The Ketchup Bottle & the Sins of Dorian Gray

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March 6, 2012 by Tiffany A. Robbins

My sister asked me, “If you could go back in time and give yourself the Ketchup Bottle talk, would you?”

I promised her I would blog my answer, so after three days of mulling it over, here I am. First off, the Ketchup Bottle talk is her little coming of age talk she generally has with her young friends who are getting out on their own for the first time and experience life all on their own. I too have given a handful of Ketchup Bottle talks to some young friends though I am far from as eloquent as she is on the matter. The term stems from the first time she was living on her own and realized that when the ketchup bottle was empty, she had to be the one to go to the store and get a new one.

Sadly, she never gave me this talk because my first time living on my own, she was my roommate. I guess it was a bit of a conflict of interest or something. I guess if she wants us to know, she’ll comment below.

*sticks tongue out at sister*

As you can see, I’m procrastinating because I’m still not sure if I would go back in time and give myself advice. I’m fairly happy with the way my early years on my own turned out, though I was completely aimless.

I found myself in some very ideal circumstances for someone like me. First, I lived on the generosity of my sister and our practically rent free house until her friend was foreclosed on and we had a week to move out. Then I lived in a 94-year-old woman’s basement in exchange for making sure she ate one meal every day. I got kudos for making sure it was healthy. In exchange, I got to eat dinner for free and live in her basement for free.

My first home where I lived absolutely by myself, the rent was $150 per month. Somehow, I still managed to always be behind on my bills. Go figure.

I had a lot of good times during those years. I’m tempted to say I would go back and tell myself to be more responsible with my money, but that would have ruined a few fun times. I would hate to stifle any of those memories from ever happening.

I loved being on my own.

I may possibly go back and tell myself to be nicer to my mother. I may possibly go back and tell myself to patch a thing or two up with my father. I may possibly go back and tell myself not to rush into marriage even though I felt like we were waiting an eternity.

So, I would probably go back and just tell myself to handle my personal relationships a little bit more tenderly, but I’d go easy on myself.

Those years were/are precious.

On a different topic, I finished The Picture of Dorian Gray last night. I struggled through it for a long time, but it was totally worth the wait. I suspected how it was going to end and Oscar Wilde did not disappoint. It was beautiful.

About a week ago, while reading, I ran across this quote and wanted to share it with you all:

“Don’t let us talk about it anymore, and don’t try to persuade me that the first good action I have done for years, the first little bit of self-sacrifice I have ever known, is really a sort of sin.” – The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

I feel like this sentence puts me on the brink of a great idea and I’ve been waiting for it to come to me. Unfortunately, the idea still evades, but I still find it beautiful.

Perhaps, one day, my brain will unlock and all these great ideas will come flooding forth. For Dorian, this line of thinking is ultimately what leads to his demise. It’s a statement of his intent to try to redeem himself. Sadly, the redemption is his undoing.

He really was a beautiful man. I can see why the characters in the story are so in love with him.


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