Our Schwan’s man isn’t – he is a she. She’s really cute and perky and blonde and wears blue eye shadow. I like her. She’s hard to say “no” to. Well, for me, any Schwan’s sales person is hard to say “no” to. This person, this hard working person, drives most of the day in a lonely, big truck, comes to your door and asks you if you need anything. They are standing at your door, looking you in the eye, holding a catalogue that has absolutely every bad food item under the sun, and they are literally inches away from you, close enough for a hug. There isn’t even a sales counter to separate you. How could you say “no?” I can’t. Kriner has taken over the Schwan’s sales, because I am way too soft. Now, under Kriner’s guidance, we’re usually good for a rainbow sherbet every two weeks.
One time, back when we had a Schwan’s man, I ended up with a case of Cordon Bleus and another case of Chicken Kievs. Seriously. How the hell did that happen? What the hell was I thinking? Well, our Schwan’s man at the time was missing a few teeth, and he looked a little down on his luck. (Note to future Schwan’s reps…go ahead and skimp on the dental work, because it could really pay off.) It was absolutely impossible for me to say “no” to him, and he totally had my number.
The fact that I ordered all this meaty, cheesy food is made even more ridiculous when you realize/remember my husband is vegan and we don’t eat meat in our house. Here I was, with 48 pre-packaged dinners that we would never in a million years eat, or even let into our microwave for fear of contamination. Do you know what kind of meat is in the Schwan’s Cordon Bleu and Chicken Kiev? Rib meat. That’s what is says on the ingredients. Rib meat. It doesn’t say what animal the rib meat came from, just rib meat. It could be dog rib meat for all I know. Maybe even human. Say it a few times, I bet you giggle. Rib meat. Rib meat.
Get this, I tried to give them away. Turns out, there aren’t a lot of takers for Schwan’s Chicken Kiev or Cordon Bleu. I think I slapped a ribbon on the boxes, dropped them off on my friend Michelle’s porch, rang the door bell and ran away. (Merry Christmas, Michelle! Hope you enjoyed them!)
One time, in the dead of winter, we were having a cozy night at home. Em was asleep, Kriner was in his pajamas, and we were chilling in front of the fire. It was really cold out, and we were snug in our little house as the wind whipped. Then we heard it…the truck down the street.
Liz- “Sh*t…it’s the Schwan’s man.”
Kriner – “You are NOT buying anything. Seriously, what’s next? Sirloins? Ham? We don’t need anything.”
Liz – “But he’s missing teeth! You do it. You answer the door.”
Kriner – “Forget it, I’m in my pajamas. Just say ‘no.’”
Liz “Kriner, come on. It’s so cold out. What if we got a bread bowl or something? They carry those now.”
Kriner – “Liz, it’s bad food. Besides, we don’t need anything. Just tell him that.”
Liz – “I don’t think I can.”
Kriner – “Fine, turn off the lights.”
We turned off the lights and the tv and stared at each other, in shame, as we heard the truck pull up. That’s the kind of person I had become; I was hiding from the Schwan’s man. The sound of the truck door opening and slamming shut could barely be heard through the sound of the wind. “I’m a bad person…” I thought to myself. The knock on our door followed. Instinctively, I dropped to a squatting position with my arms out, as if I was expecting to fight off an attack. Kriner rolled his eyes and whispered, “Just don’t answer it. It’ll be fine.” We sat there, for what seemed like hours, waiting for him to drive off. After an eternity, we heard him climb back in the truck, and I breathed a sigh of relief. However, my fears returned when the truck failed to start. Yeah, that’s right. He sat there in his truck, waiting for us. There we were, in the dark, sans lights or tv for over 15 minutes while that son-of-a-bitch waited us out. At one point Kriner stated “this is ridiculous” and moved to turn on the lights. “Noooo!” I cried, knowing that if we turned on the lights, we would be found out. Stupid guilt. Look where it leads! Eventually, he drove off. However, what should have felt like a victory was hollow. I was ashamed. We certainly could have managed one bread bowl.
I was at a writer’s meeting for a show Big Top Chautauqua was putting together with some folks who are way, way, funnier and smarter than I am. Not to name drop, but Michael Perry (you know, New York Times bestselling author and humorist Michael Perry? Yeah, him) and Jimmy Kaplan (he wrote the music for a little show called Guys On Ice) were at the table, literally and figuratively. “Out of my league” pops into my head at this moment. So what did I do? What every insecure idiot would do! I started pitching any funny thing I had ever thought of throughout my entire life. At the time, I thought I was amazing; looking back on it, not so much. Michael was quiet, kind and patient and Jimmy thought I was on drugs. At one point I pitched “what about a Schwan’s sketch?” Michael perked up. We started brainstorming… Jimmy found an actual Schwan’s ap on his phone which I still find amusing. I had gained a little respect from the men in the room. That’s right…the chick can represent. At the end of the brainstorm, Michael Perry, the guy who wrote Coop, Truck: A Love Story, and Population 485 asked me if he could write the Schwan’s sketch. Normally, I get selfish with my ideas and like to flesh sketches out myself, but in this case, I was honored. Not only did he write them, but they were great. I’m kind of proud of that, proud of the work I didn’t do.
Last night the Schwan’s lady drove up, but we had to dash to a soccer game. She handed me a catalogue, and with her usual smile said “I’ll see you in a few weeks!” As I was flipping through it in the car, my eyes spied that bread bowl. Hmmmm.