The Man Who Was Cheese

A man had turned to cheese.

It had happened gradually. The man began to find a certain cheesiness to his most cherished beliefs. Then holes began forming in him. He became mindful of these holes and started to think about them constantly. Soon his self-esteem went over.

He was a man like Swiss cheese. There were so many holes in his surface, you could play miniature golf on him.

The man figured he could just keep it a secret. If he didn’t tell anyone his private thoughts, didn’t confess, maybe people wouldn’t notice. And there was always the possibility that this was a delusion. It’s the sort of thing you’d rather struggle with for years, for decades, than suffer the risk inherent in telling any doctor or health professional or friend.

This conviction that he was turning to cheese came to dominate the man’s life. When he was busy during the day, he could avoid the thought for large periods of time. But the free hours of each evening waited like a long trial carried out in excruciating installments. It was like having a Great White Shark waiting in the bathtub each night. He just climbed in with the shark of this idea each evening and wrestled with it. He would curl up with this horrible idea as he fell asleep each night the way others curl up with a good book. This is the hell of cheese.

But then it got worse. Strangers started trying to take little bites out of him. He knew the jig was up then. He knew then he wasn’t delusional. He didn’t feel safe in his own office. Why, one Thursday he was talking to Jarvis when Hower behind him tried to take a bite out of his ass. He spun around just as Hower spun his spinnable cubicle chair quickly back away, attempting to look innocent, pretending to be lost in the spreadsheets on his computer screen. But he had felt the young temp’s teeth.

His wife left him about that time. She didn’t even take her wardrobe. She said it was too cheesy to take with her. She insisted their relationship had undergone caseination long ago. The marriage had just turned to cheese. It was edible but unhealthy. You wanted to put something wholesome to it, like a cracker, but you realized that you were using the cracker to cover up the cheese guilt. She didn’t want the cheese guilt anymore. “You didn’t taste like this when I met you,” was all she said. She looked away, sobbing through plate glass.

The man didn’t date again. The cheese took the nursery rhyme’s advice to heart and stood alone. He became a hermit and took to serious aging as cheeses often will. He dedicated his life to merely existing without being consumed by others. This isn’t always an easy thing to do, especially if you are cheese and feel that insane desire to nourish others with a thickness and unhealthiness for which you must constantly apologize.

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