08/21/2012 08:32 am ET Updated Oct 21, 2012

Days of Yumminess


I'm eighty-one. My wife has died and we had no children. I live in the city and I wandered into a little place where I didn't know it would be all young people drinking, but it was. I had a book that I'm enjoying very much, and I sat there reading and having one of their soups, a very good cream of chicken, and a young girl came in and sat down. Through no fault of her own, I was made to be miserable. All of my life I have been made miserable by beautiful women, but particularly by any woman who does one of two things, or two of two things. The things are, having long hair that sometimes falls over one eye and then gets swished back by either her hand or the quick lovely movement of her head; or wearing an article of clothing that has such a big neck hole that one of her shoulders pops out in a yummy, yummy way. This girl I'm writing to you about had both. I want you to know in eighty-one years I don't believe I've ever written down the word yummy before, certainly not twice. Anyway, I put my soup spoon down and had to just go home. I am sitting here now in my apartment eating cream of wheat mixed with half and half and seeing that hair, that shoulder, and a worrisome thing is happening: I'm not finding anything to care about tomorrow. I've lived a long time. Maybe I should call it quits. What do you think?



Dear Oscar,

No, I definitely don't think you should call it quits. You're sufficiently healthy to read. You're sufficiently healthy to walk. Your appetite seems good, in that you ordered soup. Just being a Thing That Has Life In It is so unlikely that you'd be nuts not to keep it going as long as you can just to see what happens next.

The great news is that your complaint, as I hear it, is not about health. No, your complaint is a much jollier one: That, to use a version of your word -- your Days Of Yumminess are behind you. About the Yumminess of a shoulder, the Yumminess of hair, Oscar, I'm with you. It's nonsense how whacky that kind of thing can make you. I think it's a lady gibbon, but it might be a lady baboon, that has a bright blue and red ass that drives their fellas insane, the bluer and redder the better. It could be that I have it wrong, that the blue/red ass belongs to the gentleman monkey which makes the lady monkey behave like a lunatic, but the point remains: There are certain things that you look at and you cannot help it -- the starter cord of your sexual apparatus gets yanked and you just gotta put down your soup spoon and get all unreasonable.

Turn-ons are goofy. But goofy or not, being turned-on is a kick, and Oscar, I say enjoy it. Go back to that place where you had soup, but without a book. Just sit and watch as if it all were a private performance in your honor, celebrating what you once were. And if all goes well, and if you're lucky, you will not have to wait long for your face to register a smile you don't even realize you're making, a smile of poignant and selfless and deep enjoyment.

Your Fan,

Waldo Mellon