A few weeks ago I wrote about my niece, Rachel Gundersen, and her dreadful skiing accident, but rather than share only the bad news, I’d like to introduce you to Rachel herself. I actually have a great many gifted quick-witted nieces and nephews, spawned from my pack of jovial sisters who will probably all proudly die with a healthy set of laugh lines. I cannot wait to smack covid out of the way so we can all once again gather to swap stories and take a look at the world through each other’s eyes. Fortunately for us, during the pandemic Miss Rachel recorded a bit of her 18-year-old perspective in a portfolio entitled Hoge-Podge and Silverware—A Collection of Works that Define My Personality, winning the Gold Key Award from the Alliance of Young Artists and Writers. Say hello to Rachel.
By Rachel Gundersen
There are foundational principles of human existence that remain unexplained; emotions that are too complex to describe. One of these is the ranking and segregation of spoons.
Be honest, if you were to walk over to your silverware right now, you would sort the spoons into one of three categories.
The first category is the mediocre spoons. Not bad, not good, just average. There is nothing spectacular about them but they don’t upset you or your culinary experience. The majority of your spoons will fall into this category.
The second group consists of your favorite spoons. These are optimal for your food consumption. They make cereal a delight and sipping soup a spectacular experience. You genuinely enjoy eating with these spoons and subconsciously go out of your way to use them.
The third and final category is the worst category, the devil category if you will. These spoons are the most uncomfortable, unnerving spoons that are in your house. They make you wonder why your parents bought them in the first place. When you eat with these kinds of spoons, you are mildly inconvenienced and momentarily disoriented by the utensil you are wielding. When I say mildly inconvenienced, I mean that on a scale from completely pointless to curing cancer, it lands at a solid 1.5. But, when it comes to eating Lucky Charms the wrong spoon might as well be a matter of life or death.
The point is that when it comes to eating with a certain spoon, it has the ability to make good days better and bad days worse. This brings us to my morning.
I had a late night attempting to teach myself calculus. I slept through my alarm and was now scrambling at 7:30 to get ready. I frantically got dressed while simultaneously packing my backpack and brushing my teeth. It looked like an opening scene to a movie. Miraculously, I got ready in the knick of time so I grabbed a cup of yogurt, made a mad dash for the spoons, chose one at random and sprinted the final leg to my car.
As I drove off, my sister opened up the yogurt so I could quickly eat it before we got to school. The second she handed me the spoon…I knew. I could feel the cheap silver and uncomfortable edges the moment I touched it. The devil spoon. This was the icing on top of the cake. My careless actions had led me to an unfortunate situation. All of my attention suddenly shifted to how much of a strain that spoon put on my life. The spoon was now the reason I had overslept. It was the reason I had to stay up late. The spoon had somehow managed to unleash a global pandemic and switched school to a hybrid schedule hence forcing me to learn calculus online. The spoon was the reason my day was going to be terrible and why life was against me. It was all the spoon’s fault.
Now, remember how I said that on a scale from completely pointless to curing cancer, it lands at a solid 1.5? Well, during the 7 minutes it took for me, my sisters, and the devil spoon to drive to school, I had experienced a whole gamut of emotions. But, by the time I had parked in the parking lot, I was completely over it. In the grand scheme of things, it was pointless but in the moment, my spoon was the only thing that mattered. Devil spoons will always be a small pebble on the road of life but in the moment, they might as well be bigger than Everest.