Here’s what you learn at the San Diego County Fair: You can fry anything.
I’m not talking about the normal stuff, like hotdogs and chicken and whathaveyou. I’m not even talking about the “Did you hear that they are now frying…” stuff, like Twinkies and sticks of butter. (Sticks of butter!)
No, no that stuff. I’m talking about a place called Chicken Charlies, where they’ll fry you up some cereal. They’ll fry you Kool-Aid. Nobody who sees an advertisement for fried Kool-Aid pauses to wonder if Kool-Aid taste good fried, because we’re all wondering how in the name of all that is holy do you fry Kool-Aid in the first place?
As you pack up your life to move, you seem to have time for nothing else but inventory management. Your house smells of nothing but cardboard and packing tape, and you wonder why you’ve been using a knife to cut cheese for the past couple of years when you apparently had a whole set of specialized utensils for that purpose that you never bothered to take out of their package.
We’ve moved to LA from Connecticut, and while that may sound pretty far and pretty radical, we should remember that Liz is from Southern California, so this is a homecoming for her. We’re terribly excited to be here.
If I could write a letter to Shamu, I’d first check in just to make sure he was doing okay. (Actually, first I’d make sure I was talking to the right Shamu. There seem to be, like, five of them.) I’d want to know how he was doing because he sure seemed happy, and he sure seemed to be making a lot of kids happy, including ours. I’d also thank him for his hard work, and compliment him on being able to jump out of the water even though he weighs about nine thousand pounds.
I was thinking about Shamu because I was thinking about the family vacation we took a couple of weeks ago. If you’re like me, you do a fair bit of calculating during these vacations.
Case in point: How much is it going to cost to take the family to sea world when we’re out in San Diego? Probably a bunch. Tickets are pretty expensive, after all. Food is prohibitively expensive, which is why we ate at a famous local diner that used to have some kind of terribly politically incorrect name (can’t remember what that was now, but when Liz and I were reading the famous history on the back of the menu I noticed that we both raised our eyebrows at the same time.) We filled up on breakfast burritos (or whatever they’re called in Spanish) and gave Finn and Lucy pancakes and went into Sea World on a Friday morning in February, when the crowd would be about 5000 instead of about 40000.
I want to watch American Idol. I really do. Not because I love the show, but because it is something that my wife and I bond over, and it’s either that or The Bachelor. And The Bachelor, which falls somewhere between crack and cocaine on the addictive scale, is kind of depressing. Even the winners are doomed to a hideous public break up that people like me, recovering celebrity gossip junkie that I am, will track with breathless excitement.
So why don’t I watch American Idol? Good, clean fun that it is?
Because Simon Cowell left. And I could only watch Stephen Tyler make so many sexual innuendos at seventeen year old girls before I wanted to pour bleach down my ear canals. (Also, he looks like some kind of Brooklyn hipster’s leathery art project.)
Simon Cowell’s absence made me realize that for me, he, and he alone, made the show not just watchable, but inspirational. I know that’s a funny way to describe him. But watching Mr. Cowell reminded me how important it is to have that person in your life who can help you truly become not just yourself, but the best version of yourself.
Very Hallmark, I know – just hear me out.
I’m calling this a resolution-free new year, and I’m saying it loudly because I feel proud that I’m bucking the trend. (I’m a Trend-Bucker! Look out, Trends! You’re about to be Bucked!)
But that’s not exactly true. I did make one, I’m just sort of embarrassed about it.
Here it is: I resolved to not just eat food to be polite.
I do this all the time. Maybe we’re having a small get together, and somebody brings over a snack, like, say, Lays Brand Potato Chips. I am under the (apparent) misconception that like if I don’t wolf down the whole bowl, snatching it away others people and making audible gobbling noises, the person is going to have their feelings hurt because their chip-bringing wasn’t met with sufficient enthusiasm. Like that person’s entire self-worth is wrapped up in what percentage of the bowl of Lays has been eaten.