I have a list. I think it’s complete.
1. To love.
2. To be loved.
3. There is no 3.
To be honest, there is no 2: to be loved is inconsequential. Even 1 is secondary to staying alive, but when we can achieve it, 1 is the list. Picture this trivial scene: we have wasted hours in the rain standing beside cheese that isn’t selling, on a plaza, near a parking lot, in a suburb, at a mall. Speaking for you, we are diminished when we fail to unite cheese with cheese-eaters to benefit the cow, the grass, and the sun; rain, bacteria, and enzymes; the farmer, the monger, the merchant, the merchandiser, the purchaser, the consumer, several species, and the culture. Beyond being employed by a cheese maker, we love what cheese can mean: milk made safe, then made long-lived, then rendered exquisite through craft, which is cultural genius. But we’re selling nothing while segments of beautiful rounds imperceptibly rot, dry, weep, and mold. Our engagement ends, as it were, without a wedding, and so we pack the truck with jilted brides. But Mrs. Kim returns. “I sampled a cheese,” she says. “Which one was it? I want some.” We’re wet, forlorn, and in no way will benefit from Mrs. Kim, but you’re evolved. Your head turns toward her, but you see cars in the lot. Where else on billions of planets, you wonder, are cars? Nowhere. When other than now have creatures discerned the beauty of bent metal (or the flavors of milk made solid)? Never. We’re alone. You drag out the cooler, dig in the bin, lay out sample cheeses, offer the fragile wonder of life on earth to Mrs Kim, without ever consulting “The List” because if you live it, you don’t need it.

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