In our last episode, I was bleeding pretty good, and it came out pink, like a raspberry vinaigrette, or that thin mignonette sauce they slap on oysters.
Guess the blood thinners are working, along with the gin that never quite leaves my system. And the dark chocolate. And the smoked salmon. Hash browns too.
Food is medicine. I recommend all of this in moderation, plus maybe a little scootch more. How about another splash of that? Thanks.
“Dr. Steve, line 2. Some wise guy says he won’t stop bleeding…”
At this pace, I might be dead in a week, though I’ve been saying that since I was 7. I’ve outlived all the pediatricians who scolded “eat an apple, why don’t you? Try a carrot for a change.”
On a related matter, Dogpark Gary was telling me the other morning that if you die suddenly while out on a deep-sea fishing charter, they just throw your carcass down in the well with the ice and the tuna till the boat gets back to the dock.
Seemed a bit barbaric till Dogpark Gary explained it:
“People pay a lot of money for those charters,” he told me, “and they don’t want to cut them short.”
I get that.
Fortunately, I am drawn to loud and barbaric things – my daughters, for example. Or thumpy marching bands. I like celebration and laughter, drum majors and drum minors, a line of tubas brass-flashing the sun.
Don’t be surprised if my next wife plays the tuba.
Meanwhile, bang a gong because tailgate season is now upon us, my favorite time of year. I like what it does for my general outlook and how it re-energizes my buddies.
Takes a lot of good pals to stage a great tailgate, slinging cold kegs left and right. I always take a small grill that must weigh 60 pounds. Lots of tables, tents, tubs of ice.
And have you ever tried carrying a Chardonnay Mom? They’re not heavy, but like a mattress, they’re awkward. And a little wiggly, to be honest. Ticklish. Famously mouthy. They say what they think, then a little more.
We will feature a full roster of Chardonnay Moms at our first tailgate of the year on Saturday. I can already picture them in the twilight of the Rose Bowl, casual with their wine glasses, holding them at odd angles, nearly spilling some into the beautiful lawns next to the stadium.
A Chardonnay Mom works a tailgate party the way the Pope works Easter, head high, gesturing frequently, acknowledging the crowd while not quite seeing individual faces.
It’s part of their golden, Chardonnay allure, how they never look other people right in the eye. A Chardonnay Mom will gaze out over your head about three inches, as if scanning the horizon for prey.
Little party tip: All Chardonnay Moms go to Heaven. So their behavior is usually quite tame. And even if it isn’t, all Chardonnay Moms go to Heaven.
Frankly, I’m not sure what will happen. Latest line: Chardonnay Moms minus 28.
Speaking of Heaven, I was discussing the Old Testament again the other day, while riffing with a fellow writer about how difficult it can be to peddle a best-selling book.
I reminded my friend that the Old Testament got rejected, like, 200 times before it finally found a publisher (Moses kept the rejection slips for motivation). And most editors insisted on 5 Commandments, not 10.
“Who’s got time these days?” they kept asking.
Good point, though as time passes I would argue that we need more commandments, not fewer. Say, 25 at the very least.
There’d be stuff in there about rap “music,” or when to use a fork to eat chicken (the answer: never). By the way, have you ever seen these people who eat spare ribs with a knife and fork? That’s cray-cray, as the kids like to say.
“All food is finger food,” I reminded my son Smartacus the other day.
“Even soup?” he asked.
“Don’t be a wise guy,” I said.
In any case, the Old Testament went on to become a pretty big success, spawning several movie projects and some TV stuff. If I remember correctly, Kristin Chenoweth portrayed Jesus at some point? Over the years, they’ve taken a few liberties to lure the younger audiences that advertisers seek.
Point is, you can’t take rejection seriously. If I did, I’d never have gotten married, never would’ve had a kid, never would’ve found a job or gotten a driver’s license, never gone to a decent college or found a group of tailgaters who would embrace me the way Miller, Bittner, Charlie, Jeff, Liz and Gary have.
Like brothers (even Liz). So lucky.
In addition to Chardonnay, we’ll serve tequila at the tailgate too. And gin, of course – we’re not savages, though as Smartacus noted last week after our trip, I do smell a lot like Alaska Airlines. And some garlic fries I had 6 months ago. Shrimp husks. Fresh-mowed grass. Bus fumes. I smell like a typical dad, I suppose.
Such a season, tailgate is. More spiritual than Christmas…more fun than rum.
This week, we will welcome LSU, straight out of a bad storm.
Cajun Country heals slowly, as do I, and we wish them the best in their hurricane recovery. Louisianians are some of the toughest people ever. I know they will bounce back. With gusto and verve.
As I said, I enjoy too-loud things.
Our tailgaters are always a convivial bunch, but even more so this week. We’ll welcome Tiger fans warmly, with food and drink and a festivus of fellowship. The Nevilles and Trombone Shorty will lead the song list.
A great yet elusive thing, fellowship. That’s what we’ve really been missing during lockdown, what we mourn when we drop our kids off to college, what we yearn for amid the grind of everyday life: the warmth of fellowship.
Sure, the ping of ice cubes always helps, and there’s that smoggy grill smoke we crave. But of all the tailgate delicacies, fellowship is the best…a smile, a laugh, an elbow in the side.
Know how you used to roll around in the cool autumn grass as kids and pile atop each other? That’s what we do – figuratively — at these tailgates. We roughhouse like puppies.
So hey, watch my torn schnitzel, OK? I bleed easily. I bruise like a banana. I swell in all the wrong places. And I have the shoulder strength of Tina Fey.
On second thought: Bring it on, I don’t care.
Bring it, baby.
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