I accidentally spilled a can of beans on myself today.
Normally, I would be more embarrassed that the stains look as though I soiled myself.
Yet I was more concerned how cliche it is for a homeless person to be eating a can of beans.
But I like beans, damnit.
In journalism school we were taught to avoid writing in cliches. Famously, William Safire in "Fumblerules," wrote "avoid cliches like the plague."
One of my favorite books is "The War Against Cliche" by Martin Amis, 2001. In it, he writes the war isn't in just writing but in manner of thought and the way life is lived. It's a great book and comes highly recommended.
In fact, it is the book that led me to one of my few great parenting moments. I asked my kid, when she turned 18, what was my best advice. She said, without hesitation, "Don't be a cliche."
I hope this moment makes it into a Hallmark movie at some point. It will be called "Sad Dad Christmas" and star Paul Giamatti as me.
Before getting into my current predicament, I regularly ate beans. It's not as though I've adopted the hobo lifestyle. (Although, on a couple of occasions, I have wrapped my laptop in a red kerchief, attached it to a stick and hopped the rails.)
Nor do I eat beans because I work for Mr. Taggert.
I wasn't eating some beans because I am transitionally homeless but because I like beans -- and not just the saccharine sweet baked beans in cans but all beans. Bean diversity. Fifteen bean soup is a celebration -- I add some kielbasa to it.
So if you are to judge, then make the judgment on my slovenliness. Not on a free choice of nutrition.
Peace and beans unto all of you my brothers and sister.
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