Monday, May 31, 2010

A Love Affair

I have a love affair.

With ketchup.

My family will attest to this. As an adult, I finally stopped sucking the ketchup packets clean when my husband (then fiancee) told me how many germs were on said ketchup packet.

The following exchange cemented my love for the new t.v. show called The Middle. Mike is the father and Brick is the quirky, book-loving youngest child. (Even though I'm the oldest, I'm the quirky one. Just ask my sister):

"Ketchup packets?" -Mike
"They are my security condiments. They soothe me." -Brick

Three facts about ketchup:

1. Ketchup is spelled ketchup, not catsup. That is what we say in North Carolina when the 20 lb. cat finally comes into the living room at the end of the day. "Cat'sup."

2. Ketchup is good on everything. Especially on some pinto beans with a little onion chopped up on top. YUM. They practically laugh at you at the Angus Barn if you ask for ketchup to go with your steak. Too bad, people. Laugh on.

3. Ketchup can lead you to a lot of good places and one strange, entertaining, mentally ill man named Joe Gould, aka Professor Seagull. He lived in Greenwich village and sometimes survived on coffee and ketchup. So much ketchup that when the local diner waitresses saw him coming, they would hide all the ketchup bottles. He was a well known bohemian figure in Greenwich Village and posed nude for the famous portrait artist Alice Neel. (A note for my audience, the portrait is NOT G-rated. It is impressive nonetheless.) Joe Gould was most famous for working on An Oral History of Our Time. He claimed it was the longest book ever written with over 9,000,000 words. After his death some of his notebooks were found but they were not the impressive work that he claimed-they were just a few stories from his life along with his diary.

e.e. cummings featured him in the following poem from his collection called No Thanks:

little joe gould has lost his teeth and doesn't know where
to find them(and found a secondhand set which click)little
gould used to amputate his appetite with bad brittle
candy but just(nude eel)now little joe lives on air

Harvard Brevis Est for Handkerchief read Papernapkin no laundry
bills likes People preferring Negroes Indians Youse
n. b. ye twang of little joe(yankee)gould irketh sundry
who are trying to find their minds(but never had any to lose)

and a myth is as good as a smile but little joe gould's quote oral
history unquote might(publishers note) be entitled a wraith's
progress or mainly awash while chiefly submerged or an amoral
morality sort-of-aliveing by innumerable kind-of-deaths

(Amerique Je T'Aime and it may be fun to be fooled
but it's more fun to be more to be fun to be little joe gould)



You should read the book Joe Gould's Secret. It was my find of the year at the Wake County Public Library sale last November.

I'll leave you with Joe Gould's poem My Religion even though it has nothing to do with ketchup.
It makes me laugh. A LOT.

My Religion
In winter I'm a Buddhist,
In summer I'm a nudist.

1 comment:

Troy Barrington said...

Where did the word catsup come from I wonder...