The Memory Project
Off the top of my head, natural (Johnny Ketchum)

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On Sunday, unable to find salted pistachios in the shell, I opted for shelled ones, which I normally avoid -- it's too easy to eat them by the fistful. I have no idea what they cost. I probably should, but I don't.

Just now, as I popped a handful into my mouth, I thought about a small can of shelled pistachios that I purchased for my dinner while staying in a Motel 6 in LIttle Rock, Arkansas. They cost $5.99 at a local drug store. It was a celebration of sorts. I was about to start a job that paid $175 a week. Which was not, as I have said before, a lot of money, even in 1981. While working as a reporter, I would work part-time as a waitress, down-size from the sad Motel 6-like apartment that costs $230 a month to a charmingly eccentric duplex that cost only $185 a month. I would get drunk one night and, with the endearing logic of the inebriated, buy an enormous sack of flour on the grounds that I would be making my own biscuits and bread. I would endure one of the worst wisdom teeth extractions possible because I had to pay out of my pocket and it was $40 a tooth, over three visits. (Left upper, left lower, both on the right side.) But, within six months, my pay would rise to $200 a week and within two years, I would land a job in San Antonio that paid $340 a week. My only hope is that I would one day be able to go to sleep at night without worrying about money.

But I don't think anyone really gets that in this world. What I got, however, was pretty great: I got to buy a bag of shelled pistachios, thinking only of the calories.

What do you no longer know the literal cost of?

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