While a well-tended yard suggests tranquility to the casual observer, the homeowner sees it as a battlefield. Devilish weeds grow freely in the dusty cracks of the front walk, even when there is no rain; behind the garage, where past owners have dumped chunky remnants of a front stoop from the 1950s, an evil plant of some thorny variety slumbers in the cooler months, then springs to life in June and grows barbed tentacles to tear at the skin around your ankles; in the vegetable garden, an aptly named “yucca plant” emerges each year to vie for real estate with the tomatoes, despite regular attempts to evict it with a spade.
With last week’s bombings and firefights still fresh in the mind, the battle-weary gardener inside me was happy to encounter the sight of daffodils sprouting at Pinebanks Field in Jamaica Plain in the shape of a peace sign. Pretty and uplifting, this small gesture by some unknown volunteer(s) reminds me to enjoy the relative calm, if only for long enough to snap a picture before continuing on my bike ride to work.
To the average observer, this will appear to be a tasting competition intended to market tomatoey condiment; only true sophisticates will realize it is actual art! The plan is to design pairs of glass cylinders 40 feet high, filling one tube of each with ketchup, and the other with catsup. I’m thinking about 1,500 or so pairs. At precisely the same moment each hour, the cylinders will expel exactly one ounce of ketchup and one ounce of catsup. Precision here is a must! The tubes are 40 feet high and contain exactly 1,440 ounces of ketchup, and 1,440 of catsup. This means each pair of cylinders can expel their product in exact one-ounce increments, 24 hours a day, for exactly 60 days. (Hence the need for precision).
Visitors to the interactive art piece, which is going to start on February 1st of 2016 (a leap year) and end on March 31st, will have the opportunity to sample the expelled condiment. They can choose to taste the product using either little compostable plastic spoons that I will design, or an artisanal cracker (which I will also design). Then, they’ll be asked a series of questions by a computer program that reads facial expressions and selects from a bank of questions (“Which do you prefer, the ketchup or the catsup?”; “Which has better color?”; “Did it occur to you that we might have poisoned the condiment for the sake of art?”, and so forth.)
First task: Get cracker designing software. Either that, or design cracker designing software. Without the right software, I’ll have to design a cracker using graph paper, which isn’t easy to do. Next, I’ll need a large hangar in which to present the work. I’m determined to do this over the course of the specific two months of February and March, 2016. Look, I’ve already done the math for 40 foot high tubes that contain 1,440 ounces of condiment and don’t want to do more math because the cylinders can only be 10 feet high or something.
Finally, I’ll need to acquire a large supply of condiment.
Like everyone else, I’ve been poked and prodded enough en route to departure gates to know that reasonably good security is not always fun. I submit to the indignities, as most of us do, with a stiff upper lip, understanding that the experience is a “necessary” part of the (already) unhappy flying experience, given some possible gruesome alternatives. Passing through the turnstiles at Foxboro to attend an AFC Championship game last January meant similarly inelegant searches of my body. But football fans are a notoriously physical bunch, and I agree they should be kept unarmed.
Passing through the gates at Fenway Park, by comparison, is a little like strolling into church. Oh, sure, if I have a backpack someone might peek into it meekly, but no one really rolls up their sleeves and puts effort into the task. Now that post-marathon Boston is upon us, one expects bags to get scrutinized more closely before Red Sox games. An unhappy but obviously necessary development. I hope we humans eventually evolve to the point when all the extra attention paid to our bags and pockets becomes an unnecessary waste of everyone’s time.
One way I think I might promote my mustard reviews, when they start to happen, is to produce a talk show in which I serve as host and chat with some of the world’s greatest luminaries and pop stars about mustard. Unlike all those unimaginative talk shows out there (Fresh Air, On Point), my talk show would never deviate from this one, key subject. The unwillingness on my part to compromise in order to get anything not done will ensure that I become (eventually) the darling of some quirky political group that emerges from the woods of Vermont, where I will own a house purchased with money that I will have made by selling ads alongside my mustard reviews (again, when I start to write them).
Can you imagine talking mustard with Beyoncé? How about Mikhail Gorbachev? I can and often do. I’ve imagined myself talking mustard with so many huge celebrities that I quickly become a celebrity myself, dressing in outfits that are various shades of mustard when I show up at world premieres (yes, even a mustard tuxedo!). And the jobs that will be created in the mustard industry as a result of people looking at the humble seed (“the seed that could”) in a new light will blow away anything we’ve seen in virtually any other sector of the market.
Now you tell me that you have a better plan for personal economic growth than this.