“When life gives you lemons” – A cliche updated for the Trader Joe’s Generation

27 Nov

Once upon a normal Monday morning, Penny started awake. Confronted with the accusatory red of her clock’s digital display, she lay back and sighed as the events of the past forty-five minutes slowly came back to her. Sort of. Establishing a clear chain of events was near-to-impossible, but it certainly was not beyond Penny’s still somewhat foggy cognitive skills to deduce that her phone alarm had fallen victim to overzealous touch-screen tapping and/or swiping.

6:30 am – the sinister digital glow cut into the pre-dawn gloom, and Penny casually observed to herself two things: first, Caribou was definitely not happening this morning as, second, she was usually in her car and driving to work by now.


Unhurriedly, Penny performed her morning ablutions and was pulling on her tights when she heard Sister remark, “Oh, Penny’s still here.”

“Turned off my alarm.”

Penny continued her efficient but not-rushed preparations and was just slinging her tote over her shoulder when the pounding began.

Her bedroom door burst open and Penny turned, bewildered, to find a slightly manic Sister waving crumpled green paper in her face. “The refrigerator door wasn’t shut properly – again – last night. You’ll have to buy yourself lunch.”


Agitated pounding once again sounded on the stairs as Penny looked down at the distorted face of President Andrew Jackson, mentally shrugged and grabbed her gym bag from the floor by the door. Hitting the light switch, she descended into chaos.

Leaving the twenty on the kitchen island, Penny opened the pantry, grabbed a carton of soup and tossed it into her lunch bag with a bowl, a spoon, and an apple.

Grumbles from the breakfast nook pierced her equanimity and Penny looked up into the venomous eyes of Sister. “I guess I’m going to have to go behind and check to make sure the refrigerator is shut now,” she huffed and puffed and blew her bangs out of her face.

“Mmmm. Well, bye!”

6:40 am – Penny sighed with relief as she slid into her car, turned on the heated seats and tuned to NPR.

7:40 am – Penny (SMS): I’m sorry if I was the one who left the refrigerator open – I think I was the last to pack my lunch. Either way, don’t worry about getting food for me – I’ll stop at the grocery on my way home.

7:42 am – Sister (SMS): It was BIL.


Penny: (See above)

Polly: Poor BIL.

Penny: I would not want to be BIL.

Polly: So what all did you lose?

Penny: ALL of everything because I am a vegetarian who eats perishables. BUT! This is a great excuse to go to Trader Joe’s and get that mango yogurt I like that Sister won’t buy.

Polly: Lemons —> Mango Yogurt?

Penny: A motto to live by.


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