Dear Indubitably Anti-capitalism Mayonnaise, (Letter #12)

by austin beaton

Dear Indubitably Anti-capitalism Mayonnaise,

I’m writing this from a Five Guys Burgers and Fries 33 minutes before they close. Have you ever been? Their whole thing is all toppings—from A.1. to grilled mushrooms to mayonnaise—are free. But my order is basic (a lettuce wrapped burger with bacon) because of weird food intolerances that make me itch and bloat and make me feel like I’m floating above myself.

I’m almost used to not getting to eat what I want. It’s been 12 years since the diagnoses started.

Like most children, I was a weird kid. Did you watch Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood growing up?

I just saw the documentary about him. A friend told me I’d cry. And I did.

It was peculiar sitting alone in the dark at 25 years old, watching moving images of a now-dead man that I used to wave goodbye to when my mom turned the TV off, locked the door and took me to daycare.

Mister Rogers was all about respectfully communicating with kids like they were full-grown humans. Instructing them to feel their emotions. Teaching them the reality of anger and death.

He was revolutionarily anti-capitalism when it came to children’s television—he saw how corporations would use loud and violent pictures to entice them into being the consumers they wanted. He even went before the Nixon administration and dissuaded them from cutting the 20 million dollar budget PBS had just been given by the last president.

Mister Rogers was trained in child development. He was always trying to understand what it meant to be human.

I think that’s why he’s unnerving to some, like Gandhi or even the idea of Jesus.

I’ve never met you. But I’ve heard you want to be a sex therapist? I think that’s kickass.

Sex, I’m sure as you know, is so human.

It’s so insane to me that I get to be anything, let alone a person. Every day walking around in this super monkey body that I never asked for. Wanting to eat and be accepted by other super monkeys.

How we all bear it is a tragedy and a celebration.

It took me a while to be able to articulate why I don’t kill myself. That’s what the world’s human community is, I guess—a planet of people who decide to keep living, or don’t.

My mom said when I was a boy I’d always write stories, draw pictures. But by elementary school art was something I rejected.

I suppressed thoughts that said I wanted to be a writer. How do I know that’s what I want? I’d ask myself.

But even if I did want to actually do it, I would fail. And then what would happen?

I didn’t answer myself back then. But I’m grateful I eventually chose to try and see it play out every day. It’s a privilege.

Is there anything about yourself you’re suppressing? Is it worth un-springing it to see what happens? Are there slightly different realities that you can open that will lead you a little bit farther into you?

Mister Rogers said we not only must we learn to accept failure, but to expect it.

It’s 4 minutes to closing—sometimes things do happen as we’d want them.

Be well,