Many people ask the Zambonesman a trite, yet important question: “what is the meaning of life.” Normally they ask this to avoid a real quandry they have, such as, “how can I get my daughter to do her homework?” or “why doesn’t that guy I slept with call me the next day?” I try to urge people to ask these more practical questions, but still they are persisting. As we say in Estonia, “if a Sunami comes at you, it’s not time to play ping-pong”, so I will answer this “big” question for you my people.
Ah, life is funny. Though now in my castle in Belgravia I have Dishfinity TV with 6,987 channels, as a child on the cheese farm life was much harder. We had a six inch TV that we jimmyrigged from glass milk bottle and disarmed landmine. With our antenna made from rusty clotheshanger, we got only dim fragments of TV, and one of those shows was the landmark American sitcom, Alice.
On this program was the sassy waitress Flo, who, whenever becoming annoyed would explain, “kiss my grits!”. Much of my childhood was spent with my brothers trying to decipher and translate what this mean. What are grits? Why kiss them? What for? Is to be kissing grits good or bad? One day years later at American college, cafeteria lady slop white stuff on my plate and I freeze.
In broken English I ask,”What this substance please tell me”.
“Grits. Move down the line please.”
“Ah…” I finally get it. In dorm we watch reruns of Alice and always Flo yells, “Kiss my Grits.” The Diner cook, Mel, yell, “Flo, stop chattin’ up that trucker and pick up these eggs!”
“Kiss my grits!”
Alice says to this Flo something or other, Flo yell, “you can kiss my grits.”
Later in life, when I become Great Zamboni, it occurs to me the wisdom of this grit-kissing. Flo never bows to anyone in this show. Though she is only a waitress at a diner, she is like queen who takes no poop from anyone. If anyone try and complain of her in anyway and try to stop her from being who she is, she tell to kiss grits.
In this way, she is much like the Roman stoic philospher Seneca, who say, “A happy life is one which is in accordance with its own nature.” Both Flo and Seneca see that the meaning of life is to dare to really be oneself. Flo’s nature is to be sassy and ornery, that is how she thrive. She say to the world, “this is me with my giant hairdo and too much lipstick and if you don’t like it, well….” you know the rest.
Kiss my grits. It was her mantra, her credo, her personal motto, her “carpe diem”. What is yours?