I bought our set of flatware in the days preceding our wedding in 1998. Those were the days in which *I* was gainfully employed and Retrogrouch was a graduate student, so I flung my money around, partying like it was 1999. All right, I didn’t: I was a garage sale aficionado. I found a practically new 12-place set of perfectly respectable but lower-end stainless Oneida flatware, plus all the relevant serving pieces, at a garage sale down the street from our house. They were getting married, too, but had scored a better set in the gift frenzy. It was $25, one of the best bargains of my garage sailing days.
So it was with a small twinge of regret that I realized, in the twilight of the next decade, that I had somehow lost half of my dinner forks and half of my salad forks, and quite a few spoons. How does this happen? My servants have background checks, or surely they’d nick such a valuable commodity.
But regardless of the cause, the six forks were a problem. Could I combine the salad forks and dinner forks and have a dozen that way, assigning the small ones to my shorter friends? Or women? Would it be better to discriminate on appearance or retrench the patriarchy? And let’s face it, thought I, we rarely have dinner parties for twelve. If necessary, Retrogrouch and I could use the salad forks, martyrs for the cause of matching guests, and we could sneak one to one of the math people, since they don’t notice stuff like that.
(Concerns like these are precisely why I haven’t finished my dissertation.)
When I saw the sets of Dansk flatware, a much nicer grade than my old set, silvery and new, at our local reject home goods store, I knew I had to make my move. Sure, I would have to pay $63 for 12 sets of five pieces (without the dessert spoons or serving pieces), and thereby acknowledge my bargain-hunting skills have softened in my old age, but it was time. We all have to move on.
So now I have the shiny for Thanksgiving. And I’m almost senselessly pleased.