Trick or Treat!

Dear Suzanne, I want to apologize for that provolone I served the other night. As it turns out, it was a vegan cheese, an imposter. No wonder it had no pop, no flavor. Worse than no cheese at all.

The fake provolone sat atop the French onion soup like a wedge of motel soap, only with less taste and minus that stringy “cheese pull” you get when you shovel steamy French onion soup to your mouth.

Suzanne, we live in a diluted world, run by scolds with sludgy, angry hearts. To sell a cheese like that – let alone serve it to you — is fraudulent and very nearly immoral. Can you ever forgive me?

Please note how one food group at a time we’re ripping away the tiny pleasures that sustain us through life’s countless days of darkness and disappointment.

First, it was margarine. Then it was decaffeinated coffee …diet soda…fake burgers. Now, it’s these phony cheeses – no dairy, no gluten, no smell, no taste, no glory.

Probably explains why I was in a mood later than night when I tried to get the remote to work after the audio went out, figuring “maybe it’s the batteries.”

As you know, I futzed and futzed with that remote, till it finally snapped open so I could replace the batteries. As it turns out, it actually was the batteries, which is a minor miracle in itself.

Probably also explains why I wavered a little when we tried to put your new bike together that night, and you tripped a little, knocking over the bike.

I paused: Do I catch her? Do I catch the bike?

No brainer, the bike.

But a better man, a man with his wits about him after eating a terrific aromatic cheese, would’ve let the stupid bike fall, even though it’s probably worth more than all my investments combined.

In the end, it’s just a bike. And you are you, evidently some sort of beautiful baroness with a smirk, which is the only kind of baroness I’d ever date — the smirky kind. To me, looks don’t even count. Character counts. And a gift for sarcasm.

While I’m at it, I want to apologize for my kids. They have the impulse control of gerbils and they take nothing in life very seriously.

With them, everything is an inside joke. Most of what they say is rubbish, yet they’re very fond of you, if you’re curious. Which you shouldn’t be. Doesn’t matter whether they like you or don’t like you. Or that you fall over a lot, and sometimes I catch you, sometimes I catch the bike. What matters is that we all really, really like you. Pumpkin Cakes in particular. Like you, probably a baroness. Her smile is like sunlight through the trees.

Also, while I’m at it…

I want to apologize for the Mike Ditka costume I’ll be wearing this weekend. You have no idea who Mike Ditka is. In short, he is the greatest man who ever lived.

Mike Ditka took the Chicago Bears to the Super Bowl, which no man has ever done before or ever will again.

He is Cicero. He is Thomas Edison. He is Edgar Allan Poe…all wrapped into one magnificent and very troubled human being.

Look, to be honest, I’m not sure what’s to become of the American male. Limp, frazzled, anxious, beaten down.

Ditka was none of that. He was a cigar-sucking, steak-eating bully who blamed everyone for everything. If he ganked his knee on the bed, he blamed the refs. If he got a bad piece of veal, he blamed his defense.

I find that very refreshing.

Most of all, Ditka always gave us hope. He turned a 1,400-pound defensive lineman – “The Fridge” — into a goal line fullback. I keep waiting for Sean McVay to try that with Aaron Donald, but I don’t think McVay has Ditka’s creative spirit or joie de vivre.

Essentially, Suzanne, I believe that’s what is missing in American life right now. In movies, in fullbacks, in cheese — a Ditkensian sense of joy.

It’s hard to have a relationship in a world like this, isn’t it? Especially with a faux Ditka who serves up fake cheese.

Let’s just do the best we can, OK?

Hugs, Ditka

The autumn sun seems to fill my tank, and I am looking forward to this Halloween weekend fully charged, yet still a little tired. I think that comes with age. Much to  celebrate though — that we’re here, we’re mostly healthy, the gin tastes better than ever on a chill October night. In a world full of flaming Astros, let’s be Phillies. Go Phillies! And Happy Halloween!

9 thoughts on “Trick or Treat!

  1. Oh my goodness, Catty Cakes is adorable. As for Mike Ditka, I am getting the sense the Buffalo Bills are the new bullies in football and I will never root for a bully.

  2. An alien? With all that pink, she must be a female alien. Probably from Venus where the women come from. She has the “Take me to your leader” look.

  3. Cakes!!
    A picture is worth a thousand…lord, how good! I knew it would eventually come to this:
    words, versus pictures with their incredible visual bandwidth. Even so….


    You must have ‘tide the margins flaunt
    Vicissitudes, that’s what you want
    To challenge requisite variety—
    An oblique view of society;
    While never crude, you still must daunt
    It never plays to merely taunt
    Motives intrude, mix the way
    The leaves swirl on an Autumn day
    A seasoned mood flavors each jaunt
    This time of year the spices haunt
    And in the lists the restless air
    Moves like a dance, or love affair
    Exposures’ nude flesh art avant
    For love can feed the spirits gaunt
    Fluid with a heady brew
    It’s ale of Autumn clearly you
    And what of food? Must be a fount
    Of all that’s good—that dawn croissant
    A pumpkin’s candle smokes the lens
    Blurs Halloween”s sweet vitamins
    While coffee brews, and who can count
    Those lighted stairs the costumed mount?
    Cider’s amber in moonlightj
    While ghosts of Autumn walk the night
    It’s dark renewed next morning light
    Those ghosts, in fact, and so you write….

    …To a wry and charmed chanteuse
    Ingredients: mix not, to lose
    Sing Hallows Eve, a spirits’ muse
    With It’s willowed wraiths romancing
    Maybe she will feel like dancing…

  4. What a delight this column was to wake up to! Even if I’ve been unsuccessful thus far in searching online for the meaning of the word “ganked.” For now I’m going to assume it’s Yiddish, and therefore means exactly what it sounds like, which is something painful and possibly involves flesh meeting metal. Great words to live by: always catch the girl and let the bike fall.

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