The 40 Year Old Bat Mitzvah


Posted in philosophizing by Juliet on June 14, 2010

Since Gary Coleman died a couple of weeks ago, I find myself humming the “Diff’rent Strokes” theme at random moments throughout the day.

Now the world don’t move to the beat of just one drum,
What might be right for you, may not be right for some.

A man is born [Mr Drummond], he’s a man of means,
Then along come two, they got nothing but their dreams.

By the way I think it’s cool and very fitting in a 70s TV sitcom way that this song was written by Alan Thicke.

Everybody’s got a special kind of story,
Everybody finds a way to shine,
It don’t matter that you got, not a lot, so what,
They’ll have theirs, you’ll have yours, and I’ll have mine.


I wish I could say that my humming and musing and getting my thoughts together to actually write a blog post about it led me to some higher-level conclusion, but really it’s chacun a son gout as the French say. Or “you say tomato, I say tom-AH-to” as Grandma Pearl says.

The other day I opened a bottle of wine. I was excited because it was a combination of grapes that I like and from the description on the bottle and on the display in the store, it sounded good.

And something interesting happened. The moment the cork popped out of the bottle, there was a horrible smell. It was as if you accidentally spilled paint thinner and motor oil on an Irish fisherman’s sweater, then tried to wash it in various industrial soaps, then tried to dry it but it took too long so it moldered a little bit.

Was I mad? Nope. The bottle of wine was from a “bang for the buck” region (Chile) plus I bought it on sale at Cost Plus so it wasn’t that expensive, plus I’ve been wanting to smell “corked” wine firsthand ever since someone described it to me as “skunky wet dog.”

Then something even more interesting happened. Scott came home. I’d left him a message (“I got to smell corked wine!”) but when he tried it, he said it wasn’t corked at all. He even drank a glass!  His verdict: “the alcohol content drowns out the fruit, but it’s definitely not corked.”

Okay, so this man is my partner in life and love. We’ve thrown our lot together in life. We both hate rollercoasters. Could this really be a case of “one man’s poison”?

So I did a little online investigating and found that other people described this wine (Calcu from Chile, 2005 red blend of cabernet sauvignon, carmenere, and cabernet franc) as tasting of: “currant, stone fruits, Mediterranean fruits, other berries, tree fruit, petroleum, tar, earthy, chemical, or cherry.”

[Why anyone would purposely drink a wine tasting of petroleum, tar, or chemicals is beyond me…diff’rent strokes?]

It’s not like Scott was saying he loved this wine that I truly believe was corked. But he did drink a glass whereas my one tentative sip sent me running to a reference book to see whether drinking corked wine is dangerous. (It’s not.)

More to the extreme, I’ve noticed that there are these love-hate things in life, where I’ll have a completely visceral reaction, and someone I love, respect, and care about will have the exact opposite 180 degree different reaction.

It could be Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, or “Pour Some Sugar on Me” by Def Leppard or American Dad or Coffee Nips candies.

I hate it — I’m not merely indifferent too it, but I write angry letters of protest against it — and they are members of the official fan club.

Or I love it to the point of evangelizing, while they hate it to the point that we can’t even talk about it because they get too upset.

Maybe there is a larger life lesson in this after all. If there were, it would go something like this: the things in life that inspire us to the greatest passions also inspire the strongest emotions — for good AND bad — in the human heart.

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