Friday, October 19, 2007
The body comes in layers. I've written here and at least one other venue about the need for surgeons to find the planes between those layers, and to work within them. Having used the technique to prolong a few lives over the years, I can now say I've done it to prolong my own.
My wife is the oldest of nine siblings, all of whom live within (amplified) shouting distance of Puget Sound; and their parents do, too. Family gatherings are frequent, and for special occasions (which occur only once or twice a week) the entire clan collects at my in-laws' place, the northernmost homestead, nestled dramatically at the water's edge (of a lake, not the Sound). This weekend, the raison d'etre is their mother's eightieth birthday. Hilarity, lubricated and well-fed, will undoubtedly ensue. A damper has been narrowly avoided.
It was delegated to me to pick up the special-ordered cake, produced in a fabled Danish bakery in Seattle; and I did. I'll accept only part of the blame: the guy who handed me the cake, and the extra goodies I free-lanced, did so with the after-mentioned goodies piled on the cake-box. His fault. But I failed to compute the danger. My wife, when I got home, looked stricken as she surveyed the stack, and the tell-tale stains on the boxtop when I removed the bags. Frail flimsy frosting flowers, flattened. F-f-f-fuck.
Ready to drive the twenty-five miles back to the bakery to convince them that their shared blame should occasion the re-frosting of the flowers, I figured I should at least attempt a cure. So, taking a nice little knife in hand, I tried to discern the now-distorted layers of faux petals, using my most well-learned control to turn the blade within the flowers, recreating a sense of the smashed strata of pinks and blues and yellows.
It turned out OK. Not, I admit, perfect. But judged acceptable by my wife. As I've said about surgery, second go-arounds are rarely as good as something done well the first time. Even when working in layers.