Just because I’m a sore loser doesn’t mean I still don’t want some AWESOME SHIT. In fact, it increases my desire for awesome shit.

But first, I have to tell you a story about honey.

I grew up in a house that, for the most part, looked less like it had been thoughtfully furnished by people living in the modern age and more like a time capsule from the Baroque era had been thrown into the living room and exploded there. There was blood-red carpeting. There was metallic wallpaper. There were enormous faux-gilt mirrors with cherubs. There were statuary holding fake plastic plants on their plastic heads. In retrospect, it was not unlike what a very posh Olive Garden might look like, and that’s not a good place to be. This is what happens when you take an immigrant woman from southern Italy, relocate her to Bayonne, New Jersey (which is dangerously close to Staten Island) and then give her free reign to decorate her own home.

When my mom passed away, most of the rooms stayed the same – they just weren’t used. My dad moved out of the master bedroom, got a new recliner and coffee table for the den, and that was about it.

Except for the honey bears.

God only knows where he got this idea. He really liked screwdrivers (the drink, not the tool), so that may have played a role. He was not a man given to arts and crafts, nor to the particulars of his surrounding decor in general. But he thought it would be a FANTASTIC IDEA to collect empty honey bears, wash them and remove the labels, fill them with different colors of water, and display them on top of the refrigerator. And he LOVED those damn bears, and fuck you if you didn’t like them. Ideally, I think he would have liked to have them on a shelf in front of a window so the light could shine through their colorful bear tummies, but it wasn’t logistically possible in our old kitchen.

Eventually, he remarried, to a lovely woman who is quite particular about her environs (She once exchanged an entire set of dining room furniture three times. Including the china cabinet. She is no joke.) and who was, shocking to no one, HORRIFIED by the idea of having the honey bears in her kitchen, let alone prominently displayed in a window. She did eventually relent and gave him a small shelf because did I mention HOLY CRAP HE THOUGHT THOSE BEARS WERE THE BEST THING SINCE OLD MILWAUKEE. DO THE DIFFERENT COLORS NOT FILL YOUR HEART WITH JOY?* Sometimes I wonder how they managed to get married at all, because he was really adamant about those fricking bears.

I admit it: I don’t really want the bears in my house either (although I suspect Brian does). But I think I could make an exception for these honey bear salt and pepper shakers. All the charm of the honey bear, none of the somewhat weird colored water collecting dust in plastic bear bottles. Because I don’t know about you, but the top of my fridge can be a scary, scary, dusty place.

I grant you that these may not be awesome to everyone, but I find them personally awesome and think they would make an excellent homage.

As long as I am giving a “shout out,” as the youth say, to both important male figures in my life and awesome shit, I will throw in this bonus awesome thing, which my very awesome husband, who the youth like to call “Brian”, will think is awesome: Ice cube trays that make ice cubes shaped like space invaders.

*Re the beer: he was a man of simple tastes. Other favorite foods included cheez-whiz and Swiss Miss** pudding cups. I recently visited the cemetery since the anniversary of his passing was a few weeks ago, and left a 6-pack of the chocolate Swiss Miss. Well, a five pack – I ate one while I was there. He would have liked that better than some stupid flowers. Plus, I imagine that it amused the groundskeeper.

**Never Jell-O. He had some taste.