Slumgullion Friday

“I had a missed call. It’s probably the all you can eat buffet calling to say, “Come back! We know you can eat just a little bit more.”
Jarod Kintz,

As I get older, I find that great gulps of life do me no good. Those days, hopefully, are behind me. When I go through the buffet line and everything looks appealing. So I sit down with my tray laden with strange gelatin salads, pale rolls, fish and chicken, a few vegetables to salve my conscience and then a large and luscious dessert. The latter always looks better than it tastes.

The gelatin salads are sort of like the “you are supposed to know a little bit about everything” reading that you do early on. From Confucius to confusion, on you go. There are colorful shreds of cabbage-like teachings that catch in your throat. A bit of Blavatsky, perhaps.

The pale rolls are the Sunday-School-like offerings from well-meaning but misguided teachers. You find their work in dusty used book shops, more than likely. You gamely choke them down because they were a bargain. And at this point, enlightenment is the goal.

The fish and chicken offer more substance, but often there is a dismal gravy on top that you have to push aside to get to the meat. These are getting closer to the truth but are still not something designed especially for your palate.

You look around the cafeteria. Everyone is just like you. A little disappointed that what they selected promised more than it delivered. But cafeteria eaters never return dishes to the kitchen. They understand that this is a generic offering they have purchased.

The dessert is often banana pudding with huge amounts of goo on top. You have already gotten full on the other courses, so you bravely eat a bite or two and then push back from the table.

Sometimes there may be a server with a hairnet and a ladle and a twinkle in her eye. She may tip you off to something. “The food you have in your own pantry probably tastes better than this.” Occasionally, this server takes the trouble to come to you in a dream. You wake up realizing that food for the soul has been offered.

This happened to me. I dreamt of going to the desert to find my food. It was served by a man who yelled at his eaters to be more discriminating about what they ate. He was there to fire the present staff and bring in a whole new crew. We were to eat what was put before us. We were told to line up and go quickly, taking what looked good and paying for the modest meal. Afterwards, we were told we had to wash dishes and do the shopping for the next meal. No one liked that idea.

Something else incredible happened. We found that we had been eating wax food; it wasn’t even real. Once we got rid of that, everything was delicious. Our pale faces got ruddier and our backs got stronger. This was a strange chef with a very strange staff.

I will stop here before you start asking questions and the chef discouraged that. He thought if you tasted the food, really tasted it, it would change your life.

Vicki Woodyard
Author, Bigger Than The Sky: A Radical Awakening

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