MY LITTLE FRIDGE IS GROWING UP

My fridge would represent the best of me. My fridge would have purpose.

INSIDE: Cranberry Juice leftover from New Year's Eve. OUTSIDE: Postcards from Paris, Lisbon, Da Nang and Oman. INSIDE: An empty pepperoncini jar housing brine for a spicy dirty martini yet to be made. OUTSIDE: A "Will poop your likeness" magnet from late night shopping in a Tennessee Walmart. INSIDE: Coconut coffee from my sister in Monterey (which makes for the best Sunday late morning). OUTSIDE: Magazine cut-outs of Lance Bass, James Van Der Beek and Colin Firth (an ex-boyfriend memorial). INSIDE: An empty egg-beaters carton. And then, OUTSIDE, something new: two one of a kind pieces of original fingerwork painted just for me, by Ethan and Liam O'Brien.

I never really liked the fridge decor in my parents house, although their fridge was always full. The doors were doused in magnets spouting 80s lady sayings like "I keep trying to lose weight, but it keeps finding me," or "Good friends are like shoes, you can never have enough," or "Life without pizza is no life at all" (which I guess isn't really a lady saying, but nonetheless). It was like Cathy comic strip central with the exception of a couple of Far Side comics I may have been too young to understand (I was a naive seventeen). But, at seventeen, when preparing to move out and have a fridge of my own, I swore I would never dress him in Comic Strip or Real Estate Agent Face. My fridge would represent the best of me. My fridge would have purpose. He would never wear something he just happened upon. He'd only don pieces that expressed depth, beauty and guaranteed a laugh.

In my twenties, I collected couture for my fridge. His purpose was to track a filling in of the blanks: Who was he? Who did he want to be? He was shrouded in Brezny horoscopes, Pollack and Rothko postcards and museum map covers, and scenes from the Tuscan countryside. As I entered my thirties, my fridge began to lose focus and feel neglected. Sadly, his outerwear was no longer a priority. Even my own attire became less expressive. Suddenly everything new came from the Gap: Khaki pants with an old concert-tee or performance fleece and a pair of old "plorts" (plaid shorts...use it, spread it). The ages were colliding. I mismatched items recently purchased in an era in which I could care less about outward personal expression with items from days of old, when I struggled to let the world know "I am Jon because in someway my shirt and shoelaces say so!" Lost. Spinning in my thirties.

And then, one day, not so long ago, it happened. A manila envelope, bearing "Do not bend" on his sleeve, arrived at my door. I sock skated across the hard wood floor into the tile rink of my kitchen, as you excitedly do when faced with non-bill-related mail. I yanked a butter knife from the drawer to slit Manila's paperthroat, and pulled out two crinkly, strong pages. As I stared down at what my hand held, I got a chill. I knew exactly who these were meant to dress. I grabbed two purely-functional, non-expressive magnets from my fridge with speed, wiped away the Van Der Beek headshot and Dollywood portrait and placed the original O'Brien brothers hand painted works of genius on my fridge.

Never had I seen anything that expressed such freedom. There were no brush-strokes. The color (purpleypinkred) was not deliberate. It was as if haphazard was the only way to create beauty, to define and preserve joy! My fridge has finally settled into his purpose. He is the proud gallery for budding 2 year old artists Ethan and Liam O'Brien of Monterey, California (my nephews). This artistic duo offers such insight, such curiosity and such universal inspiration. From now on, my fridge will only wear O'Brien.

This week, a new familiar envelope arrived. The summer line for my fridge: the boys are learning about blue.

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