Soviet people were convinced that paradise existed “overseas.” Every misfortune, every contretemps was narrated with the obligatory addendum of how nothing this untoward could have happened overseas where problems did not exist, period. (The hatred Russians feel for “the West” today originated in the discovery that life there was not fully paradisiacal. It’s that sense of betrayal when you discover that Santa isn’t real and there is no magic in the world.)

What’s really curious, though, is that there is a large class of Americans who are like that, too. They also think there’s a paradise and they bring it up with maniacal dedication. Like their Soviet counterparts, they believe that paradise is located overseas. Their Garden of Eden is a vaguely defined Northern Europe, and one ends up having the most tiresomely repetitive discussions with them. 

“I can’t have any dessert because I’m pre-diabetic.”

“Ugh! Here in the US half of the population is diabetic. We are so third-world! This doesn’t happen in other countries.”

“It’s hereditary. My grandfather died of diabetes.”

“You see! If this was in Western Europe, he’d live to be 80!”

“He did, actually.”

“And his healthcare would have been free! And it would have been of a much better quality!”

“He died in Ukraine.”

“Good for him! At least it wasn’t in this horrible country!”

At which point I begin to contemplate gorging on massive quantities of dessert with the goal of going into a hyperglycemic shock and escaping from this insane conversation.

Inept Advertisement

An ad for a new local place:

Hey everyone come check out our delicious cupcakes and treat your dog to some pupcakes while you’re at it! Baked fresh along with all the other cupcakes.

It’s not part of the ad, either. It’s the entire thing.

Are they trying on purpose to keep people away? Who’s going to want cupcakes made right next to dog food? 

I never saw any people with dogs at the mall where this place is set up. But I saw crowds of people with kids. What kind of an idiot advertises for a demographic that doesn’t even exist in this region (we are a long way away from the kind of folks who want to take their dogs out for cupcakes while doing intermittent fasting on a way to pitching their startup) and repels the demographic that is there? 

Let Go of Your Gift

People need to let go of their gifts once they present them to intended recepients. 

“Does Klara like the sweater I gave her? Can you send me a picture? Can you send me another picture where she’s wearing a skirt with it or a dress? I remember she had this really cute green dress with horse appliques. That one would go great with my sweater. I need the photo for my knitting club. Oh, the green dress is too small? Can you put it in her just for a sec while you snap the photo? Can I come over and take the photo myself because the light should be right?”

I’m having heart palpitations whenever this person says, “I have a gift for you!” I know that this gift will be too much work for me.