Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A Tale of Two Grannies

Schrodinger's Cat Theory as it Applies to Health and Clam Chowder
Those of you who have read the Desert Diary section of Desert Exposure--the premiere magazine of art and leisure in southern New Mexico--know that my brother takes care of our elderly father. How elderly? Well, his Social Security number is #1.
     My brother got this honor when we had a family meeting to discuss who was best suited for this task, and he was the only one who showed up.
     I, myself, had the pleasure of having my mother-in-law move in with my family and I for a blissful few months. Blissful, because they were so few.
     What my wife didn't tell me was that her mother would be an additional person we'd have to take with us wherever we went. To dinner, on vacation, even our romantic date nights weren't safe. Let me tell you, that's not the kind of third wheel a man fantasizes about.
     Not me, of course. I don't need to fantasize because I'm happily married to the sexiest woman I've ever been told "Not tonight, I have a headache" by.
     Fortunately, my mother-in-law wasn't with us very long before she decided to move out. I don't know if my telling her to get the Hell out had anything to do with it, but I don't think so. I think she just missed being alone and hungry, with her utilities shut off.
     Everybody cried on the day she left.
     "It's okay," I comforted the kids. "We live in the southwest where the winters are very mild."
     "Oh, Jim," my wife told me. "How could you? It's the holidays."
     "I'm just getting an early start on my New Year's resolution," I explained. She had made me promise I would lose 150 pounds of ugly fat, and this seemed the most expedient.
     "I don't want to go!" my mother-inn-law wailed as I pried her wrinkly old fingers from the doorknob.
     I must admit, even I had a few tears in my eyes as my foot considerately helped her out the door.
     In the end, my wife took it well. As time passed she's come to accept my decision. I no longer wake up with bruises I didn't have when I went to bed. I no longer require the services of a food taster. We may even start having date nights again, with heavy emphasis on the "date" part, if you get my drift. When I push for a specific date, she assures me, "When Hell freezes over."
     Ha! The joke's on her. With climate change, that may be sooner than she thinks.
     My buddy Maloney, however, wasn't so lucky. His mother-in-law moved in for what was supposed to be a few days to take care of his children while his wife recuperated from a nasty bout with the flu. It's been seven years and he's still waiting for her to leave.
     Interestingly enough, it was the flu that was responsible for his marriage. Back when Maloney and his wife first started dating, HE caught the flu and SHE moved in for a few days to take care of him. When he got better, she showed no signs of moving out, and, after her sacrifice, he felt guilty asking her to.
     "Jim," he confided in me, "she won't move out!"
     "That's your problem," I confided back.
     That was more than twenty years ago.
     Maloney's a lucky man, though. At least his mother-in-law cooks. The only thing my mother-in-law ever brought to the dinner table was her appetite. That, and a revolving door of free-loading relatives who never met a meal they didn't like.
     "What's that?"
     "Leftovers for the dog."
     "Our favorite!"
     Why, just the cost of Hot Pockets alone was driving me to the poorhouse.
     Maloney may complain--in fact, that's what he does best--but I'll say one thing about his mother-in-law, she makes an excellent clam chowder.
     "I love clam chowder," I told him, hoping for an invitation.
     "That's because you don't have to eat it every day," he told me. "You ever have clam chowder for breakfast?"
     Hmm... maybe he has a point.
     "She makes her own version of Eggs Benedict," he continued, "only, instead of Hollandaise sauce, she uses clam chowder. She says it's healthier for me."
     "Maybe she has a point," I told him. "You ever hear of Schrodinger's Cat?"
     "He has a cat?"
     "Never heard of him."
     "Well, Erwin Schrodinger was a Nobel Prize-winning Austrian physicist, and he had a box. In that box he put his cat. He also put something that could kill the cat in the box as well. Then he sealed the lid. Now, it was his theory that the cat was both alive and dead at the same time just as long as he never opened up that box and cause the theoretical to become the physical."
     "I know you have a point," Maloney told me. "I just don't know if you'll ever get to it."
     "My point is this: you opened Schrodinger's box and now you have to live with his dead cat."
     Maloney considered that.
     "Are you drunk?"
     Now it was my turn to consider.
     "You're thinking about my mother-in-law," I said.
American Chimpanzee
as featured in Desert Exposure Magazine

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Miso, Honey

I write this to you because, as a fellow warrior, you're the only one who can understand.
    Have you seen the movie Full Metal Jacket? It takes place in the sixties and is about the Viet Nam war. It was directed by Stanley Kubrick, whom I've always found pretentious and over-rated, but that's neither here nor there. Anyway…
    There's a scene in it where a young prostitute is trying to drum up business by telling some American soldiers, "Me so horny. Me so horny. Me love you long time." The scene was so moving that the rap group Two Live Crew wrote a tender love ballad about it, also called Me So Horny. Well…
    I told you that to tell you this:
    I was recently at an Asian restaurant, and I innocently asked the cute little Asian waitress what the soup of the day was.
    "Miso, honey," she said.
    That immediately sent me into a Viet Nam flashback.
    When I came back to consciousness a half-hour later I was wandering around aimlessly, covered in blood...
     ...and hungry for more Chinese food.
     The war.
     It never leaves you.
American Chimpanzee