The appearance of evil

Saturday night we hosted a birthday dinner for my friend, Carol, and because she had asked specifically for cocktail swizzle sticks I spent the entire day trying to locate a set. I always get friends what they ask for as presents, and although I know that this makes me totally lame, I do it because the odds are that they will like what they asked for better than what I would have bought them if left to my own creative thinking. I would have loved to have bought Carol a llama, but I’m thinking she would have eventually tried to return it for something more practical, and do you have any idea how hard it is to return a used llama?

I didn’t think I’d find a set of swizzle sticks at the first shop I checked necessarily, but I still couldn’t find a set at the second or third or even the ninth or tenth place. In fact, most people I asked had no idea what I was talking about — cocktail twizzler sticks? — and one woman at Pier One wanted me and everyone else in the store to know that she had no idea what I was talking about BECAUSE SHE DOESN’T DRINK, and she said it just like that, with the caps lock on, with as much disgust as if I had just asked her if they sold edible panties. I tried to explain that swizzle sticks are the long, skinny utensils you use to stir a cocktail, and I am not even making this up, she goes, “You mean, a spoon?”

What is this spoon you speak of?

Sometimes you just run into people like this here in Utah, and I know I’m probably being very unfair here, but I bet it isn’t everywhere that you interact with strangers who want to make sure you understand just how righteously they are living their lives. I’m sure she is a lovely woman who pays her taxes and drives the speed limit, but what does that have to do with helping me find a swizzle stick? Does her God really subtract a few points if she sells me a cocktail shaker that I then use at home to get drunk? Because I’m thinking that her God is rolling his eyes right now and is only keeping track of whether or not she’s got any headless bodies hidden in her freezer.

I did eventually find a set of four very ugly swizzle sticks, ones with blown-glass tops made to look like seashells and fish, because they were beach-themed swizzle sticks, but dammit, I WAS GOING TO GET CAROL A SWIZZLE STICK SO HELP ME GOD. I cannot even believe I’m admitting that I bought them. It’s like the overhead lights we installed in the old house right before we sold it, really bland, awful overhead lights that we got at Home Depot because we had been told that the ones we had were too modern for the average buyer’s tastes. And I made Jon promise that he would never post a picture of those lights because, oh my God, what if people thought we had put those lights up because we liked them? It would just snowball from there, and all of a sudden before you know it people would start assuming that we eat at The Olive Garden.