Often, Dave F. Oliveria over at Huckleberries Online features lists that Angela at Happy Lists composes. Her blog is a lot of fun. Go over, click around, and see if you find her lists both charming and helpful.
Friday night I was driving home from Three Rivers Casino. I ate at the fish buffet, which I enjoyed a lot, especially the breaded shrimp, razor clams, and scallops. I realized that I have this idea in my head that people with good taste or people with class would sneer at the idea of eating breaded fish. It made me think further that a lot of things that people with good taste and class sneer at make me happy. As I drove home, I started composing a list in my head.
In no particular order, here is a happy list of a dozen things I enjoy, but that I hear people who have class and good taste sneer at:
1. Chewing tobacco. I chew tobacco in spurts. I go long periods of time without chewing tobacco. I know it's bad for my teeth, gums, blood pressure, and general hygiene. But when I'm on a chewing tobacco jag, it's a rich pleasure as I dip and tuck a pinch of Skoal Straight Long Cut between my lip and gum and enjoy the strong taste and the sensation of my salivary glands kicking into overdrive.
2. U.S. brewed macro-brewed lager beers. I don't drink much anymore. Alcohol seriously elevates my blood pressure, putting my already seriously compromised kidneys in more peril. When I did drink beer, though, I tried and enjoyed the whole range of ales, but eventually I realized that my fullest pleasure came from drinking Olympia, Budweiser, Miller, Pabst, Ranier, Coors, or any of the other mass produced American lagers. The reason was simple. I had a history with the taste of these beers. The smell and taste of these macro-lagers made the present more enjoyable by taking me back to my drinking days in Kellogg and Coeur d'Alene and Spokane, to poker games, nights of laughter and pool at the Kopper Keg and Jeckyll and Hydes or the Viking. The microbrewed ales held no history for me. All they did was taste good.
3. Coffee brewed at 7-11, gasoline filling station markets, casinos, and Denny's/Shari's/Perkins as well as coffee made from can brands like MJB, Folgers, Yuban as well as instant coffee. When it comes to coffee, my stance is very simple. I enjoy all kinds of coffee and I make a concerted effort to keep drinking cheap, mass produced coffee so that I'm never in a situation where I have to turn down a cup of coffee because it's not good enough for me. Consequently, I enjoy drinking coffee in the Silver Valley at Johnny's Bar or at my mother's house or at the Exxon in Kingston and can enjoy a cup of coffee anywhere on the road. I don't have to wait to find a Starbucks or any other premium coffee shop. I love it all, as long as I can throw some milk, cream, or powder in it.
4. Zip's. I long for Zips down here in Eugene. When I drive home to Kellogg, my first chance to get some Zips food is the Tri-Cities . Most often I go to the Zips at Ritzville. One of my favorite coffee mugs at home is my Zips mug. I'm not sure what it is. Maybe it's knowing that when the Deke was an undergraduate at Eastern Washington University, she read Moliere at the Zips in Cheney and that combination is so perfect to me that every visit to Zips is like making my way through Tartuffe, if only in my imagination.
5. Journey, Toto, Phil Collins/Genesis, Rare Earth, Huey Lewis, "Free Electric Band", Grand Funk Railroad, and any number of bands and songs I've read/heard snide comments made about in the last week or so. I love all the A-list bands from thirty to forty years ago. I love Led Zeppelin. I love the Rolling Stones. All of them. But as the seventies grew into the eighties, my best memories of stuff I enjoyed doing when the radio was on are not necessarily attached to the A-list bands. So, when I hear "Stop Can't Believin'", I have a complex of feelings and memories rise up in me that kicks "Black Dog" 's ass.
6. Slot machines. I enjoy the suspense. I like the visuals. I enjoy the noise. I like the random gratification. I enjoy being in the company of others who play slot machines. A great majority of the people playing slot machines are having fun, often with a spouse or a boy/girl friend, and the spirit of the place, to me, is good. I enjoy free pop and coffee. I enjoy how friendly the casino employees are and when I get hungry, I enjoy the food. Casinos and slot machines work for me. They take me out of my usual day to day world of essays, literature, films, serious questions, critical thinking, and evaluating student work and give me a chance to escape in a way I delight in.
7. Albertson's Doughnut Holes. I really like doughnuts. Period. I try to regulate myself, but the sugary and doughy pleasure of doughnut holes and scones and cinnamon rolls often give my day an uplift, especially in the morning.
8. Nalley's Chili. I love Nalley's original chili with a whole sleeve of saltine crackers; I often use the cracker instead of a spoon to lift the chili to my mouth. I limit myself, but on those occasions when I treat myself to Nalley's Chili, especially accompanied by a glass of cold milk, it's bliss.
9. Carlo Rossi Sangria Wine. Because I've almost totally quit drinking, it's been a while since I've treated myself to the inexpensive, fruity pleasure of Carlo Rossi's Sangria wine, but I used to sit at the counter in the kitchen, put "The Best of Neil Diamond" on the cd player, drink glass after glass of Sangria, sing along with Neil and expound about Neil Diamond's genius to anyone who would listen. Usually it was only me!
10. Albertson's Brand Sharp Cheddar Cheese. I've bought sharp cheddar cheese from Vermont and England, cheeses that were aged for multiple years, and liked them. But if I'm going to eat some cheap salami on a hunk of cheap baguette with French's yellow mustard, my preference for cheese is Albertson's sharp cheddar. Washed down with Diet Pepsi, it's like eating out of my dinner bucket at the Zinc Plant cell room again.
11. Taco Bell: Two Chalupas and One Taco Combo Meal plus an Extra Taco and a Diet Pepsi. I only indulge occasionally in this wonderful combo, but if I need a quick food fix or if I've been in a play and it's after midnight and I've got the munchies, nothing satisfies me like this combo meal at Taco Bell. It can be a good pick me up meal before rehearsal, too!
12. Meatloaf and Canned Green Beans. In August of 1998, the Deke and Molly and Patrick and I rolled into Blue Springs, Missouri. Right next to the Motel 6 where we had reservations was a Bob Evans restaurant and I was tired and hot after driving all the way to Blue Springs from Denver that day, and I ordered meat loaf and green beans and a Coke with a wedge of lemon and my love for meatloaf which had lain dormant for years was awakened. I love all meatloafs. I request meatloaf and canned green beans every year for my birthday dinner. Sometimes the Deke gets really good meat and that's great; sometimes the meatloaf is made from Yoke's discount ground beef and that's great, too. I just love meatloaf.
Jeez, that reminds me. I love the singer Meatloaf, too. Maybe for my next birthday I'll have a meatloaf dinner and have "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad" playing in the background!