Cosmic Bliss
May 5th, 2007

Each Saturday my friend and colleague Goldberger makes the rounds of local garage sales, and almost every Saturday he calls to announce he is bringing by something “special” for me.

Today’s special is a brand-new, never-used Cameron stove top roaster-smoker, complete with four tubs of wood chips, registration card and user’s manual. Inside the box I also found a birthday card, addressed to “Dad.”

Since I’m a dad, I felt free to open it. The card reads: “May cosmic bliss come down and scratch you on the belly.” Signed by Randy, Jill, and Zach.

Over the years I’ve taken in several such appliances, each of which evokes a promise of some future pleasantness, if not cosmic bliss. When I beheld at the smoker, I immediately begin to lay plans to go fishing. What could be tastier than alderwood-smoked trout fillets? But first, I’ll have to buy a license. Second, I’ll have to go fishing, which won’t be all that blissful now that my own son has flown the nest. I used to take him fishing–just as my own father had–but I can’t say the experience was exactly blissful for him. Alex is more inclined toward computer science, whereas fishing was the one thing my father and I enjoyed doing together. So if I do get around to buying a fishing license, I’ll be thinking of my father and remembering where and when the big ones were biting.

I wonder what Randy, Jill and Zach had in mind when they bought “Dad” the smoker? And what about Dad? It took five years for the smoker to migrate from store shelf to yard sale. Five years!

“We know the kitchen is a special place in your home, and it is our wish that the smoker will give you years of pleasure,” gushes the manufacturer. Should have read: “We know the basement is a special place in your home, and it is our wish that the smoker will find a place there, out of your way and out of mind until the day you finally decide to get rid of it.”

And now here it sits in my kitchen, awaiting further deployment. I fear that soon it might join the home brewing kit that is gathering dust in MY basement, still in the box after five years. Waiting patiently, like the fifteen unopened bottles of aftershave lotion that filled my father’s medicine cabinet, to make good on the maker’s elusive promise of cosmic bliss.

-Richard Menzies