Lettuce Balloon

Many many years ago, when I was in my late twenties, I interviewed for a job
as a sales rep with this company.

I didn’t get the job. They said they weren’t convinced I wanted it
(clairvoyant HR?). Of course, it is always the case with rejections that, upon
hearing of them, I snarl, grind the bad news to a fine dust with resentment and double it
back, confirming (in the comfort of my private, pacifying thoughts) that they
were probably right: I didn’t want it. They did, however, gift me a
conciliatory packet of sticky notes marked with their logo; I was reminded of the job when I
found one of those sticky notes holding a forgotten page (all this time,
what was it marking?) in a book I leafed through the other day.

I bring this up today not because I wish I’d won that job, but because I wish
I had one of their fancy packaging gizmos, specifically the one that produces
the lettuce balloon. I’d like one of those to insulate my head for the
last six or seven days of February each and every year–to get me through to
March. It must be so peaceful and quiet inside of a lettuce balloon–so
clean and fresh-smelling. Extended shelf life. Effortless salad. Also, had I a
lettuce balloon around my noggin I would not be waylaid by this ache-making,
throat-blistering crud that has clutched me in its unrelenting grasp since
yesterday afternoon.

On top of being sick, there is more to throw off the late Feb. hermitage and
regular work rhythms: a winter storm, a miniseminar, stacks upon stacks of
unsorted papers (not “student” papers, but receipts, tax prep materials, misc. articles, foot stool assembly instructions, etc.) on my desk, a handout to cook up for a brief RNF-style talk for
tomorrow’s Visiting Days panel, Tuesday-night consulting in the WC, a quick
textbook review to send back to BSM, an essay to submit for a U.-wide conte$t entry, if only I could
find a minute to tune it, and some other stuff I can’t remember, like "Oh, we’re
out of hot tea."

Lettuce balloon, oh, lettuce balloon.