Wednesday, April 04, 2007
I am a man. I don't think there's any question about that. My potent musk of masculine virility permeates everything I do, so I think it's safe to assume that you all get a digitized textual whiff of it every time you read this blog. I also assume that for all of you lady Bucketeers and about 10% of you dudes, that's the main thing that brings you back here again and again and again. I've read most of my posts, so I'm sure it can't be the writing.
As a man, I feel the need on occasion to roast meat over a fire. I don't particularly enjoy it, but there's a primal instinct that activates deep within my brain, set off by some unknowable trigger. OK, if I had to guess, it's probably to counteract a momentary lapse of manliness, like for instance if I catch myself noticing a woman's poor fashion choice instead of the woman herself ("Oh my God, she's trying to pull off an A-line dress with shoulders like that! Look everyone, it's Wladimir Klitschko!").
Errors like that require me to act in the manner of my prehistoric, pre-metrosexual forebears, but dropping some pre-cut frozen hamburger patties on my natural gas grill. Just like the caveman.
So anyway, I'm out there last night cooking (I think I had accidentally been too excited about a preview for American Idol the night before) and my middle son was watching, standing by, passively absorbing a Man Lesson, all of which I offer for free, silently, like Gary Cooper with no poncey lecturing or gay hugging at the end. Meat goes on red, comes off brown. He either fucking gets it or he don't.
I'm seasoning up the patties as they cook--just like the Caveman!--with my special, very manly personal concoction of grill spices. Just your standard stuff like seasoned salt, cracked black pepper, a touch of garlic poweder, some ground ginger, oregano, barley, saffron, vanilla bean pods and a radish cut into a rose for garnish.
As this mixture passes through the air in a cascade of applied flavorosity, my boy hits me with another unanswerable question.
"Ooh, Dad! Dad!" He's very exercised. True to form, I ignore him completely. It sounds mean, but generally speaking the conversations I have with any of my children do not require participation on my part.
"Dad! What if meat were made of powder?!"
I love all my sons, Saladin, Tar-MacAdam and little Pfaegynn, all in their own way and for who they are. Originally, yes, I loved the middle one the least out of a combination of learned social response and--a middle child myself--as a form of sublimated self-loathing I then healthily transferred on another target.
But now that he's older, more able to express himself, to show what kind of a personality he has and will have as he grows, I can honestly say I'm past all that now and I can love him less on his own merits. And I do.
It's because of the questions. Still with the questions. They come at me in impossible "What if...?!" form now. What if our hands were pudding? What if birds ate people? What if books had mouths? What if I pointed this at you and it was loaded?
I like to think it's just the seed-root of an active imagination that can see beyond the obvious and empirical to a universe of possibility bounded only by the limitless combinations his young and supple mind can conjure.
But mostly it just pisses me off because I can't think of an answer.
As I was grilling, this time it was easy. I just told him "What if you didn't ask so many fucking questions? 'What if meat were made out of powder?' What are you, retarded? Go shit in a bag, you little freak" and then I hit him with the grill spatula.
I know it was wrong. I shouldn't have done it. What's the right answer to a question like that? In retrospect, it's obvious:
"If meat were made of powder, Keith Richards would have snorted it."
And then I should have hit him with the grill spatula.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.9
It's happening. Two down, 160 to go. I've got all my personal happiness riding on the Perfect Season, but I feel OK about it. I can't see any way it goes wrong.