I’ll admit, before I walked into that plant-based, crispy-chicken-sandwich co-op, I was naïve—a pitiful ignoramus, even. Don’t get me wrong, I’d always been perfectly aware of lives (and the many different manifestations that said lives might take). I suppose my knowledge of various types of lives and their respective doings just lacked a certain specificity—the slightest of nuances—a je ne sais quoi.
On that fateful lunch-hour, coming-and-going out of that colorful eatery, I counted hundreds of varieties of lives: There were bent-over lives and fully erect lives—fabulous lives and dull, boring, drab lives. There were lives in heels and lives on wheels. There were lives with gaping holes in their earlobes and lives with faded knuckle tattoos. Also, there were roly-poly lives and skinny-as-a-rail lives. Hairy, bald, thin and thick lives; pasty, paltry, piggish and/or puppyish lives; rich, bitchy, snooty, snobbish, highfalutin lives and et cetera—lives galore—no shortage of them.
As I watched and pondered, astute observer I am, it occurred to me that I had once been aware of one specific classification of lives that fulfilled a highly specified function—but what sort of lives those were and what it was that they did exactly I just couldn’t quite put my finger on. I knew, for instance, that burger-flipping lives wear paper hats (that’s common knowledge). I recalled from my schooling days that janitorial lives tie knots in garbage bags and lunch-serving lives stock tiny milk-cartons into knee-level refrigerators. Conversely, some other lives are notorious for what they do not (or cannot) do. For instance, odoriferous lives don’t bathe and incontinent lives can’t unbuckle their jeans fast enough.
Perhaps, I thought, all lives perform this isolated all-important task (whatever it might be). That would make sense as according to the principles of equity and inclusivity (which had just been explained to me very slowly in a mandatory ZOOM seminar). I soon found myself shaking my head at that notion, however. All lives couldn’t possibly conform to the same rigid schedule—they’d collide head-first. Whatsmore: even if all lives were adept at carrying out this illusive function, this fact might (for reasons undoubtedly valid) be better left unstated.
But what was it? I wondered aloud. I was growing evermore agitated at my inability to recall this critical bit of information. Feathered lives lay eggs. Pubescent lives squeak when they talk. Francophile lives daydream about summer-homes in Nice. Non-sequitur lives eat Korean shrimp-chips while jangling keys at babies and humming the National Anthem in reverse. Dammit! I shouted. Something lives something…
The young lady(?) behind the counter very graciously thrust my order at me without saying a word. Turning toward the door, I took a quick peak in the bag and realized that she’d forgotten to include my complimentary pickle (a serendipitous mistake if ever there was one). I paused to breathe a sigh of complete exasperation and, as it would happen, out of the corner of my eye, in a profoundly epiphanic moment, I saw the sign.