Daily Archives: December 20, 2011

me & j

J. Peterman and I go WAY back.  For those of you who have no idea who J. Peterman is, think back to the Seinfeld days……….  Remember the company Elaine worked for and her ridiculous boss?  That’s J. Peterman.

To give you a clear picture of myself during my formative years, I will let you in on a little secret.  I had a major pre-Seinfeld obsession with the J. Peterman Company and catalogue.  I loved the travel stories in the catalogue and I even loved the fact that you couldn’t really tell what you would get if you chose to order something, since all the images were sketches and not pictures.  It was almost as if you didn’t really need to know what it looked like, since it was assured to be cool just because it was in the catalogue.

I’m not going to lie, I spent hours of my life reading and rereading the stories presented in this catalogue over the years.  I also had a dream that someday I would be the person traveling around the world, finding these cool things and writing these stories.  I loved J. before he was a joke on Seinfeld.

But I guess you know, that my dream of life with J. Peterman (or at least a job with the J. Peterman Company) was not realized.

Fast forward to my present life.  Sadly, once J. Peterman hit the big time with Seinfeld we fell out of touch.  I didn’t wait with bated breath for his correspondence to me. I just gave up on him.  I moved on.

In the meantime, I went to college, got married, had kids and moved to France, without giving J. Peterman a thought.

While in France, I’ve accomplished many things including finding the best junk shop in all of France.  You may recognize it from some older posts – it’s called Emmaüs Brie.  This summer, while shopping at Emmaüs with a friend from the US (hiya Tami!), I spotted something that looked very interesting.  It seemed to be a miniature apple press used to make apple cider.  Although it was out of my cheap skate junk price range, it looked so interesting I had a hard time passing it by.

After we walked by it, I started thinking about the party potential of this mini apple press.  Imagine a party where I buy a bazillion apples and I set up this press and I get the kids to stand around and press cider all night to entertain themselves……….  Sounds like a good party to me.

When I mentioned my party idea offhandedly to Owen, he was hooked.  He’s the only person I know who loves a party more than me.  He wanted that press BADLY.  He even offered up some of his own hard-earned cash to get me to buy it.  And I’m a total sucker for random objects, so I did.

That day, we left Emmaus with the cutest little apple press you’ve ever seen.

A week or so later, I bought a bunch of apples and we gave our press a try.  To say that it was hard to press apples with this thing would be an understatement.  We spent a couple of hours in the blazing sun with it and ended up with a half cup of apple juice that we all had to share.  I had planned to write this great blog post about it, but since our pressing had a bitter end, I filed it away as a hopeless case.

Here we were, when our optimism was still in tact:


So what does this have to do with J. Peterman?  I’ll tell you.  I recently started thinking about J. again and pondering why we’d lost touch so many years ago.  So I did what any jilted ex would do and I googled him and found out that he’s still in business, selling dreams with his sketched clothing.  And since I’m also a sucker for nostalgia, I asked to receive a catalogue in the mail to relive the old times.  Once I ordered the catalogue J. also asked me if I’d like to receive email updates from him and I replied, “Of course!”

When the first catalogue came, I was seriously transported back in time.  It was as if nothing had changed between us.  He’s still writing about exotic locations and selling expensive clothing and I’m still soaking it up like a school girl.  I read the catalog 3 time the first day it came and I even considered buying a long velvet dress worn by a Russian baroness that J. Peterman met in a smoky bar.  I wish I were joking.

But here is the proof that you can’t mess with destiny.  Just the other day as I was reading an email from J. Peterman,  imagine my surprise when I saw this pop up:


And here is what I realized:

a) that thing is a grape press, not an apple press (not sure how I missed this, since we live in the country of wine)


b) my fate is clearly entwined with J’s after all.

After all these years, he might finally appreciate me for what I bring to our relationship.  Namely, my strength for finding good junk.