Life is Nasty, Life is Great

If you ever need to borrow popcorn salt, stop by.

Heads-up to you serious cooks: This special buttery popcorn salt has synthetic cheese in it, I believe, and tiny micro-chips of faux butter. Might be a psychedelic. Might trigger religious re-awakenings.

But you’re welcome to borrow it. I sprinkle buttered popcorn salt on everything, casseroles, pies, my martinis. It’s what they call in the industry — the industry being fatherhood and life – it’s what they call “a Daddy Spice.”

Siracha is also a Daddy Spice. Little packets of taco-stand hot sauce you find in the glove box three years later? Daddy Spice.

By the way, my three best dishes are: 1. Glop (a type of Irish borsht); 2. Drippy-Doo (a type of doo); 3. muckety-muck (a Persian-inspired spaghetti dish).

Recently, I made a sausage-and-pepper dish so bad that the dog wouldn’t even eat it, though my son Smartacus had seconds. He may have just been trying to stay in the will. Even as I admitted defeat, he said: “This isn’t bad, Dad.”

So, to recap, Smartacus is staying in the will, and White Fang is out of the will. I will never make smoked sausage with peppers again, though I thought it would be a simple and hearty dinner, especially when served with week-old bread. Oh well…

Guy food is the only food for me.

Listen, if there were only women in the world, there would be no steakhouses, no tailgates, there would be no little street stands selling bacon-wrapped wieners. Technically, these are all “guy food” locations. They bring us comfort and joy.

You can’t order guy food from a Mackenzie catalog. You can only buy it illegally outside stadiums, or make it yourself, preferably on a work bench in the garage where the high heat and fish oils won’t ruin the tile.

Guy food makes you happy, in that same small way you are happy when you crush the dirty clothes a little further down into the too-full hamper, or skip cleaning the gutters because a football game is on.

When my dear Posh was around, I used to handle all the family laundry, till she realized that for five years I’d been burying it in the backyard, near where we interred the family pets.

It was like Three Mile Island back there. No wonder we could never grow tomatoes.

As I said, took her five years to realize it, so I consider this a solid success and one of my greatest contributions to marriage in general.

I argued that if I’d been burying the dirty clothes in the backyard for five years, and she and the kids hadn’t run out of socks, then it was a beautiful system that reduced a lot of day-to-day stress. It also meant – maybe???? – that she and the kids had waaaaaaay too many clothes.

Only guys understand other guys. You know what I always say: Women are from Target; Men are from Mars. That’s why the two sides have trouble connecting. Totally different time zones.

But when we do connect? Magic.

I’m currently dating someone who appears to be a baroness of some kind, or maybe a viscount. She is the kind of woman who darts off to marry Italian statesmen or Canadian prime ministers.

I’ll never forget Suzanne’s first words to me. One night, in front of a nice restaurant, she said: “Hey dude, could you bring my car around?”

So I did.

Look, life is nasty, life is great. It’s always about how you play your next shot.

The other day, I sent thank-you notes to all my buddies, because I felt a lot of seasonal  Hallmarkian pressure, but also because I love them like the brothers I’m glad I never had.

Doesn’t matter if it’s at a tailgate, or over a quick beer, my buddies boost me, understand me, inspire me, disappointment me. It’s like owning a Welsh rugby club.

But, man, do I love them. Dads grind it out every week for 45 years, through bad bosses, bad economies, stupid trends, unappreciative offspring, doing the same thing over and over and over.

And every once in a while, dads wiggle loose and go out for a good time – at which point we talk about:

  1. Our kids.
  2. Our relationships.
  3. The sad state of (pick one): politics, the economy, the Rams.

Women really have no idea the things men talk about.

But I think they’d be pleasantly surprised.

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving. FYI, trying to sell a few books and gin glasses, if you’re in the market. The gin glasses come in sets of four. For info, on the glasses, t-shirts and other merchandise that helps fund this silly venture, please go to Cheers!

Meanwhile, from the kitchens of the lovely oldest daughter and Suzanne, two folks who do know how to cook.

10 thoughts on “Life is Nasty, Life is Great

  1. From the tasty pics, it appears you had a delicious Thanksgiving feast with a side of Catty Cakes. Grandpa food! Thanks for continuing to grind it out for all of us who appreciate your work. You and all the unsung hero dads deserve our thanks every day of the year. When is your new bear book coming out?

    1. Thanks Caroll for all your kind words during the year. New bear book has been turned in, FYI. Likely comes out next year, though the publisher hasn’t set a release date yet.

  2. The reason our generation can eat heartily anywhere is those bacon wrapped hot dogs outside Hussongs in Encinada !

  3. I really love these posts. They always take me somewhere in my mind or remind me of a song. Both are welcome retreats to get lost in. So funny about the laundry escapades! Where I grew up in Hoffman Estates in the 60’s and 70’s we also had a spot way in the backyard for (small) interred pets. Also like Three Mile Island. Never tried growing tomatoes but I did wonder if they’d find Hoffa there. Today it’s in the 50’s here so my lovely and patient oldest daughter (college senior) will help me hang up the lights outside. There will be ladders involved so fingers crossed 🤣

  4. Somehow I erased todays gem! I had to text Patty M who I knew would be savoring it over morning coffee. Really needed to understand the “men” thing…even tho I’ve been married for more than 50 years. So thanx for the intel, and lasting thoughts about the strategic importance of bacon. Xo Your MB walking buddy.

  5. Do you have a recipe book of your favorites? I’m sure that would be a big seller. Posh’s Chicken Chili would go over big with my family.
    Thanks for all your posts, enjoy every one.

  6. Your writing for me is like being on a boat at the dock. I am sometimes on the dock , sometimes on the boat and sometimes with one foot on the dock and the other on the boat. You remind me of how much I love sailing.

  7. It’s Thanksgiving, so it’s food central, but in the many decades when I had two canines co-habiting with moi, they never rejected any offering, seemingly fearful that rejection would forestall future offerings. It is a special kind of torture to watch a dog mouth a brussel sprout before gloomily swallowing it. The facial contortions are priceless and unforgettable—such devotion to epicurean continuity. I understand your urge towards disinheritance from a practical perspective, but from a philosophical perspective, it could be said she was sparing you the agony of watching her suffer through a sacrifice of substantial pith and purpose. Often these understandings don’t come until much later, on—say—a long dog walk….

    As to the baroness and all things bright and beautiful, don’t expect elegance to understand the swarthy encryptic of male communication, since we both know so much of our gender language is unspoken, terse, clothed in semiotic gesture, or left in the outline of what is said, or not said. To beauty and clarity such ambiguity drives
    one to see mystery in meaning, when all there might be is, dimly, meaning. Venus and Mars be damned, what are we really talking about when we talk about love? The dog knows. Whether it’s light in the piazza or hot sauce in a Heinz 57 pizza, some might see the same motives shining for all to see. Now that’s Thanksgiving!

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