please stop tickling me

In which we laugh and laugh and laugh. And love. And drink.

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Location: Portland, Oregon

Otium cum Dignitatae

Monday, December 18, 2006

Man, it's disorienting being Me

You know folks, last night I was vouchsafed the opportunity to attend Portland's newest high-ticket Cajun joint. It's called 'Thickener', or something, and I wish to tell you: man that sure is a good plate of shellfish that has sausage in it (take that, Mosaic Law!)! Or: the sausagefish was tradish, delish, and really quite a dish. I finished it off with a palate cleanser of steak and potatoes.
Bee's parents were a treat, too. A retired man who has devoted the remainder of his life to boring waitresses with details about certain wine grapes, and his wife who largely kept silent until I ordered a whiskey at the end of the meal. She just kept saying, "MAKER'S! MAKER'S MARK! MAKER'S-MAKER'S MARK!" over and over, and I figured that this might just be one of those historical scenarioes in which The Man of the House casually drapes a napkin over his wife's head, and goes on with the meal.

As far as Men of the House go, they're from that lucky part of Illinois that boasts one Dennis 'Denny' Hastert as their congressional representative. They like him: he knows where to put the pork. And also, he used to be a wrestling coach. "Oh. Child molester, eh?" Bee and I said in unison.
But the overarching message was how these two lifelong GOP-ers (actually, I wouldn't be too surprised if she was a 'honey, who are we voting for?' type) came to vote almost Not Republican at all, this last election. I think it really was Foley, especially since Dad was smiling and almost slobbering at the possibility of maybe one day getting to torture someone.

In my upcoming book, Tuesdays With Food; A Lighthearted Romp, I detail my upbringing in a traditional Irish/Catholic/alcoholic (or, 'Cathoholic') household, leading me down the river of life (that is the story of us all) to my being mentored by the firm hand of an older gentleman. Curiously, it's also a cookbook.
Since I abhor the common recipe book, I mostly lay out a few rough principles on which I predicate all cooking (rule #3: Italian cuisine suffered for too long without the comfort of soy sauce), but there are some mindblowing additions to the canon, as well. Rule #eleventeen: Change the game, don't play it.
Like Portland Winter Night Sky Soup. When Booty was cooking and I was waiting tables, he finally confessed to me that he was afraid of soup (sorry folks; he's Lebanese!). While in the middle of a busy lunch rush, I grabbed a big ol' pot and proceeded to demonstrate to him how easy it actually is.
I chopped up one large yellow onion very fine, started it on the fire with lots of olive oil. When it was starting to get translucent, I added thyme and rosemary. When it went from translucent to mush, I dumped in enough white wine to cover it.
As that started to bubble, I chopped up half a red cabbage, added it in and waited for it to get soft. Whilst doing so, I peeled some garlic cloves and looked upon him pityingly.
The garlic went in, and thennnn comes the soy sauce! It saltens the whole thing up, and gives it a meaty, gravy-like flavor that one could liken to beetless borscht. Top it with some fresh grated parmesan, and you got this purple madness so reminiscent of Portland's sky at night, in the winter. And thus the desert is crossed, eh?
It's really good, and I share it here in a spirit of goodwill brought on by The Festival of the Last Minute, as we call it here in the Greater Portland-land area.

Speaking of the Reason for the Season, we got Santa's birthday comin' up. When Bobby and crew took me out to The Dalles the other day, I heard this commotion approaching not very fast behind me. A hubub. I looked over at Horne of a Dilemma and said, "What is about to happen to me?"
In response, he screamed and ran away. Okay, I thought, and turned. It was a John Deere tractor pulling this large wooden thing filled with people (drinking, I suspect) and sporting a man in a Santa suit at the back, waving.
"How's it goin'?" I yelled, in my casual country style. He said it was all right. I wonder if I had run into him later over some cocktails, his tune would have changed:
"Yeah, I used to be a high-school wrestling coach until...(breaking into sobs) Those little bitches!"

Well, tonight I gotta go take down the Yuletide Extravaganza (a cocktail, perhaps, or a sexual position). It's something the symphony does...And that's all I got for ya'. It took less than four hours for me to help build the stage, so I get the feeling it's going to be a short night.
One of the guys I loaded it in with is a rigger. Those guys get paid better than me, I'm pretty sure, and rightfully so: they go up to high places with heavy things. They're completely batshit crazy, all of 'em, and this one's no exception.
He's got the crazy eyes as he's telling the story of some unfortunate named Glenn who "was mouthin' off", or something. For his troubles, Billy (the rigger: what is it about adult men who prefer the diminutive version of their names?) sent down a length of rope from the cieling, looped it around the guy's feet and tripped him from on high.
In short, he did something I'm pretty sure no cowboy ever did: lassoed a motherfucker from fifty feet up, easy. And they also have hooks and chains up there.
"Remind me never to piss off a rigger," I said.
"BINGO!" said Billy, pointing at me, eyes all wide, mouth in a little 'o', framed by a tiny moustache.
I actually would like to be one of those guys, though, as I'm fond of climbing and am sort of a psychopath, as well.

Hm. I believe some dinner is in order here. More installments of this sort to come, may god have mercy on your miserable souls.



Blogger Gringa Alta Prima said...


never thought of you as much of a psychopath, and I must say that if you were one, well, you're rather bad at it. But I did always appreciate your lack of any real fear of heights.

The most fear-of-heights-defying act I ever saw Rich Bachelor perform occurred one night as we walked home from downtown along the Burnside Bridge. We had been out drinking all night and decided to continue our intoxicated debauchery on the beautiful Portland Esplanade with its pathways that float amidst the even more intoxicated Willamette river. Problem was, the gate to the stairway that descends from the Southside of said bridge to the aforementioned riverside trail had been locked from our side. We could clearly see that the gate could be opened from the other side, but we had no access from where we stood down.... or so it seemed.

Next thing I know, Bachelor is climbing the outside of the gate, around some slippery posts sticking out from our inaccessible doorway (this feat, from which a simple slip would result in a 50-foot drop onto the southbound lanes of Interstate-5), and I nearly had a heart attack. I fell to the sidewalk, huddling with my head between my knees, in some kind of infantile attempt at fighting back an overwhelming sense of nausea until I finally heard that gentle click of Rich unlocking the door.

Man, I never thought of myself as a wimp, but suddenly I realized that Rich here could perform this death-defying act with grace and ease, while for me, well I nearly fainted from my safe little perch on the inside railing of one of Portland's lowest bridges.

You oughta be a rigger, Rich.

11:24 PM  

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