Just before ten o'clock this morning, our front door buzzer buzzed. I was a little reticent to answer it, because I am normally at work on a Monday, and I was in a disgraceful state of unbathedness. Also, nobody ever spontaneously decides to come around to our house in the morning, if at all. My curiosity got the better of me, though, so I threw on some pants and ran down the stairs to see who it was.

It was woman in a brown UPS uniform. It is a highly unflattering uniform on a feminine body. It's no wonder that UPS has almost no images of their employees on their website. I checked out some online stores selling uniforms, and most uniforms come in two styles: males and unisex. I personally don't mind the idea of work uniforms, because it saves you a bundle when you don't have to buy work clothes, but do uniforms have to look like retrofitted military laundry bags?

When I opened our building's front door, she was studying the top of a package, shaping her mouth around syllables that she was trying out before having to embarrass herself by saying them out loud.

Are you Shmoot... Shmoo... Shmooooozey? she asked.

Um, yeah, I know it's a weird name. It's Schmutzie.

Is this your name?

Kind of. It's more of an online moniker.

And Pickles? That's a last name?

Well, kind of. I have a website, and I don't use my real name. I was starting to feel like the biggest nerd this side of the international date line, because she had her face screwed up in this I-am-not-laughing-no-really-I'm-not kind of way. She kept pursing her lips into a kiss, because every time it was my turn to talk she went back to forming her mouth around Shmoozey.

So, this is your package?

Yes. There's no ID for this sort of thing. This happened to me at the post office once, too. Really, I know it's weird, but I am Schmutzie Pickles.

Okay, Shmoooooozey. You're Shmoozey?

Yeah, yeah, that's it. I'm Shmoozey. Can I sign for that now?

She somewhat reluctantly handed over the LCD signature equipment thingy, and I signed for the package.

You didn't write "Shmoozey Pickles". Are you Shmoozey Pickles?

Yes! I am Shmoozey online. I have this website that I run anonymously, so I took this other name, but don't I have to sign for things with my real name?

At this point, she seemed to think it was better to ignore me. She probably just wanted quit of a situation that was not going to make any more sense to her than it already was.

Have a nice day, Shmoozey, she said while handing me my package.

I can't really blame her for her disbelief. I am starting to wonder about the security of our postal and delivery systems, though. Both times that I have had to receive packages directly from postal employees, they have been less than convinced that I was this so-called Schmutzie Pickles, but without any evidence whatsoever, they have handed over the packages. I am glad that they do in my case, but that's a tad worrisome.

my new butter bellThis is what just arrived at my door. A BUTTER BELL, THE BUTTER DISH OF MY DREAMS, WAS HANDED TO ME FIFTEEN MINUTES AGO. I have already taken it out of its box and carressed it and experienced its natural coolness, and I need to know: which lovely person out there has gifted me so generously?

Seriously, this makes me feel like one of those grown-ups with slightly elitest kitchens that actually know stuff about good food and what wine goes with what kind of dish. Even when I was a little kid, I thought those grown-ups were so cool, and I loved to go through their kitchen drawers to see what sort of overly-specific tools they had. We never had anything like measuring spoons or lemon zesters or garlic presses at my house, so it seemed like there was this whole other world of shiny, hand-sized technology just outside my reach.

Now I can say "my butter bell", and when someone wants to know where I keep the butter, I can tell them that it's over there on the kitchen counter in the butter bell, and when I make toast, which ranks very highly in my personal food hierarchy, I can butter it more successfully than ever before, because I now have my butter bell over there on the kitchen counter.

Whoever you are, you lovely soul who has bestowed upon me the joy of the butter bell, thank you thank you thank you. It is yellow and good in my sight, and you are also good in my sight, but maybe, and very hopefully, not so yellow. Without you, my butter was doomed to wander from disposable container to disposable container, hard and floor-linty and less loved.

les murray

"The Butter Factory" by Les Murray