jellyfish mechanic

This is just a short post to memorialize “Jellyfish Mechanic,” who wasn’t with us long.

We went away to Big Bear for a few days recently. We stayed in a cabin that looked like it had been decorated sometime in the Sixties by Don Draper’s less successful brother, and, as always seems to be the case in “vacation rentals,” the cookware was a fossil record of cheap purchases by the owner, random inheritances, and odd selections by previous guests.

Since our kid doesn’t usually get to play in the kitchen at home, he was very curious about the cabinets, and he soon dug out, from among the many Teflon pans and non-matching lids, a collapsible steamer basket.

If you don’t know what that is, it’s one of those things that many people have and hardly anybody uses, in part because if you want to steam broccoli, you can just throw it in a saucepan with a small quantity of water at the bottom for a few minutes. The water keeps the broccoli from burning, and by the time the water is gone, you need to take that shit off the stove anyway, before it turns into an unpalatable gray mush.

But theoretically, you could also use a collapsible steamer basket inside the saucepan, and this would enable you to… also steam some broccoli. It would come out like this:

That’s what it looks like when the basket is open. But in its fully closed position, it looks more like this:

Which, if you are like our kid, you will notice looks a good bit like the domed top of a jellyfish.

So he called it a jellyfish right out of the gate. And because the only other toys he had with him were his plastic construction trucks, the jellyfish fell (pretty naturally) into the role of mechanic for the trucks, changing tires and performing oil changes as needed.

(This may have been because he had to go with me to the mechanic for a bit of mid-trip brake repair. As you can imagine, hanging out in the lobby with me for a couple of hours was incredibly tedious for him… but when the car went up on the lift, he was mesmerized.)

Of course, at the end of the trip we had to leave the steamer basket at the cabin, and we said some formal goodbyes to Jellyfish Mechanic, and there were stirring speeches, and we pinned some medals on him and gave him a nice pension and promised to always remember his service. So I thought I would write this down, so we don’t forget, and so we could tell H. the story when he’s older. As St. Luke said,

Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses…. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

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