Posted by: stillironic | February 1, 2010

Let Me Set the Record Straight—14

American Cheese

Finding out the truth about Sitcom meant no legitimate group of people saw what Smarts wrote and declared it a fit story to be told. Smarts did it all on his own. There was no “they”—the ubiquitous they—involved in marketing or distributing the book. Smarts must have driven all the way to the Altoona bookstore himself. The manager probably only let him leave one or two copies, so as not to clutter up the place.

That also meant there was no Ms. Orange, who I’d grown fond of, even wondering how she pronounced her name: was it the one-syllable “ornje” like we say in Western P A or the two-syllable “arinje” like they say farther east. No doubt it was “arinje,” because after all most of your editorial types live in New York. Unless, of course, she was born in ornje-speaking territory and had decided to fake an arinje-territory accent, the skinny-butted phony.

So here I am behind the Giant Eagle deli counter, slicing your various lunchmeats and brick cheeses. A customer orders American cheese and I tell her, like I tell everyone who orders it, she should know American isn’t really made from cheese. It’s a cheese product. My manager doesn’t like me to say things like this to customers, but he hates American cheese, too. Customers have all sorts of responses, “it’s my favorite cheese” and “whatever” being the most common.

Smarts is an American cheese man. Buying it is an act of patriotism, he’s said. Personally, I wouldn’t feed it to a dog. He orders it along with jumbo bologna, sliced thin. He tried to get me into an argument the other day when he came into the store. He said I see the glass as half empty. I asked him what was in the glass.

The End

© 2010 by Virginia Gerhart


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