Buy Two Pies

in Hmm Weekly
on December 11, 2020

WHEN TIMES ARE good, buy two pies. The first pie will be your primary pie. Maybe pumpkin at Thanksgiving, or apple for the summer barbecue. There’s nothing wrong with satisfying expectations. The second pie is your change of pace. Maybe a cream pie to balance out a fruit pie, or a custard pie to offset a chocolate one. The second pie is just for you. Custom may make its demands upon you, but asserting your own agency can keep you from being trapped by the tyranny of expectations. 

When times are hard, buy two pies. It’s wrong to view this as overindulgence. The first pie is the obvious refuge for your sorrows, a place to surround and wall off your fears inside a flaky crust. The second pie is an act of stubborn optimism, an irreversible statement that things will change, and you will soon be luxuriating in an abundance of flavor. The devil will try to convince you that even one pie is more than you should hope for. It is your job to prove him wrong. 

When it’s time to celebrate, buy two pies. This way you can be sure there will be leftovers. Let your celebrations not be fleeting moments, but rather occasions that spool out languidly for several days, relived anew in your mind every time you cut a sliver of that remaining pie. Pie for breakfast is its own kind of party. Pie after lunch is a nod to life’s inherent deliciousness. Victorian mores call for modesty, Christian values call for shame. Put those away, and have some more pie. There’s plenty. 

When it’s time to mourn, buy two pies. Enveloped in the darker corners of the human condition, it is more important than ever to remember the good things in the world. Your journey up from the bottom of the deepest well of despair will be aided by the comforting knowledge that if you don’t feel like cherry pie, there is a Key Lime in the fridge as well. When it feels as though fate only takes what it wants from us, we must be reminded that there is also pie, which only gives. 

One pie is conformity; it meets minimal expectations, does just enough to get by, meekly welcomes guests before retiring back to bed. Two pies are lascivious; they take turns whispering ideas in your ear, always luring you to the lavish side of life. After you have polished off the last slice of one pie, seeing the refrigerator’s light fall upon the glimmering foil of the second affirms that the party is only beginning. The second pie is a shift in perception akin to transcendental enlightenment. It grabs you by your somnolent shoulders and yells, “There is always more!” 

The course of world events is indeterminable. All is plagued by randomness. At the smallest scale are quantum bits that we can never locate; at the largest scale is a universe accelerating into oblivion. We will live, and we will die. In the meantime, buy two pies.