Paul Perilli


caseous\key-see-uhs\ adjective
     1.   Of or like cheese.

And you have a cheese free day too. If that’s possible. Here out west, traveling in New Mexico, piling some of my favorite Southwestern foods into my mouth, it’s a wonder the blood in my veins continues to flow at a pace that lets me get on to the next meal. Enchiladas, burritos, huevos rancheros, tostadas, dishes with basically the same ingredients reconfigured, cheese being the binding agent, the common denominator in all of them, and not the least common denominator. Cheese and more cheese. Bubbling and congealing. Succulent fermented fungus, with a high content of fat and protein. A yellow blob slowing to a standstill in my GI tract. It has me feeling cheesy, not cheap or tacky, though I might also be those, but like a giant coagulating Velveeta melt (to give a nod to the “like cheese” part of the definition). I never forgot the trip I made to Philadelphia a while back, where I stood in line at a famous cheese steak outfit and heard the guy in front of me order a large with extra cheese. Asking for extra cheese on a large Philly cheese steak is like asking for a second freight train to run you over. You’re already a goner, it matters not. Of course cheese has other usages. It’s also a bit of baseball lingo, as in, “he’s throwing some serious cheese out there.” In other words, he has a damn good fastball. Though if you throw too much “high inside cheese” the plate umpire might direct a finger toward the dugout and insist you get yourself an early shower. When did that get started anyway? Cheese as a moniker for a fastball. Could it have been at a time when cheese was scarce? Rare as a 98 mph heater? Hard to believe, I know, since there’s so much of it now. Over twenty million metric tons produced worldwide each year. It’s put on waffles. Dripping from medium rare hamburgers. Stuffed in the crusts(!) of pizza. I see there’s even a recipe for a cream cheese mask for dry skin. All kinds of uses for all kinds of cheeses. Cheddar and gouda and feta and brie. Blue and provolone and limburger and goat. Soft cheese, hard cheese, stinky cheese you may not want to cut in public. Cheese galore. Cheese cheese everywhere and all of it to eat. Yum. Yum.

     1.   Insincere speechmaking by a politician intended merely to please local constituents.
     2.   Insincere talk; claptrap; humbug.

Au courant these words of the day senders are. Just a beautiful word. The dictionary has so many of them. And this is one. Insincere speechmaking by politicians is so present tense. Though it doesn’t require a great imaginative leap to think it’s always been that way. Even if what’s going on nowadays feels extraordinary. Past the point when putting out a little b.s. for the voters back in Buncombe County, North Carolina, or any county anywhere, would get much attention. It’s unlikely to get a roll of the eyes now, never mind a dictionary entry. Everyone’s doing it. The birds. The bees. Even educated fleas. So much so I’m thinking we may have crossed over into a post bunkum environment. We may be beyond bunkum. That’s right, your average dole of claptrap might be passé. Over with. We’re used to it like we’re used to wearing shoes. That’s all you got for me? Some puny insincere crap to try to trick me with? To distract me from the important stuff. Nevertheless, in these inglorious days if you’re not humbugging you’re probably on the other side of winning. Like those folks that work hard and pay taxes and obey the law. Who won’t reach out and grab a hunk of chocolate cake whenever they get the urge. There’s a lot of that going around. Not chocolate cake. We’re all done with those idyllic times when Kings and Queens would dispense some to the wider populace to keep them from raiding their palaces. And if not that, then to let them believe if they’re good obeying members of society some will be on the way. But alas, there’s no going easy on we the people. These days the chocolate cake eaters gorge themselves with impunity. They don’t even pretend to want to share. And they seem pretty sure we’re all right with that. Which suggests the time to storm the polling booths en masse is as imperative as ever.

Paul Perilli writes: "Other words of the day of mine have appeared in The Satirist (psephology), Thema (gauche), The Blotter (narcotize), The Transnational (diktat, frisson, meliorism), and Redemption (gallavantriloquism), an anthology."
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