Jeff Phillips: Peanut Butter Spoon

You introduced me to what is known as a peanut butter spoon when we moved in together, when my utensils stacked up in the same silverware tray as yours, and you pointed out my old tea stirring spoon, you said “this will be a perfect peanut butter spoon.” Its stem is long, its bowl is shallow and narrow, petite, the right size for scooping a dollop of peanut butter out of the jar. Creamy, sometimes crunchy, sweet and salty, snacking on peanut butter is a boost and I’ll gladly partake when you occasionally hold out the spoon to me, offering to share a small bite. Though bite isn’t the right word? More like a dissolving? The peanut butter sort of gets absorbed by the spirit of the tongue, wouldn’t you say?

When I pull you close to me I like to call you my peanut butter spoon, because it sounds cute, and because the way you nestle into my arms, makes me think of this thing that stood out in a box of spoons, and makes me think of how you made the connection and made a move right away, as if the inevitable fell into place. When couples cuddle up and contour to one another, it’s often called spooning. Maybe it’s a little unoriginal that I call you my peanut butter spoon, when we are spooning, but I also want to clarify that it’s not just any old spoon I’m looking to stack with.

I thought about buying you a peanut butter spoon as a gift, but when I looked at different options, they all seemed like they were trying too hard. I like it when resourcefulness and potential align, and something not only surprises you, but seems natural. I like it that you can spot some singular object, even in a spread of crisscrossing metal, where handles, tips, prongs and blades could just as well wash each other out, drawing the viewer into a trance, a long stare, leading to blurred vision, further diminishing one’s faculty to discern the separateness.

That spoon you pulled aside wasn’t forged with peanut butter in mind, but you’ve applied it to a function you saw fit. You understand both the versatility of the spoon as an instrument, and its capacity for specialization. It’s important to encourage that and give it those opportunities. It’s not forcing something into something it’s not if it excels, even triumphs in what it does, especially if it brings joy to others and enjoys itself in the process.

I think the tea stirring spoon likes getting swept up and mistaken for a peanut butter spoon. I think it feels gratified, worthwhile, a little delirious, too.

I’d like to speak for a once undiscovered peanut butter spoon, and say thank you for noticing.


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