Discussing the most important documentPublished 2:06pm Saturday, July 9, 2011
Column: Pass the Hot Dish, by Alexandra Klosterguilt
“What’s the most important document ever written? “
I’d been away for a few weeks, but when my husband, Graham, asked me this at 5:30 on a Saturday morning, I knew I was home and everything was back to normal.
“Made in China,” I answered.
“Are you being ironic?” he asked.
“I’m reading the tag on the inside of my sleep mask, which is, at this moment, the most important document ever written.”
The blinding light coming through our window didn’t mean it was daytime. That light was not the sun. It was a midsummer Minnesota moon wearing a yellow blouse in an attempt to fit in with Daylight Savings Time.
I flipped up one side of my black mask hoping I’d seem intimidating if I appeared pirate-like. I was about to demand he go back to sleep, but he was already standing across the room wearing the kind of clothing that suggests some kind of outdoorsy exercise baloney had already happened.
Clearly this question had come to him while he was out running, and he wanted to force it to its answer so he could move on to others like, “Do we really need all the planets?” or “Which Kardashian is the most unintentionally philosophical?”
“You’ll find your answer taped to the refrigerator,” I told him. I knew he’d be starving after a run, and there was nothing in the kitchen. He was about to discover that my grocery list was the most important document ever written and hopefully go to the store.
“It’s the Declaration of Independence,” he announced, and I knew that I could end this if I just agreed with him.
“You’re wrong,” I said.
“The Constitution? The Gettysburg Address?” he pressed on.
“No and no.”
“The Magna Carta? What’s in the Magna Carta?” he asked.
“No one knows. And no.” I answered.
He had come up with some good ones, even if they did expose a hint of latent xenophobia, but I knew I could trump them all with the big ten.
“The Ten Commandments, and I’ll prove it.”
I was pretty sure I was right. After all, they were written in stone by the finger of God, until Moses smashed them and had to carve them all over again. Have you noticed how many people in the Bible have really bad tempers?
“Moses had to go to the top of a mountain and wait for God. The framers of the constitution just had to wait for Benjamin Franklin to get back from France,” I told Graham. “And when he wasn’t doing that, Moses was parting the Red Sea and wondering what that pillar of fire was all about. These are not things you do in a waistcoat and three-pointed hat.”
My choice, being the word of God and all, scored a perfect 30 in the Zagat guide to goodness. That’s pretty important. Besides, he knew the absurdity of the conversation meant I had to write about it. How could I choose anything but the Ten Commandments in a column that comes out on Sunday? I had finished him.
But wait, there’s more.
Friends, I set myself up again. I tried to be a smarty-pants and a moral authority at the same time, and I was about to pay for it.
“Do you follow the Ten Commandments?” Graham asked.
“My old Catholic school uniform is in the garage, and I’m really against littering except when there’s nowhere else to put my gum. Ergo, I am a good person.”
“But do you follow them? Really?” he eyed me suspiciously.
I heard, “Know when to fold ’em. Know when to walk away and know when to run,” in my head, and instantly realized that “The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers was the most important document ever written.
“Serve. It. Up.” I challenged. Why did I say that? Too much football. My mother told me if I kept acting like a linebacker I would eventually freeze that way.
That’s when it got stone cold ugly. I’ll have to tell you about it next week because one column only holds so many uncomfortable truths, and there were miles of them to go before I could lower my mask and sleep.
Woodbury resident Alexandra Kloster appears each Sunday. She may be reached at email@example.com, and her blog is Radishes at Dawn at alexandrakloster.com.