Woke up with the image of baby seals lying on ice as men with picks march toward them. Sometimes I hate the world. Had trouble making coffee. My hands shook and my eyes burned. Still dark out, early birds were opening up. The galley kitchen blazed with light from the lamp above the white stove and as I blindly tried to grind my coffee beans I felt like the darkened subject of a photo negative, my sallow skin appearing blue, my green sweatpants magenta, red T-shirt cyan and so on. I grind my own coffee beans because, despite my poverty, I am a coffee snob. I would spend my last ten dollars—and I have—on coffee before just about anything else. I’ve gone up to three days without eating but I can’t remember ever going a day without coffee. I recall running out of coffee beans one early Sunday morning and attempting to reuse the grounds in my French press as one might reuse a tea bag. My advice to anyone contemplating such foolishness is to never try it. If the establishment where you buy the coffee beans is closed for some reason, I suggest trying even the crappiest ground coffee sold in convenience stores before you attempt to reuse coffee grounds. I drank some of that brew and even though it could pass as a weak coffee served in some menacing diner, it tasted vile. How it could taste so vile is beyond me. A reused tea bag yields potable tea. Not so reused coffee grounds. I have a short article to write today on superstition. I’m not a superstitious person. I see it as an extension or perversion of the religious urge many humans have. Believing that future events can be influenced by charms and incantations, salt-tossing or genuflecting repeatedly, carrying a rabbit’s foot or a four-leaf clover charm in gold on a bracelet, wearing the same socks for weeks or dodging sidewalk cracks—believing all this rubbish is folly. I will say this in the article, though not so directly. People like to think they have some modicum of control over their lives. They do. I do. But in the end, no matter what we do or how we prepare for it, we are at the mercy of forces we cannot control. What will a rabbit’s foot offer us in the crunch? Comfort? But as we rub it for luck we should also bear in mind that the bunny who lost the foot wasn’t so lucky.
Sal Difalco lives in Toronto. His work has appeared in print and online.