I once had a class in which we, the students, were asked what is evil? I can’t remember what our answers were or if they were any good. I have thought off and on since then of how to define evil. Tonight I think that evil is the thing that finds the soft parts in us and punches at those parts until they are no longer soft. Evil punches at those parts because evil does not recognize what they are nor would it understand if it was told “these are what the soft parts are and these are what the soft parts mean.” If evil ever had those soft parts, they are long since gone. All that is left is immovable and untouchable — a cold, void of solid mass. So, evil punches and punches until the soft gives way to the hard. It is only then that evil can see the results of its work. If it had any feeling, it would be pleased to recognize the similar. That is when it says “ah, you are like me” before it invites you, with your soft parts beaten into an unrecognizable hardness, to join it. “You will never be the same,” it says coldly but thinks that it is being inviting and warm. What I wonder is whether or not memory can be given back to evil. “You had soft parts once.” And, if in giving the memory back, would that make a difference? Would evil melt into something warm, soft and quivery? Or, is evil equivalent to being forever gone? “You will never be the same?”
I grew up eating grits. I don’t eat them all the time but I like them. I suppose it is because I don’t eat them all the time that I will suddenly crave a bowl of them. When I really want a bowl of grits, it doesn’t matter what time of day it is. They’re good to eat anytime. — not just for breakfast.
There are many ways to make grits. Some people like them with salt and pepper. Others like them with cheese. The way we’ve always made them is with sugar and butter. Today, I learned that what I really like in grits is a combination of sugar, salt and butter. I didn’t know that before. Until today, I had never thought of the salted butter we used when we made them. It was salty enough that no extra salt needed to be added — only sugar. The butter I had today on my grits was either unsalted or so lightly salted that in addition to adding the normal sugar, I had to add salt as well to make them taste “normal” to me.
It had been awhile since I last had a bowl of grits. To have them today felt like a little, comforting, ever nostalgic, treat. As I ate them, I concluded that a world without grits would be a world that is slightly lacking. So, here’s to a world that isn’t.
In early spring, we had a mostly bare pond with no floating plants and with only a few underwater plants such as anacharis. It was the first spring for our outdoor pond and we couldn’t wait to get started adding something for the koi and a few other smaller fish to be shaded and protected by so I went to a local store and bought a few floating plants. A couple of the plants I started with were water lettuce. I added two to the pond and we sat back admiring how good they looked floating there in our small pond with the fish swimming around them.
About a week ago, we went out in the morning to feed the fish and found that the population of water lettuce had increased tremendously as though the water lettuce had an overnight orgiastic party with miraculous births of baby water lettuces that produced so many that they covered the whole entire pond. It made looking at the fish into a game of peek-a-boo.
“We’re going to have to take some out so that the other plants can have space to grow too,” I said to the other person who is concerned with the pond. “I hate to see them die,” said the other person. “I know. I do too,” I replied. After thinking a little bit about it, I took some of the water lettuces out of the pond and placed them in the bird bath. They looked good there too and we were both pleased that we had saved some water lettuces from sudden death.
The next day, however, when we fed the fish in the morning, we found that the water lettuces had reproduced once again enough for us not to be able to tell that we had removed any. “We are going to have to remove some of the water lettuces again,” I said. “I know, but I hate to see them die. They are so pretty,” said the other concerned with the pond. “I think they’re pretty too but the other plants need space.” The other person was determined that we were going to save the water lettuces. Later that day, I found an old fish tank in the backyard filled with water lettuces. The other had managed to save a few more.
On the third day, we went out in the morning again and found that any attempts to remove water lettuces resulted in near-immediate plant birthing. I turned to the other and said “We really are going to have to do some serious water lettuce removal.” Again, the other reiterated their fondness for the water lettuces and how there should be a way to save them. At the thought of trying to “save them” all I could imagine was the entire yard filled with containers of water lettuces which would inevitably reproduce. “There is no way to for us to keep the ones we preserve without filling up our entire yard. Some will have to die.” “I know” said the other a little glumly. And, hence, I became a water lettuce murderer.