The Case of the Never-ending Napkin

An odd psychosis appears to have afflicted our household and hampered our ability to throw out used napkins.

I have no answer for this.

To say that this happened and was known to me is, perhaps, true. The evidence is before me, here, as I sit. For on the counter it rests: a napkin of indeterminate age. That it has been used is, again, self-evident. Stains mark it and its once smooth lines are crumpled and haphazard. Further investigation reveals that catsup and mustard at one point were once fresh, but now are merely remnants of their former vitality.

I suppose the same could be said for the napkin itself.

One wonders at its lament.

In the beginning, it was a simple unassuming paper napkin, to be used and discarded in one fell swoop. But no more. Now it lingers in its inexorable decline. Sadness, that most human quality, shadows its existence. Shame wells within me, for I am responsible for its sorry state.

My wife stands next to me. “Is this the napkin thing?” she asked.

“It is and you’re just as complicite.”

“Fine,” she shrugs, “if it bothers you that much, I’ll throw it away.” And without so much as a care in the world, she pitches the napkin. “Feel better?”

“No,” I mumble.

“Then you’re on your own,” she tells me.

But things don’t change.

We continue to be trapped in the vortex of inability, with the decaying matter collecting the detritus of our meals and drinks until they are no longer identifiable as prim and proper paper napkins.

I wonder if this symbolic of Western decline.

It’s possible, I suppose, that there is no perfectly acceptable reason for our actions concerning the napkins, that it is nothing more than an odd quirk we picked up somewhere in our many travels both foreign and domestic. Perhaps some things are never properly understood.

©2019 David William Pearce

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