It was an invitation to lunch.
When I heard the name of the restaurant, I had doubts, but it was too late to get out of it. I met my friend, looked at the menu and ordered something that looked like a popular entrée.
We were served and I dug in, spirited to try something new. I took one bite and dropped my fork. My friend asked, “What’s wrong?”
“I’m too Springfield for this,” I said.
“Too Springfield. I’m too Springfield for this.” Naturally, he was curious to know what “Too Springfield” meant. That is, outside of the fact that it’s a phrase I coined myself since I was born and raised in…Springfield. The one in Ohio.
So, what does it mean? Boiled down, I am “too Springfield” for anything pretentious or unpractical. If it’s flashy, overdone, unnecessary, ridiculous, complicated or useless, I’m bored.
For example, the child of a Hollywood celebrity recently bought a $100,000 handbag and destroyed it on television for her reality show.
I’m too Springfield for that. First, it’s outrageous to spend that kind of money on a purse, and I would never destroy an accessory with a chainsaw unless it was an item given to me by an ex-boyfriend. That’s how we get down in Val’s hometown.
I was too Springfield to consider a trip on the “Titanic Memorial Cruise” this past April. The cruise took place on a modern ocean liner and followed the precise route of the ill-fated ship. First, no one travels from England to New York by boat anymore, it takes longer than flying and there are no interesting ports to visit in between. Second, to dress in period costumes and make a maritime disaster the theme of one’s vacation just isn’t a nice way to remember the tragic death of 1,500 people.
I’m too Springfield for plastic surgery, rock-climbing, get-rich-quick schemes, Scientology, veggie burgers or meditation therapy. I don’t “exfoliate,” I scrub my dirty face. I don’t choose friends who “develop my spirit,” I hang out with cool people. I don’t “have a dialogue,” I talk to people. And, if I come across makeup in the store with a label printed in English and French, I realize that it must be a marketing gimmick because authentic imports would never go for 97 cents in a department store.
Plus, I don’t care what kind of makeup a French woman wears because I don’t see a French woman in my mirror.
This is not a dismissal of new ideas, culture, technology or progress. Being “too Springfield” is not equal to ignorance or stupidity and it certainly doesn’t mean that Springfield natives don’t bathe or read and can’t find a dentist.
It means enjoying the simple things because they matter the most. The love and attention of a parent is far more valuable than a six-figure purse. You can have your own long and luxurious vacation over a three-day weekend by inviting friends and family to a barbeque in your own backyard.
And, plastic surgery got its name for a reason. Pump your body full of synthetics and you’ll look more like the inflated playground at the county fair than the movie star you’re trying to resemble. Embrace aging and get over it, wisdom is far more powerful than beauty. I’ve always said that I’d much rather be smart than beautiful.
Then my DNA replies, “No shit, I already took care of that. You’re welcome.”
Simple things, simple pleasures, but no simple mind. That’s Springfield, that’s me.
By the way, I was “too Springfield” for my lunch entrée because it didn’t contain enough of my own diet’s staple ingredients: beef, garlic, cheese, potatoes, pasta or fudge-brownie ice cream. That’s not a Springfield taste, it’s an Eastside Springfield preference where we don’t bathe or read and can’t find a dentist.