Tuesday night I used the LAST match in the house to light Hanukkah candles and I made a mental note to go out and buy a match book ….however, because it was only a MENTAL note – not a WRITTEN one that I should have safety pinned to my sweater the way my mother did when I was in Pre-K and she had to communicate with the teachers – EONS before email and cell phones were even a concept in Steve Jobs 8 year old mind- I, of course, forgot to pick up some more (even though I had been into Publix at least 3 times this week- which seems to be the case here and raises the question why am I ALWAYS in Publix yet my kids complain that because I don’t cook we seem to never have anything to eat in the house???)
So in an effort to save time and multitask (I had to pee too) I stopped into a ritzy restaurant (where I knew the bathrooms would be sanitized up to my public restroom standards) and asked for a matchbook. You would have thought I was a Time Traveler from Studio 54 in the year 1979 the way the hostess looked at me in bewilderment…..matches ??? In THIS day and age!
When I swore to her it was for Hanukah candles – NOT smoking in her prestigious food establishment – she continued to stare me down with a disdainful look as if to imply with her excessively eye-shadowed laden eyes (not that I’m one to talk about eye makeup- i cake it on before the gym at 6 am) and said “How DARE you SMOKE in MY restaurant “. Or maybe i was just thinking that she would have said that because I was just being paranoid that she was really thinking that I had nerve to come in JUST to use the bathroom when the sign clearly says
“ For Patrons Only”
Getting back to the matches…
When I was a kid I used to go to my best friends “RICH” grandparents house (back then – anyone who drove a Cadillac and lived in a big house seemed “Rich”!) and play in their basement….back in the 70’s it was so cool to play in a “finished” basement that had wood paneling and a REAL STOCKED bar! Her grandpa had a pool table and dart board and the feeling I got every time I descended down those stairs was probably the closest I would come at that age to walking into a casino in Vegas.
The maraschino cherries in his (working) refrigerator under the bar was enough to make me dream up various games like being a restaurant owner and I would make Ken and Barbies drink orders….which was probably considered THE coolest thing ever when you’re 7 in 1978.
But the point of this nostalgia is – on the bar he had a fancy bowl filled with all different kinds of matchbooks with the name of every “Fancy” restaurant in town. He even had some from ”fancy” restaurants in OTHER cities.
Now, being a country bumpkin Chicago girl, my biggest trip in life back then was when we’d pack up the family station wagon and drive to Wisconsin to go Go Carting –
Oh yeah, THIS bar was super cool and super FANCY.
SO what happened to the prestige of it all? Why don’t restaurants give out keepsake matchbooks any longer as SWAG??? Why is it that I have to walk into 6 restaurant s and NONE of them carry matchbooks????? But ALL of them carry the Good hygiene rule of serving up toothpicks?!!! (seriously, WHO picks their teeth in public – let alone FANCY restaurants???)
I actually stopped into a GAS station to pick up a book of matches -thinking GAS stations of course would have every single kind stocked with their matching $100,000,000 cigarettes but NO! EVEN GAS STATIONS don’t carry matchbooks!! Seriously? what has this world come to?
We can buy porn in every Bodega but no matchbooks for Hanukkah candles????
I finally had to settle for the good old reliable BIC liter to light my holiday lights, which somehow feels so….
What do I know?… I was just a kid, but back in the late 70’s and early 80’s, matchbooks just had a RICHER vibe… didn’t they?
I wonder if this connection I have to matchbooks is caused by the neurological concept of NEUROassociation – where the brain associates an incident, or activity to a positive or a negative feeling…..I suppose I have a warm and fuzzy feeling of my childhood playing with my BFF’s grandpas bar (Maybe that’s why I don’t mind when my kids order up and call me “Carla” from Cheers!)
Either way, I certainly wish I had played more of: “Exercise and eat broccoli” as a kid!!
Happy Hanukkah to all!!