This was the way we were always meant to eat, our hands cupping a burger. As if in prayer.
The food is ordinary but the smoke divine … a molasses of charred beef tumbling off the backyard grill.
And the burgers we make explode on contact – they just come apart in our hands, with that first messy bite.
My latest culinary trick – it’s neither a trick nor very culinary – is to put the burger on sourdough toast and load it as you would a flat-bed truck, just fork-lift it full of grilled onions and pickles, a slab of heirloom tomato, a layer of cheese, your choice of lubricant (ketchup, mayo, guac), creating this otherworldly snowball of beef, bread and veggies, all kind of loosey-goosey-gooey…together but not snug.
This was the way we were always meant to eat, with our hands cupped around an amazing burger.
As if in prayer.
It’s really an entire feast, right there in your fingers. Primordial American food…our finest cuisine. You are touching it, wearing it, making love to it, really.
A good burger is one of life’s greatest joys. Like Miles at midnight. Like stepping aboard a boat.
Once you’ve started, you can’t put a burger down, for it will come apart at the seams. At best, you can free up one hand for a quick fry.
But you can’t let this burger loose. You’ve committed to it. Chomp and chew. Sneak a peek at it between bites. Try not to leer. Chomp and chew some more.
The bites are usually a little too big — like a heaving first kiss. These are the same endorphins that lead to love, so be very careful here. Love is a bad investment; it rarely lasts a year. But you’ll always have burgers – lasts a lifetime.
So, gentlemen, start your passions. Ladies, fire up that grill. Spring is merging into summer. Concrete is merging into cotton. Difficult is merging into divine.
And this week – among other joys — America is merging into baseball.
Right now, baseball is our Band-Aid. It will help mend us…always does.
Baseball is like a song that gets stuck in your head. There is no clock to it. You can’t put a stopwatch on Van Gogh.
Baseball bugs some people because it’s a slow-lane pleasure in a fast-lane world. Just the reason I like it more and more every year.
Baseball. Burgers. Band-Aids.
Eat up! Chow down! Bon appetit! Be’te-avon!
It’s warm again, and the windows are open (time to scrub the screens).
All the ceiling fans are finally on. The backyard is Veronese green. The breezes smell sort of buttery, like popcorn.
I like change, and I like the seasons. I just like the word itself: seasons.
Spring is the season of hope. Baseball is the sport of gods. Burgers are what gods eat.
See how all our allegories are starting to blend together again?
Even basic chores suddenly seem easier. The other day, I washed the sheets. They didn’t need it (it’d only been a month or two).
Yet, I ripped the sheets off the bed, in kind of a jaunty bachelor way, waved them in surrender, stuffed them in the wash, as you would a cannon.
Yes, I use the short cycle. Sometimes I forget the detergent. Jeeesh, just be glad I wash the sheets, OK?
And when it was over, I tumbled around with the duvet cover for a while, rolled head first across the bed as I struggled to re-install it in the damn sleeve.
Ever had the pleasure? Wicked date, a duvet cover. The first time I put one on, it took me two months.
First, I couldn’t find the mouth. Then I couldn’t find a corner. It bunched up in ways I’d never seen before, and soon I was in the belly of the beast.
It was as if I’d been swallowed by a pregnant whale. Kinda peaceful though.
“Where are you?”
“Son, I’ve got good news.”
“I’ve been eaten by the duvet cover.”
You see now why I don’t do the sheets?
I like things simple. I’m not much for pillowy Victorian bedding, fussy sauces and elaborate stage craft. I am a simple man. I can fall in love with a woman just for how she trots up the stairs.
And at this time of year, I have spring fever; researchers admit they are not even close to finding a cure.
So I live burger to burger, beer to beer, bon mot to bon mot.
“Hey, best way to get red wine out of a poodle?” my pal Risa asked the other morning.
See? Like that.
Welcome, April. Welcome, normalcy.
Took you long enough.
You asked for Boomer U. tee-shirts, and now they’re here, starting at $20. Info: https://chriserskine.orderpromos.com/. Thank you for your support. Meanwhile, Happy Hour Hike info coming later this week. Cheers!