I don’t know why it was so hard for me to understand one thing: that everything changes. Such basics seem like common knowledge, but it hasn’t always been that clear for me.
As a boy I didn’t know the world changed like it did. That things change. That life changes. That life changes people. That people die. Or perhaps I should say it how my grandfather would say it, “I’m afraid change is here to stay, boy.”
I suppose he was right. Babies change. Kids change. Teenagers change schools, friends, jobs. Twenty-year-olds trying to discover themselves change points of view. Thirty-year-olds with identity problems change careers. Fifty-year-olds change hairstyles, they divorce their old Cadillac then upgrade to a new wife. Seventy-year-olds change life-roles, then they change ideals. Eighty-year-olds just miss their friends.
But I do believe there’s an exception to the rule:
Peanut butter does not change. It stays the same. I ate a peanut butter sandwich yesterday; it tasted the same as always. Thick, robust, and capable of choking you to death. Another exception: cheese. Cheese does not change. Each slice of cheese I’ve ever had eats the same as it did when I was knee-high.
The list goes on and on. Beer. Beer tastes the same as it did when I was a five-year-old on my daddy’s knee. The taste of a tomato doesn’t change – thank God. Ice cream sandwiches, they don’t change. Neither do apple fritters, mashed potatoes, cajun pork rinds, Captain Crunch, oyster crackers, Twinkies, Heinz ketchup, beef jerky, Bazooka bubblegum, whole milk, or sourwood honey fresh from Robertsdale, Alabama.
Illustration by Suhita