Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Blog In Three Chapters

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I haven’t blogged in three weeks. My excuse for the last three days is illness. Halfway through Monday I began shivering and sweating and swearing uncontrollably. I didn’t fully recover until last night. During that stretch there was a lot of working from home, a lot of movies, a lot of apple juice, some moping, some lurking, a fair amount of whining and a decent amount of lying in bed awake at night trying to not float toward the light. Also, I could probably write an entire blog about the things that happened in the bathroom on Tuesday. Nothing classy, I can tell you that much.
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Nate and Val became displeased with the lack of blogging, and have since struck blog deals with me. Meaning that I promised to blog if they each sent me ten (10) prospective topics to choose from. Kinda sad really, all that schooling to learn how to write good and today I’m reduced to conning inspiration from friends. Here is the table of contents for the things I would like to explore today, courtesy of Nate and Val:
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I. Kangaroos
II. Squash (Not The Sport)
III. A Great Sandwich
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CHAPTER ONE
Kangaroos: What Are They Trying To Hide?
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Like most Australians, Kangaroos are actually violent criminals exiled from England in 1632. The very first kangaroo, Bart Jacobs, was discovered and arrested in Manchester on July 12th, 1631. That rainy afternoon, Jacobs decided to go see a movie, however he did not have any money because he was a kangaroo. Jacobs darted past the ticket taker pointing and hollering, “Look at that!” effectively distracting the employee and allowing Jacobs entry into the theatre. That afternoon’s matinée was a remake of “Terms of Endearment.” Halfway through the movie, the police arrived and shone a flashlight in Jacobs’s face.

“May we see your ticket, please?” asked an officer.

“I can’t find it,” Bart replied without looking for it.

“Then you must pay for a new one!” blurted the manager.

Jacobs gave the manager a really dirty look.

“I’m a fuckin’ kangaroo, I don’t have any money.”

And with that, he leapt from his seat and fatally kicked every officer in the face, sparing only the theatre manager. Jacobs then took the manager’s pocket knife. In one fell swoop, he used the knife to carve a pouch into his own belly and tossed all of the officers’ pistols into the pouch. Jacobs hopped outside only to find the street flooded with police, their pistols trained on him. He threw his soft drink on the sidewalk and put his arms in the air.

Jacobs spent several months in the Manchester City Jail, befriending cellmate Chuck Darwin and mastering “Contra.” Darwin would ramble all night, relating stupid stories about Galapagos while Jacobs plugged away at the challenging game. Finally, the night before he was to be transferred to a dirty prison in Australia, Bart beat the game with his eyes closed.

Two weeks later, Jacobs arrived in Canberra on a prison barge with dozens of other nefarious rabble-rousers. He had spent the entire voyage sitting in a folding chair with his eyes closed. No one fucked with him. While the barge neared the dock, a gaggle of officers and aborigines assembled to buy and sell the cargo. The moment the doors opened, Jacobs pulled the pistols out of his pouch and blew away everyone at the docks that day, including everyone else on the barge, in a matter of seconds without opening his eyes.

He then stole all of their cigarettes and money and hopped off into the blazing Australian sunset. To this day, Bart Jacobs remains a folk legend in both Australia and England. Today he resides in Roxby Downs and is credited as the father of all kangaroos. The next time you see a kangaroo and wonder what he is hiding in his pouch, just remember, it could be a gun.
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CHAPTER TWO
Squash: Who Needs It?
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One summer evening circa 1985 my family was eating dinner at our house in Lake Geneva, WI. My brother Chris and I were all atwitter, for the next day the family was heading to Six Flags Great America. The level of excitement this created in me at age five is practically immeasurable. Chris was ten years old at this point, and therefore twice as mature as me, but still unable to wipe the smile off his face.

I don’t remember what was for dinner that night, I only remember the squash.

Even back then, I had a low tolerance for vegetables. There are a few here and there I don’t mind, and incidental vegetables that occur in soups and tacos and whatnot are fine. But in general I have always hated eating a side of plain old vegetables. Especially squash. I am a pretty staunch opponent of all things squash, largely because of the events of that summer night.

On the far side of each of our plates a pile of digusting neon-yellow cooked squash stared back at us. Chris and I avoided it for the duration of the meal, and our mother’s patience finally wore out.

“You have to eat the squash.”

“We’re not gonna eat it.”

“Oh. Yes you are.”

This went back and forth for a few minutes while mom cleared the rest of the table and dad went outside. I figured he was spitting out the squash in the yard. Finally, she escalated things to the ultimate ultimatum.

“If you guys don’t eat that squash, we’re not going to Six Flags tomorrow.”

Pure terror. That’s pretty much what came over me. Not only due to the thought of NOT going to Six Flags, but also because to get there I would have to eat squash. Basically Sophie’s Choice, posed to a five and ten year old. Mom finished up in the kitchen and left us to choose our fate. We sat there in the kitchen for what felt like hours, staring in silence at the stinky offender on our plates. The sun went down. Finally, my brother goes, “That’s it.”

Terror froze me again while I watched my brother pick up his fork and move it toward the squash. He scooped up a bite of the now room temperature kiddie-kryptonite. He brought the fork to his lips, paused and stared at me for second, then back at the fork. Then he shoved it in very quickly.

His face immediately contorted with agony and disgust. He jerked back from the table and braced himself. The squash was in his mouth for all of three seconds before it came back out, jettisoned ahead of the rest of his dinner that night. Yes, Christopher puked all over the table. It was both a fantastic and horrible display. My mom came running around the corner from the living room and froze before the gruesome squash aftermath. Chris and I stared back at her as if to say, “You did this, lady. You chose this.”

“Oh Jesus, just clean it up and go to bed. Throw away the squash.” She was not proud of us that night.

The next day we got to go to Six Flags. It was awesome. To this day I wonder if our mother would have still taken us had Chris not tried the squash. It was the most courageous thing I’ve ever seen anyone do.
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CHAPTER THREE
A Great Sandwich
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Finally on Wednesday morning, I felt well enough to drive two blocks to Lund’s to buy some groceries. I didn’t eat much on Monday or Tuesday. While perusing the aisles I followed my heart and invented this sandwich. I think it is responsible for my recovery.
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• Sourdough Bread
• Boar’s Head Pit Ham
• Smoked Gruyère Cheese
• Raspberry Chipotle Mayo
• Nueske’s Bacon
• Red Onion
• Lettuce
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You can also toast the bread first, with or without with cheese on it. I would add a slice of tomato if I served it at a deli, but personally I think tomatoes are stupid. And I do realize that this sandwich has two (2) kinds of pork on it but sometimes that’s what it takes to beat the flu.





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