Last December, when everything was still “normal,” my wife Megan and I took the kids on a weekend trip to Napa to visit Dutch and Marea and meet their son, Decker. We arrived on a Friday night. I came out of a restaurant with two large styrofoam containers of steaming, fragrant Hawaiian BBQ to find Megan throwing up in a garbage can. She spent the night puking. Sometime around 3 AM, Mazey (age 8) puked. They both spent the next day puking together, while Mia (age 5) Delaney (age 2) and I went with Dutch to one of those little kid railroad parks near Sonoma. It was all very nice, considering.
The next day, Mazey had an excruciating earache. Oh, and Delaney got trapped in a bathroom stall. One of those with the door that goes all the way to the bottom. Later, I went to Target to buy medicine and got the wrong flavor or brand. Twice. We did something or other that night.
Sunday some stuff happened. On Monday it was time to leave. We went to see a doctor for the earache, which wasn’t improving. On the way I saw this sign outside a grocery store: “Wonderful Pistachios. $7.99”
Turns out “Wonderful” is a brand of pistachios. I didn’t know that at the time. I thought it was an adjective that the store decided to use to entice customers. Watching Mia and Delaney play outside the doctor’s office, my sleep-deprived, battered and travel-weary mind envisioned the following scenarios, which in no way is intended to disparage the fine product known as Wonderful Pistachios.
“Hey Bill, you know that pistachio sign out front?”
“Sure Frank, I ought to. I was the one that made it.”
“Well, I noticed we haven’t been selling too many pistachios lately. Don’t take this the wrong way. It’s just…I had an idea. What if we added the word “wonderful” to the sign? I feel it just gives it the right amount of oomph.”
“By golly, that just might work! Frank, you’re a genius!”
(In a perfect world, CUSTOMER A is played by Norm MacDonald and CLERK is played by Chris Farley, early 90’s)
CUSTOMER A: “Hey there… buddy, can you, uh, you know, show me where the (looks around, chewing gum) wonderful pistachios are?”
CLERK: “Sure, right over there by the walnuts.”
CUSTOMER A: “Those, uh, those look to be just regular pistachios. (Chews gum and looks at CLERK.) What are you trying to pull here? I’m looking for the wonderful ones. You think I’m some kind of jerk that eats regular pistachios?”
CLERK: I’m so stupid! God, I’m idiot! (Starts beating himself with an eggplant.) No wonder everybody hates me!
“Honey, you’ll never believe it! Our favorite pistachios are in! Do you remember? Right when we started dating…it was just before Christmas….we were shopping. And we found those wonderful pistachios. Don’t you remember?”
“Do you mean the marvelous pistachios?”
“I don’t even know you any more.”
“Tonight, for our party, I’ve decided to conduct a little experiment. I’m going to set out this bowl of regular pistachios and put a sign down in front that says: ‘Wonderful Pistachios’ in bright bold letters. Then, right next to it, I’m going to put down this bowl of wonderful pistachios, with no sign. No wait…maybe I should put a sign that says ‘regular pistachios’…like in pencil? Is that too many variables? Oh, I just don’t know! What do you think?”
“I think that’s the most insane science experiment ever conducted in the history of the world. I love it. Sign or no sign, I want to rip your clothes off and discuss data collection.”