My sister ate poop. That’s right. Growing up, Nora was always more stylish than myself. She was more popular than me in high school. She was popular, but she was confident and “alternative” enough to reject the homecoming queen nomination with a letter to the deciding board about how she disdained such superficial conventions. I may not have had the luxury of writing such a letter in high school. My “style” may have just been a hand-me-down, outdated version of hers. But I never ate poop. I always had this on her.
It was a hot July day, on a beach in Gloucester, Massachusetts, years before I surprised the family with my entrance into the world. My mom, dad, and two sisters had just moved to Mont Vernon, New Hampshire, and they were taking a midweek “painter’s vacation” at the beach. My dad and his brothers (the paint crew) liked to take a break in the middle of the week and work on Saturdays, thus avoiding the busy traffic and crowded beaches of the weekend. Nora had just turned two and was one of those kids that put everything in her mouth. Playing on the white sand beach with our older sister, Julia, she spotted a long, dark, skinny object in the sand. Thinking it was a tootsie roll, she proceeded to pick it up and take a big bite. It was NOT a tootsie roll.
I can’t help but point out the metaphor of consumerism that this story holds. Do you ever see something online or in the store and you think: That looks good. I need that in my life. But when you get home, or get the package in the mail, you notice the cheap material, the way it just clutters your life. You realize it’s crap, but you’ve already bitten.
Next time you’re shopping, remember: the majority of the brown logs on the beach ARE NOT TOOTSIE ROLLS. Eat stories, not poop—be a happier person.
All that glisters is not gold;
Often have you heard that told:
Many a man his life hath sold
But my outside to behold:
Gilded tombs do worms enfold.
– William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice