Thursday, January 7, 2010

Deus Ex Meatball

"Your fate - you can't help but notice - it's the last thing you'd ever expect."- Orestes (Euripides/Anne Washburn)

Dear Mouse,

I can't even start this post by saying, "On New Year's Eve, I dropped my iPhone in a bowl of water", because that's not strictly true. Oh, it happened. And it was definitely my fault. But no 'dropping' occurred, per se. Placing, perhaps. As if deliberately, if not consciously so ... while distracted by ... these.

Due to a number of factors, my plan to spend New Years in NYC wearing a tiny dress had turned into plans to cook meatballs in my pajamas for our Director, Stage Manager, and Composer here in DC. I was hell-bent on making the above recipe despite some strange handicaps. Specifically, the recipe called for 2lbs ground beef, and the SM (co-chef) and I had been able to locate ONE open store with meat near the house. Rehearsal had run late and people were coming over kind of soon. That store was down to a single 1lb mystery package of ground ... something. No label, no sell by date, no nothing. "Looks like beef!" I declared hopefully, and we bought it at a considerable discount. (Guy behind counter: "Is no good, you bring back to me." Right.) We bought a pound of chicken sausage to round out the mixture (skin off, chopped up), swore each other to secrecy, prayed a little, and went home to mix up the delicious spicy mixture involving chopped bacon, marjoram, and hot red pepper flakes. Big hit, nobody died, happy 2010.

So all this was in my head as I set my iPhone down upon an innocuous-looking paper towel draped over a perfectly unassuming blue bowl on the counter, while rolling the meatballs and texting The Date in NYC at the same time. It is certainly plausible to say that I was simply too distracted to notice the several inches of WATER lurking below the paper towel, in which my house mate was soaking lentils, and into which I calmly PLACED my beloved, seemingly indispensable communication device. It was a full , oh, 30 seconds, before I reached to pick up my phone and wondered "Why is my hand wet?"

Long story short: You can do a lot to an iPhone, but not this.

At the end of the play I'm working on right now *Spoiler Alert* we see an example of a device common in Classical Greek theatre when a playwright had written himself into a corner or just wanted to quit and go watch Iron Chef: Argos on the Food Network. I'm sure you remember this from Theatre History 124 (you know, between naps), but in case you don't:

Deus Ex Machina (wikipedia): a plot device where a previously intractable problem is suddenly and abruptly solved, usually with the contrived introduction of either characters, abilities, or objects not mentioned before within the storyline. It is generally considered to be a poor storytelling technique because it undermines the story's internal logic.

Ha! Suck it, Euripides!

Basically, it's when the playwright has God show up and make a speech which goes something like, "Attention, everyone! The whole time it was Miss Scarlett in the Library with the Lead Pipe. Be nice to each other. Hail Zeus!" (Ok, it's slightly more complex than that, I'm just feeling peevish and have a lower backache from stomping and chanting about war).

In Orestes, it's the god Apollo who intervenes at the end. He tidies everything up and reveals some interesting tidbits of information, one of which is the mind-boggling revelation that Helen of Troy, the SuperTramp "loathed by the Gods" that everyone has been hating on this whole time, is actually, oh, a GODDESS, whose own father is Zeus himself AND who, oh, by the way, was only created in the first place to drive everyone crazy with her beauty and cause a war which would take care of some overpopulation issues.

Seriously. What a cynical mother - Where was I?

Oh, right. Meatballs. Seriously, they were SO GOOD. And very simple. And I think maybe they would be even better (?) with ground turkey. You brown them in the bacon grease before simmering them in the sauce til they're done. Mmmmmm.

The thing is, for a few months I'd been having the uneasy feeling that my beloved iPhone was maybe not such a blessing, despite its bells and whistles and 24-7 Facebook. As you may recall, it was not so long ago that I was up in Maine discovering that communal living, limited technology, artistic collaboration, and actual human conversation were quite possibly a recipe for health and happiness. And in only a few short months, I'd gone right back to being someone who regularly walked into traffic while updating my FB status or Texted my way through breakfast. I'd already begun to consider downgrading in order to regain some sense of balance. And here I was, once again, in a house full of actors, expressing my affection and gratitude by feeding them discount meat, and maybe it was my own personal God in the Machine that decided to step in and make the decision for me. Who knows.

Anyway, that's my story. Happy 2010! May this be a year in which we laugh, cook, and socialize in real time, face to face, and in which we learn to own our devices, not let them own us.

That's about it. I'm kind of having trouble wrapping this up. Not sure what to do. ....

Oh look! Flying monkeys are attacking my keyboard! Gotta run.


The Boo


Anonymous said...

I am literally laughing out loud!!! and where o zeus, is the recipe for these immune boosting meatballs?!!! more more more

The Boo said...

Click the link underneat the picture to get the recipe! Love, The Boo

Anonymous said...

laughing so hard my eyes closed.

Anonymous said...

Bacon grease makes all things good...

Anonymous said...

You're too, too funny!