cheese etiquette
Home sweet home Latest site info Poetic stuff Serious stuff Funny stuff Topical stuff Alternative stuff Shakespearian stuff Musical stuff
  click here for a "printer friendly" version

A Grande Faux Pas by KJ Hannah Greenberg.


He pointed the brie. All else could have been forgiven if only my main squeeze had not made that serious faux pas of gobbling up the most select section of cheese served during the opening reception of The Congress for the Study of Language and Literature. After all, I was attending that conference not only to present my research on gender-bias talk in elevator use, but also to seek an editor’s blessing for my new book on discourse, e.g. on talk captured by the triflings of imaginary hedgehogs.

Most often, my beloved is more than heroic in our relationship. Consider, for instance, how skillfully he explained, during our courtship, his work on Keynesian Economics. For two hours, nightly, for a total of three weeks, he deconstructed the choicest bits of his research until I was able to succinctly explain why it is utilitarian for contemporary marketers to chase consumers otherwise stymied from obtaining their favorite goods and why saving money hurts currency’s value during recessions. Granted, few among our friends cared anything about effect demand or about the paradox of thrift, but their lack of concern made small difference to me or to my aficionado.

Also, take into account the way in which my man took charge of the children, who came quickly after we tied the knot, while I served as the keynote speaker at The 10th International Meeting for Fanciers of Rhetorical Forms. I was lecturing on the importance of academic departments funding dialectical pedagogy. My university paid my round-trip ticket. The professional organization paid for my hotel suite. My husband paid for my freedom.

At the time, my much-loved limited his frantic texting to less than two missives per hour. His topics included our oldest daughter’s declaration of squatters rights to our lone bathtub and her action’s consequence of filling our bedroom with snot-dripping, diaper-stinking, muddy children and the viability of transporting, via pillowcase, our rabbit to our vet. In my absence, our honey bunny, who had been living by caprice on our sun porch, rather than being contained within his pen, had swallowed a significant portion of our middle child’s bottle cap collection. In addition, I received a text about our second oldest offspring repeatedly shouting, all the way to the school bus, that he lived “in a house full of zombies who did not cry out for ‘braaains,’ but for ‘choooores,’ “ and a text about our youngest’s sudden aversion to food. When asked, by his dad, if he ate anything healthy for breakfast, our baby answered, “Yah, I drank water.”

Although the kids and our nearby neighbors were not entirely thrilled with the parental choices of my life partner, I was ecstatic. So delighted was I with the manner in which my collaborator herded our children while I was out that I arranged for his mother to watch them and for him to accompany me to the next meeting of The Society for the Study of Language and Literature. Had I been gifted with foresight, I would have reconsidered.

Our travel was uneventful. We even arrived early enough to revisit romance. In truth, the trouble really didn’t begin until the wine and cheese fest.

Those in the know realize that a wheel of brie ought to be sliced from the radius of the cheese rather than across the point. That way, all comers receive a roughly equal amount of skin and of the better, inner portion. Neanderthals, such as my spouse, however, while expert at abstractions about production, distribution, and consumption, operate with relatively few concrete directives when it comes to actually making use of comestibles. The mistake at the professional meeting was far worse than was his letting the children sup on hotdogs and chocolate eggs or than was his packing a picnic of warm beer and cold beet salad in honor of our anniversary.

Albeit, the semiologist from Cal Tech could be blamed; it was she who chose to sit next to the light of my life and who proceeded to pontificate on demographics west of the Rockies. That woman claimed that no real citizen will ever give a salt lick about the improved administration of goods and services. Accordingly, her flowing patter reduced my help opposite to a glazed autonotom. Her harangue, not my husband’s hand, was culpable for the curdled milk crime.

Nonetheless, an entire ballroom full of communication theorists and of teachers of neoconstructivist criticism, many of whom I had considered peers, were reduced to gasps and whispers when my husband gouged out his piece of cheese. Whereas it was me who ordinarily played the ponce, kissing up to deans, to publishers, and to anyone else who might keep my career flying, that night, I insisted that my darling apologize to a hall full of complete strangers.

To say he was miffed would be more than an understatement.

I tried to make amends for the hurt and embarrassment I caused him with offers of homemade chicken soup and of restaurant-supplied scrambled eggs. He coldly dismissed my tokens of atonement, stating that he would only agree to overlook my strong reaction to his relatively insignificant behavior if I accompanied him on a weekend road trip. He loves autumnal folk festivals. I like Bach, and occasionally, Rimsky-Korsakov.

Thus, it came to pass that during my Columbus Day Vacation Grandma again babysat. Grandma supervised the middle one’s tenth birthday party, swarming fire engines included, and took it upon herself to teach our children how to: fill the bathtub past the overflow point, coax Mr. Ears back into his pillowcase to get his stitches removed, use gutter speech, instead of anatomically correct phrases to describe bodily functions, and count her cookies as proper nutrition.

If the opportunity ever comes again to bring my sweetheart with me to an academic conference, I’ll leave him home. In the privacy of our residence, he can cut the cheddar in any way his heart desires and Bunny can watch.



Rate this story.

Copyright is reserved by the author. Please do not reproduce any part of this article without consent.


© Winamop 2012