by Timothy Stephen Pike
It was pretty early on in my life that I made a profound self-realization. And that is, my initials are actually a cooking term. If you’ve ever so much as peeked into a cookbook, you’ll know that “TSP,” in culinary lingo, means “teaspoon.” 2 TSP sugar = 2 teaspoons of sugar. 1 TSP sugar = the medicine will go down. Likewise, “TBSP” means “tablespoon.” So if my parents had named me something like Timothy Billy-Bob Stephen Pike, then I would simply be too ashamed to ever tell anyone my real name. This is how I live my life from day to day, with the burden of knowing that my name—my entire identity and reason for being—is basically an insignificant quantity of salt being thrown into someone’s chocolate chip cookie dough recipe.
Speaking of cookie dough, allow me to introduce myself. You already know my name, but what you may not know is that I am a Colorado native. Of course, by “native,” I mean I was born in L.A. But ever since I was an embryo, I had the full intention of coming to Colorado, which I feel qualifies me for native status. In my hometown of Littleton, I attended Heritage High School, which was conveniently located about a mile from my house. “Conveniently,” here, means “too close to drive.” So I always walked to school. Mainly because my parents would never have let me drive—not when they (like all other parents) used to trudge “six miles, barefoot, in the snow” to get to school when they were younger. Except that story got exponentially more melodramatic every time I heard it. I think the last version somehow included acid rain, and I knew if I kept hearing it, it would eventually defy various laws of physics: “Son, when I was your age, I had to shovel my way through seventeen feet of snow to get to school every morning, uphill, for sixty-two miles, with frostbitten hands and feet, through a minefield, while solar flares reached out from the sun, melting my flesh, and that’s not to mention the neighbor’s pitbull who always bit a few fingers off every morning.
I did take a break from the snow, though, and spent a couple years getting in touch with my roots back in the Golden State—California. Apparently, nowadays, “golden” means “really expensive.” For example, it’s a well-known fact that in San Francisco, there are only two classifications of rent: obnoxious and nauseating. A person apartment hunting on the phone can be overheard saying, “Hmmm…that sounds nice. How much is rent?” (pause) “Well, that’s just nauseating. I was hoping for something down in the obnoxious range.” So I lived in a tiny apartment with five people, and to save money, I had to share a room, which was approximately the size of a dining room table. This made the monthly rent payment a little more manageable, and I even had enough money left over to eat three meals a week.
But aside from the cost, California does have a lot to offer: great places to hike and camp, beautiful coastal views, and freeways that resemble long, skinny parking lots. And let’s not forget about what attracted me to California in the first place: the excitement of knowing that whenever I went out of town, there was a chance my apartment might not even be there when I got back. I’m talking, of course, about earthquakes.
Since I grew up in Colorado, the concept of the earth shaking violently about my feet is completely foreign, and unnerving at best. After all, the only Richter scale we have in Colorado is the one in the Richters’ bathroom. Now, don’t get me wrong—we in Colorado still have our fair share of natural disasters to contend with: the occasional blizzard, tornado, flash flood, and those creepy little things that sneak up on you in the night when you least expect it and nip you in the butt. I, uh, could be mixing that up with something else.
At this point you may be asking yourself, “How is any of this hogwash benefiting me?” It isn’t. But if I got you to smile, chuckle, guffaw, snort, or even so much as fall out of your chair laughing, then I’ve accomplished my mission. And as long as you understand that, I’d like to conclude by thanking you, the reader, for taking the time to delve into the inner workings of my being, and I hope you realize that after reading this, you still don’t know a thing about me. So maybe I do have a warped perspective on the world, but so would you if you were named after a kitchen utensil. I look forward to sharing my skewed opinions of life with you so you can hear about what keeps my engine running, who’s behind the wheel, and what we’re about to crash into. And I’m sure that as you read each issue of The Teaspoon Times, you’ll be that much more ready to set your hair on fire and run out of the room shrieking. And now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to go bake some chocolate chip cookies.
Timothy Pike is a sempiternal essayist who prefers to take life one nanosecond at a time.
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