I found two onion rings in my bag today, wrapped in a brown paper napkin. This is remarkable for many reasons, all of them unpleasant: for its alarming unsanitariness, for being uncouth, for being really kind of gross. And it’s also remarkable because I would not, in this world or in the next, wrap two onion rings in a brown paper napkin and stow them away in my purse.
You see, if for some reason I had gone entirely fucking mad and done something to my stomach, my poor, delicate stomamch, and eaten me some onion rings, and then when I was finished punishing myself for everything I had done wrong in this life and the next one and there were two left greasily glistening on the side of my plate and I was feeling kind of full and martyred out, I must stress that I would not have looked at them and recognized their future potential. I would not have thought, hey! Two onion rings! Can’t waste these babies! I would not have looked at them and thought, better save them for dessert! The pure profit involved in onion ring hoarding? Would not have occurred to me.
I am neither stingy nor economic enough, and I am also not gluttonous enough or sadistic enough to carry around two onion rings, wrapped in a brown paper napkin, for bus-waiting emergencies; for hunger pains that may strike like lightning in the restroom; for that hey, I’m in the Richmond district and sure would like a fried-oniony snack and hours of gas! kind of situation. Furthermore, it is the sad truth that I’m just not eccentric enough.
If two onion rings were still left standing, so to speak, at the end of the meal, I would have saluted them, tipped my plate into the trash, and gone on with my life, blithely, happily, serenely onion ring-less until the stomach pains struck. And it would have been a satisfying, if slightly painful life.
But here they are. At the bottom of my purse. Hello, onion rings.
I would also like to mention that I say "would have," back there, deliberately. Because, and this is another remarkable side note, I did not, in fact, eat onion rings today. I did not eat onion rings any time today, or any time yesterday, and Thursday? Was an entirely onion ring-less day. It is also a fact that this bag of mine was empty the day before, a gaping maw of empty nylon, because I had transferred everything over to the even larger gaping maw of nylon that is my gym bag. I would have noticed two onion rings, wrapped in a brown paper napkin, at the very bottom of either, very empty bag. I would have noticed onion rings pressed between the pages of Mrs. Dalloway, or caught in the spiral of my notebook, or wedged inside my compact. If there were onion rings wreathing my Maybelline Cherry Brown, I like to think I would have noticed.
I also know these are not my onion rings because I am not so much an onion ring fan. No, that’s a lie. I am a supporter of the kinds of onion rings that come from onions. The kind where a live onion was hunted, and wrestled to the ground and then hacked to pieces and rolled in breading, then fried alive in a big tub of bubbling lard. That’s the kind of onion ring I can get behind. Huge floppy loops coated in light and battery falling-off-the-onion breading involved. The kind of onion rings you eat at Edinburgh Castle, that come to you wrapped in newspaper, that you eat with a beer at your elbow and the jukebox playing while you gossip about your friends’ love lives. The kind of onion ring I can no longer eat. The kind of onion ring I now mourn.
These two onion rings, wrapped in a brown paper napkin, were not light, or batter-y, or floppy, and would have been thrown out of the bar for causing trouble. These two onion rings were not onion rings at all. They were iron onion bands. Leaden onion hoops, crusted, encased, sealed up in crunchy brown granite and likely to put an eye out. These are less onion rings, and more onion clangs. I would not have bought these, and I would not have eaten them. So there’s the mystery I have awoken to, then. Here is my life.
Are they a gift? Did someone look at me and think that girl could do with some onion rings! Are they a sign? Beware cholesterol, my child! Are they taunting me? Meditate upon what you can never again have, and suffer! Are they are warning? Use caution, for if you do not take care, like the battered onion so too will go your life!
Now that I’ve seen the onion rings, will I die in seven days?