I found Jesus. He was in the dairy aisle.
When I’m not forcing celebrities out of the coffin while simultaneously stalking and extorting them, my life is rather hum-drum. My day job – well, technically, it’s a night job – is at a newspaper in Boston. My shift ends around midnight, and afterward I occasionally run errands in the wee small hours of the morning, which happens to be when stoners, bar-hoppers and condom-forgetters also are stocking up on necessities. I tend to overhear conversations, ranging from amusing to asinine. While standing in line at Shaw’s the other night, this was taking place behind me:
Woman: I can’t.
Woman: If I stay over, I won’t get any sleep.
Man: I’ll be good. Promise.
Woman: I have a paper due in the morning.
Man: Please come for a little while.
Woman: What did I just say?
Man: I thought you wanted the cheese and crackers?
Man: (after long pause, with hint of desperation) OK. Fine. Maybe just the cheese?
At this point, I was fairly certain I had become privy to this duo’s drunken foreplay ritual, in which she plays hard-to-get and cheese and crackers is code for the whole shebang, whereas plain cheese is a quickie. Either way, I was about to blurt out: If you don’t want his cheese, there’s someone else in this line who hasn’t had cheese in a really long time. And she misses cheese. And it’s one of her favorites. And she’d be completely OK with skipping the crackers and going straight to the cheese, because crackers can be too filling, when all you really want is the cheese anyway. Even when the cheese is just so-so, it’s still cheese. Satisfying, mouth-watering, creamy. Unless you’re a vegan. Or lactose-intolerant. Or a nun. Then you have to fill the void with a substitute. Such as Tofutti. Or non-dairy creamer. Or Jesus. I’m like a camel when it comes to cheese. I hoard it when I can, and that propels me through these desert days. But now I’m fantasizing about both the chunky guy sporting a Celtics jersey and his dowdy girlfriend, as well as the supermarket clerk, the bag boy and the cabbie loitering outside playing scratch tickets in the parking lot, and that’s how I know that if I don’t shore up some moldy, curdled goodness soon, I will qualify by default for the Sisterhood. Then I’ll have to lie about being raised Jewish. And being gay. And not at all being receptive to marrying the son of God, and depending on the day the institution of marriage, unless it turns out Jesus really is cheese. Cheesus? Huh. That actually might not be so bad. This weekend is Easter, and churches will put up their “He Has Risen!” signs, and the grammarian in me always wonders, Why are we talking in the past-perfect? And he has risen … to what? The occasion? Note to self: Don’t mention doubts to Cheesus. He wouldn’t understand. Or hasn’t understood. It’s probably best to stick to the verb tense my future husband is comfortable with, because marriage is about sacrifice. Sometimes, you have to let him have his whey. Because he died on a cross for our sins. Well, not my sins. Other people’s. Very sinful people, apparently. And then he melted off the crucifix and became cheese. Or something. I’m a little hazy on the details. God, they didn’t teach us anything useful in Hebrew school. Had not taught us? I’m *so* confused.
I turned around to further scrutinize the source of the aisle banter, only to watch as the beau, who had his arm possessively draped over his squeeze, grabbed her boob near the “N” in West Virginia that was plastered in an arc across her gray sweatshirt. “Stop honking it,” she said unconvincingly. I was totally sure the cheese was on, until I glanced down at the checkout counter and noticed they were purchasing two items: water crackers and Swiss. Stumped, and more than a little turned on, I abruptly left the line, returning a few minutes later with a wheel of nutty, aged gouda.
If Swiss miss and mister could have their cheese and eat it too, dammit, so could I.