I have been good all week- that is to say, I haven’t screwed up any more than usual, but don’t get me wrong; I have had plenty of opportunities!
For instance, Monday, she had a small afternoon deck party for her daily swim-club buddies. She served a veggie tray with carrots, celery, cauliflower and some other equally alien foodstuffs, with three different kinds of dip. For the aperitifs- only the women call them that: the boys call it, beer- there was an assortment of fruit juices, ginger ale and for the hale and hearty, a chilled sparkling white wine. Oh, and the music was Chopin.
In other words, BORING!
In the big book of the DHMF (Doghouse Manifesto) under the chapter: PARTIES FOR THE MAN IN YOUR LIFE- Subsection; “Fistfights and how to stop them!” there is a rule about music… “Rock is good, classic rock is better, country and/or pop (?) is acceptable if there is nothing else, but if you play chamber music, opera or chopin, and have no rare char-broiled meat, there is going to be a fight!” For more on how to put an end to such aggressive macho displays, see the appendix- A-ii(g) under, SKYNYRD, DYLAN, THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER, BEER & THE ROLLING STONES.
But, I was nice. I was good. I was even charming. I, ‘showered, shaved, changed my clothes- no shorts- and brushed my teeth (!)’ and I was thoroughly pleasant, polite and delightful (some might even say, gracious!) as I answered the front door and gallantly escorted each lady to the back deck, where, a regular cornucopia of raw vegetables, watered down sissy, fizzy wine, and something only vaguely disguised as music awaited them. I served as their waiter. I poured their drinks. I ushered them to their chairs. I cleared their service and afterward, fixed them coffee and brought it to them on a tray with cream and sugar. I said things like, “Yes, Ma’am” and “Please” and “Thank you.” I was a regular gentleman. They all loved it and there wasn’t even one fistfight.
At the end of the afternoon’s festivities, as each of her friends left, they all hugged and kissed her and simply gushed, glowed and overflowed about the wonderful party, the wonderful veggie tray, juices, the wonderful sparkling wine and- gasp (!)- the Chopin was to die for! Wonderful…
Oh, yeah, and they all thought I was simply marvelous. A gentleman. They said that I was wonderful, too.
Tuesday, I mowed all three yards, trimmed the hedges and cleaned the gutters. Wednesday- okay, I didn’t really do anything- I watched the ballgame, but she was so happy with me that she either didn’t notice I wasn’t doing anything, or she didn’t care. Thursday, I gave ‘Eightball’ a bath, because, let’s face it, he stinks, and Friday I helped her wash the windows, and I didn’t break anything, fall off the ladder or complain even once!
All in all, I have continued to be wonderful.
So today, I figured I deserved a treat. That means a trip to my favorite boutique; the butcher-shop down the block, where, it just so happens, Big Mike, my friendly neighborhood Butcher, has just received a brand new side of beef! So new, it hasn’t even stopped kicking, and I can hear the siren call of a juicy, thoroughly marbled, medium rare, one inch thick T-bone, singing the dulcet tones of my name- “Come and get me!”
Okay, so that’s not my name, but we’re talking about STEAK!
I wouldn’t care if it yelled out, “Hey! You, stupid!”
So, there I am at the BBQ- befouling the neighborhood with enough fat laded smoke to choke a small child, or kill an elderly asthma patient – and I have my steak properly warmed for grilling. I have my potato properly wrapped in foil for baking. I am preheating my gas grill, to a setting suitable for charring perfectly, yet simply seasoned flesh to a mouth-watering uniformity. I have two ice-cold beers in my travel cooler- no fruit juice, or any kind of chilled, silly fizzy wine and not another vegetable besides my potato in sight…
“You’re not planning to eat that, are you?” She asked me.
Seriously, I have to get her a collar bell. It’s just getting way too easy for her to sneak up on me!
“What do you mean?” I asked her? Mistake number three. (Mistake number two was not getting her that collar bell. Mistake number one, was thinking I deserved a treat and was actually going to get one.)
She rolled her eyes and took my plate of ‘juicy, thoroughly marbled, medium rare, one-inch thick T-bone, singing the dulcet tones of my name’, away from me.
“You know what the Doctor said about your cholesterol!” She called over her shoulder as she walked toward the house. “You can have some of it…”
How did it all go so wrong so fast? I had been wonderful. I had a treat and I deserved it and everything. I ran after her.
“Some? I can have some? How much is some? Can I still have some?” I panted desperately as I trotted along behind her, my ‘Kiss the Cook’ grilling apron flapping in the breeze.
By the time I got into the kitchen, like Sweeny Todd, she was already hacking deliriously away at my beautiful steak with a dull knife, and using the wrong dull knife I might add, and ‘Eightball’ was at her feet whirling like a dervish and trying to wag his tail, but since he doesn’t have a tail, he was waggling his whole butt, and slobbering like a movie-set soap machine, and was so happy, that every time he waggled his butt, he farted.
The noxious chemical cloud of his uncontained joy only momentarily slowed me down. As I wiped the tears from my eyes, I asked her again, pleaded really,
“How much is some?”
“This!” She proudly proclaimed, and held up a thoroughly cannibalized bone. I swear, it had teeth marks on it! “But only after I boil it, and add some vegetables to make a hearty, rib-sticking soup.”
Hearty, rib-sticking soup? WHAT?! Who was she trying to kid, and what kind of delirious heretic hacks up a “…juicy, thoroughly marbled, medium rare, one inch thick T-bone, singing the dulcet tones of my name” for soup?!
And, I don’t care what the folks at Campbell’s Soup say; no soup is hearty! It’s SOUP!
“But… but… but…” I whined.
“No buts.” She instructed me. “We’re having soup for dinner.”
“But, honey,” I whined again, “I was good!”
“Yes, you were, and now, as your reward,” she purred as she kissed my cheek, “I’m going to use the left over veggies from my party, and fix you a wholesome, healthy meal, so that you will be with me for a long, long time!”
She said she was going to let me have the bone, but it’s an evil trick. I know she won’t give it to me. After she boils the life out of it and lets it cool, she’s going to give it to ‘Eightball’ to gnaw on. She has already hacked my beautiful steak into pieces and put it in his dish for his dinner.
How come he doesn’t have to watch his cholesterol?!
I think he ate it in two bites. Maybe one. I was going to eat it in three, maybe four bites and then have my potato and my second beer…
I’m not in the doghouse today. I have been good. I have been wonderful. I get a reward, but I don’t get a treat. There’s a difference. One is a “…juicy, thoroughly marbled, medium rare, one inch thick T-bone” and the other is a leftover deck party veggie soup made from an adulterated, but otherwise perfectly beautiful steak.
But, I’ll tell you, if I could have arranged it on such short notice, I would have been happy to have been in the doghouse today, because then I might have gotten a bite or two of my T-bone. In the relatively small, dark and constricted confines of the doghouse, I think I could take ‘Eightball’. Maybe. For a T-bone, it might be worth it to find out. Or maybe not…
Looks like I’m going to live a long and healthy life.