During the first couple of months after I retired, my husband and I were driving each other nuts, what with me wanting him to eat healthier and live longer and then his raging indifference to my loving intentions. So, I thought, fine, you want to die, let’s get this show on the road, and I gave him “Bacon of the Month Club” for Christmas.
He would receive a monthly shipment of bacon for three months courtesy of Zingerman’s. I would have done the whole year, but that seemed too obvious.
I like bacon, but most of the time, I’m like, no thanks, I’ve already had cancer. Until delicious specialty pork products started arriving at the door, I wasn’t even tempted. But now there was pressure.
The first shipment was a pound of Nueske’s applewood smoked bacon from Wisconsin. The package included a keepsake binder with articles about bacon and the people who make it, “A Pocket Book of Bacon” and a pig magnet for the refrigerator.
At first I would only eat one piece, and I said we can never have this more than once a week. Then I said, oh, two pieces won’t kill me, but never, never more than once a week. And then I said, oh, what difference does it make if we eat it twice a week? We’re all going to die anyway.
In hindsight, I can see bacon helped us bond through a challenging transition in our lives. Whatever was going on – me in bed at night, worrying about what happens if the North Koreans bomb us and ruin my retirement and him worrying about me being awake worrying about North Korea.
But then it’s morning, the sun is glorious, the birds are chirping and wait, what is that other sound? Could it be the siren call of bacon?
One morning I took a picture of two simple slices of bacon on a plate and posted it on my Instagram account. I don’t get tons of Instagram traffic, but bacon is my most popular post to date. I look at the number every couple of weeks, and I report to Dale that bacon, of all my posts, is still in the lead. He laughs every time. The picture of me bald after chemotherapy is a heart-tugging second, but it’s not bacon.
We’re adjusting to our new lifestyle. I gave up pestering him about what he eats. Besides, he kind of came around on his own. Our membership in Bacon of the Month Club had expired, and one day he said, you know, that was fun, but we shouldn’t eat so much bacon.
I let him think it was his idea – a trick I learned at work.
Donna Pekar is an aging badass (for real) who lives in California and writes Retirement Confidential.