The Importance of Unicorns and Bratwurst. This is one of those ethereal, out-of-body titles that try to connect the cosmic to the ordinary, the magical to the mundane. I was hit by this title some time ago, not having a clue as to what it meant or what I would eventually write about. Even now, as my fingers hit the keys, I have no idea where this storyline is going. But isn’t that so much like our everyday lives?
We start out the week with the most noble of intentions. Perhaps we have a satisfying experience meditating Sunday morning, or are able to sleep in a couple of extra hours. Maybe our football team finally won a game. Nonetheless, our day is delightful, and we end the night feeling satisfied. All is right with the world, with our dreams and our desires.
This is the power of the unicorn. It is the magical sensation that connects earth and sky, dreams and reality, kids and parents. In this hazy-yet-authentic state, the world is a soft, mystical place, offering rewards and blessings at every turn. Our children clean their room without being asked; the washing machine doesn’t screech when spinning; even the movie we choose to watch had one of those feel-good endings. In the unicorn state the world holds unlimited possibilities. You could actually lose those ten pounds or finally clean off your desk, or even finally start reading that novel you bought five months ago. You are still based in reality, but the remnant good feelings are enough to move you towards the light and find satisfaction in the simplest things.
Monday comes along, a tough day for many. A majority of us will drudge our way to work, blinking at the shortness of the weekend, and find our nine-to-five groove again. Tuesday seems to be a lot harder than Monday. Our failure to go to bed early over the weekend now is catching up with us, along with laundry that has mysteriously piled up and the bills we swear we mailed yesterday. Our favorite TV show is coming on too late for us to watch with any coherency, and the last tape we saved to record said-TV-show was used to record a football game that everyone knows we lost.
Wednesday is hump day and we wonder just who is doing the humping. Our resolve not to eat ten chocolate chip cookies in a row is weakening; our commitment to walk a mile or two after work is being thwarted by thunderstorms or ice storms or plagues of locusts. We can never get our hair to do what our hairdresser did; our plans to cook Coq a Vin has gone by the wayside, seeing as the chicken is still frozen and we don’t have any red wine in the house to cook with anyway.
Thursday creeps into our lives with a thread of hesitancy. After all, school has scheduled your son’s basketball game at the same time as your daughter’s piano recital, both of which are at the same time as your bowling league, which is at the same time your other favorite TV show is on, which you would have recorded had the football game not taken up the whole tape.
By Friday your resolutions are out the window along with that novel you can’t choke down anymore, and your thoughts try to center, not on what has been, but what will be. The weekend is coming; that means a thousand activities shoved into a mere 48 hours. It means going to visit your mom on the way to dropping off your kid at the mall, fighting the Saturday morning free-sample crowds at the grocery store, and coming home to an overanxious dog who just dumped the garbage all over the kitchen floor. It is hoping the video store still has a copy of that brand new movie that everyone is talking about but you, and trying to decide whether to cook a gourmet meal or just throw sausages on the grill.
This is the bratwurst part, the raw-meat-of-reality part. Bratwurst is a wonderful German sausage, filled with flavor and spices and grilled to perfection. How metaphoric that little pocket of meat and fat is! It is the answer to all the cosmic questions in life! It fulfills the need for sustenance (it is a food group), it nurtures your creative side (sauerkraut? Mustard? Hot or German?) It is available in abundance (you can buy them in three pound boxes), and it affords you the freedom of choice (10 minutes on the grill; burble them in beer and onions for 15 and grill for five; slice them up and fry with potatoes for 20).
How clear it all becomes! This little sausage is the answer to all metaphysical speculation, the answer to who we are and why we are on this planet. It is tasty and filling, satisfying those inner child needs and outer kid bravados. It ties the madness of the week up into a link that goes down easy and can be burped out in a satisfying form later through the night. It is the spice of life.
I never thought of unicorns and bratwursts as the symbols for Life; I always thought that symbol was that little stick person with the big egg head. Now that I have been enlightened, I can see that symbol does look like someone celebrating the bratwurst of life, arms out, joyous and all encompassing.
And the unicorn part?
I’m not quite sure, but I will ask the one standing behind me after I find out if he wants sauerkraut on his bratwurst.