Posts from Pumpjack Press authors and contributors about culture, books, economic and social justice topics, history and more, with the occasional poem and short story.

Dear Cheese, I have to break up with you

Wait, don’t cry (even though your tears would be delicious little curds), you know its for the best.

Given how close we’ve been for so long, this probably seems like it’s coming out of the bleu (the one side of you I never really “got”) but you have to understand, it’s not because I don’t love you. Just think about all the good times we’ve had together. Some great times, actually.

You are so damn sexy and delicious, so easy on the taste buds. I love you in and on practically everything: quesadillas, garden-burgers, grilled cheese sandwiches, pizza, spaghetti, and did I say pizza?

Actually, it would probably be easier to list the things I <em>don’t</em> like you on: coffee. That’s pretty much it.

I know what you’re thinking — that it’s because of how horribly the cows are treated to get the milk that makes you, well, you. And you know I’ve been a vegetarian for 20 years now for ethical reasons — minimizing cruelty and all that noble stuff — and probably wondered how long we could keep this up. But that’s not it. You, fermented siren, you blind me to all that. You’re that good. When we’re together, I forget all about the factory farming and the hormones and the cruelty and the moon-eyed baby cows taken away from traumatized mothers.

The second I shake loose a loaded chip from a melted, cheddar-soaked mountain of nachos, I wouldn’t care if you were made out of baby unicorns. I would be quite happy gleefully ignoring the nagging pangs of conscience from here until my clogged arteries drag me into my taco coffin lined with shredded pepperjack.

So why, you ask, are we breaking up? It’s not you, it’s me.

Actually, that’s a lie. It’s totally you.

I can’t stand how high maintenance you are. So, so much water is required to grow the crops that feed the cows that make the milk that makes the cheese. How much? Too much. I went to a lecture the other night — damn you science — and the smug, over-informed scientist told me exactly how much water: 40 gallons. For two little slices. 40 gallons!

Seriously, I can’t be part of that. This is my favorite planet and it’s in real trouble with droughts and water shortages and the mad max future where we fight each other with barbed wire clubs just for a glass of rusty pipe water. I can’t let our love, our dysfunctional, obsessive love, drag things down for everyone else.

I don’t want this to get weird. And I don’t want it to get awkward. We are bound to run into each other socially, a lot — it seems like you are everywhere. But when we meet in public, let’s just smile and act like we’re cool together, maybe make some small talk and then go our separate ways. Here’s the thing: we can’t live together anymore. You can’t be here.  I can’t trust myself around you. It’s just too easy to fall back into old habits. I've already cleaned the fridge.

I’m going to miss you. I already do. But trust me when I say it’s for the best, because what we have now is just no gouda anymore.

Contributed by Clark Hays