrific inconsequentiality of their malefactor’s capitalist agenda (nice overstatement if I do say so myself). As she read aloud from the perverted guide book, the words haltingly emerged from her trembling lips in utter disbelief; “The Statue of Limburgerty, OMG. The Empire Cheese Building, LOL it’s so evil.  The Goudaheim Museum, WTH^Nl$F.” (Author has no idea what this internet slang means but he’s sure it’s not good).

As the dream continued on the night I’m referring to, Gretel soothed her jangled nerves by taking a dip in one of the many community fondues the American Cheese Council had now thoughtfully provided NYC citizens. She emerged from the pot refreshed and thinly coated in a lustrous mozzarella. Suddenly she felt very differently about her betters and stopped sculpting in Play Doh and began working in a new medium – pure creamery butter. She had taken a journey and vowed that instead of minding the new cheesy landscape she would embrace it and little Miss Muffet would begin minding her curds and whey. That was all well and good and the dream seemed to resolve itself when along came a spider who sat down beside her. Usually the spider would frighten her away but emboldened by the protective coating of the American Cheese Council’s fondue pot she turned to the spider and huffed, “Honey Badger ain’t scared a no spider.” This caused the once menacing spider to dejectedly crawl away with drooping antennae and to go surf the web. Yes, all this happened on the night I’m referring to.

{All you did was change  ‘the evening in question” to “the night I’m referring to.” You’re 50 years old. You can’t be cute anymore. Also, I’m beginning to question your sanity.  After all, didn’t you once tell me your favorite geometric shape was the Slit.      Yo, Ixna on the iticismscra! Not in front of the readers. Can we do this in private?}

What’s the World Coming to? A Conclusion Hopefully

In the morning light Gretel poured herself a cup of curdled milk, spit it out and then reflected on her dream. It would inform her decisions from now on. No longer would her life be a Public Works Project surrounded by bright orange cones. The cats were freed, her wardrobe was replaced with the latest from Ross Dress for Less and she reentered the mainstream without sacrificing her “Jenny from the ‘hood” credentials. From now on she would put others at the center of her existence and lose her studied affectations. In this way she would gain everything. And in time her peculiar mannerisms began to melt away and her penchant for self promotion dissolved into a graciously inexplicable faith; prompting one to conclude they should never underestimate the power of cheese.

{OK. Now that’s an ending I can live with. But it still begs the question: If the FDA allows for a certain amount of mouse droppings in food, how did they determine how much is too much?    Oh for the love of Pete.}

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