If you could go back in time, what would you place in your pre-teen time capsule?
This is a question that Jules Torti answers in her latest fun-as-heck read called The Wisdom Found in Hen’s Teeth. There’s lots of wisdom extracted (like hen’s teeth) from Torti’s brain, interspersed with ponderings, questions, and reflections.
And just for the record, Torti’s pre-teen time capsule would consist of a box of Smarties (empty), a Sea Monkey’s Ocean Zoo Aquarium (also empty), a Chia Pet, Dill Pickle and Root Beer scratch ‘n sniff stickers, Tiger Beat magazine with River Phoenix on the cover, and a mixed tape of mixed emotions.
While her previous books have dealt with her life story in Free to a Good Home, her travels in Trail Mix, and her childhood junk-food diet in Been There, Ate That, this new one is all about weirdness – weird people, weird happenstances and weird things. Like Gwyneth Paltrow’s vagina-scented candles and Hawaiian pizza. Torti, a self-described weirdo, uses these examples to ponder themes of chance happenings, signs, free will, and life purposes. Torti isn’t shy to draw on her unique experiences to colour in the chapters.
She also draws on the love she’s found in her partner and wife, Kim, who serves as both love interest and contrast in chapters like Long Walks on the Beach. “No one has ever described Kim as weird – ever. She’s everything I’m not and I’m everything she’s not. She’s mad about golf and I could not care less but am happy to play caddy for her. I’m equally mad about running but the agreement is Kim only has to run for last call at the bar.”
After contrasting the two, Torti closes the chapter out by reinforcing their one-ness: “She’ll champion everything I do just as I will for her. The only weirdness is when we are apart as we’re accustomed to being together 24/7. We have one Jeep. One laptop. One cell phone. We are one, and maybe that’s weird to a lot of people. Kim and I are weirdly perfect for each other.”
Torti’s thesis for this book is that the world is a strange place and so strange things are going to happen. The chances of something weird happening are small, but real. Once in awhile, no matter how unlikely, something will fall from the sky or you’ll find your fiancé in the background of one of your childhood photos.
“Don’t kid yourself. We all look for signs. Whether you rely on your next travel destination to present itself in your beer foam as Kim and I do is kind of a next-level trust exercise,” she pens in the chapter Mystic Pizza.
And Torti’s encountered her fair share of weird happenstances, possibly due to her self-proclaimed rarity as a human. She never wanted to fit in and always coloured outside the lines, which has led to people calling her a strange animal on the Bruce Peninsula but “actually that may just be the influence of Gowan’s “Strange Animal” lyrics. That song receives a tremendous amount of airplay on the local (and only) radio station that our Jeep picks up on Highway 6. That and Billy Joel’s Piano Man. I’d prefer more Belinda Carlisle, that’s for sure.” Wouldn’t we all.
So, if you’ve ever wondered what the beer tastes like at the Dildo Brewery Company, where the word Smurf comes from, or how likely it is to get struck by a falling airplane part, this is the book for you!
You’ll find it here.
Written by Jesse Wilkinson