The Secret Ingredient


Intention. It’s the heart of every act – the secret ingredient. Know what it is and you can’t go wrong; fool yourself and you’ll get what you really asked for anyway. For instance, my husband and I didn’t marry for love – we were too morbid for that. I married him because he offended me with his crude sense of humor. Plus, we both listened to hellish music and loved beer.


Twelve years later, we sound like a couple of truck drivers as we drag ourselves out of bed at five in the morning to do suicide jumps, complaining about the horrible workout music – all to keep our guts from reaching whale status. Modern day honeymooners. Bang-zoom-to the effin’ moon.


I have to say, until I had children, figuring out other people’s intention was not my forte. It could be as plain as the mole on their face and I would hold out for some noble, underlying motive. I was once that idiot who would scrounge around my pocketbook forever for a pan-handler asking if I had any spare change. My husband, on the other hand would say, “Yeah, I have plenty,” and walk away.


Children, with their innocence and their inexperienced lying, especially my guys – always make it clear – get the object of their desire. At all costs. Everybody’s expendable – most of all…siblings. Besides, what could be more noble than a straight line to having your needs met, right? And just because they’ve learned how to look like they’re suffering from an excruciating broken heart, doesn’t mean I have to fall for it. At least not every time.


They don’t fool me. Maybe one day they will – but not today. I know what their intentions are and to be fair, I do a daily check on my own. When I’m scrounging for cash (because you know I ain’t gonna ask my husband for spare change) just to get a lousy haircut, I do remind myself. Why we’re on a low budget; why I deal with haggard hens who’s sole purpose is to be a nuisance; why I’m mutating into the obatarian I vowed I’d never be – because I didn’t want to get a dog.

Obatarian, by Katsuhiko Hotta