2 min read

Friday Open Thread (with Small Mistakes)

A squeezy bottle of Original Heinz Salad Cream: "deliciously zingy."

Dear Friends,

I had a different topic in mind for today's thread, drafted earlier in the week – but when I opened it up to polish and send – what should have been the work of a few minutes – I found myself dissatisfied with it. I sank into it, dithered, wrote an additional paragraph, deleted it, tried to turn it into a footnote, looked up the Wikipedia entry on Salad Cream – and suddenly remembered I'd put a saucepan with three eggs in it to boil an unspecified amount of time ago without setting a timer.

I yelped, leapt from my seat, anticipating a blackened, deformed saucepan with all the water boiled away and eggs on the cusp of exploding. It wasn't at that point, but I dumped the remaining water, replaced it with cold a few times to stop the eggs from cooking further, feeling miserable and berating myself the while because even if all I'd done was overboil them they'd be a smelly green-blue mess and not the delicious lunch component I'd been looking forward to when I began the process.

But they were fine. They were perfect, actually: the bright soft yellows thoroughly cooked without a hint of ferrous sulfide around them. I mixed some salt and pepper together and dipped each bite of egg in the mixture and ate slowly, feeling like I'd been given a kind of gentle reprieve – from hunger, from anxiety, from being angry at myself for fucking up a simple task. I had made a mistake, but nothing was broken or ruined.

I'd love to know if you've felt something similar – the relief of discovering an error that brought no harm, that wrecked nothing but your peace of mind before some small grace restored it.

I hope you have a wonderful, restful weekend!




  • About a month ago I fell in love with an Actual Play podcast called Rude Tales of Magic, and binged its backlog obsessively whenever I was in the kitchen or out on a run. I'm now caught up and at a complete loss. This is the first Actual Play thing I've been able to really get into and I can't tell at this point whether it's opened the door to different ones or just created a singular hallway in my head that will admit no one but these very specific voices and their delightful dynamic. Anyway I love it!
  • Sarah Gailey invited me to do some impromptu worldbuilding for their newsletter feature Building Beyond! The prompt: "The global forest community has decided to cut off all economic and trading ties with the outside world. From now on, forest-based resources are for the forest alone." My mind went to mushrooms.
  • Stu and I have been haphazardly watching Columbo, and consequently I've learned that the actor playing Columbo is the same actor playing the grandfather in The Princess Bride, and my mind is completely blown.
  • We've also recently gotten into crossword puzzles, and after answering a few literary entries I declared it an ambition of mine to become the answer to a crossword clue. Well – on August 1, a friend showed me this from USA Today:
A partially filled in crossword grid; Across-58 reads "Canadian poet ___ El-Mohtar"

This is when a family member would say tloubeelik shi mallioun – more or less "ask for a million dollars while you're at it!"