Ah, a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, where the wife does all the work and the husband just carves the bird, then watches football. But this year, our Thanksgiving was nothing like this scene. Not even close.
Every year for as far back as I can remember, we’ve had company for Thanksgiving. But for the first time in our 31 years of marriage, we’d be quietly celebrating alone, just the two of us – and our cats. Where were our daughters? I guess, being adults and having their own incomes inspired them to make other plans. We will cherish their texts from Florida.
Then the day before Thanksgiving, we received an invitation from two friends whom I will call “Dave” and “Susan” (out of respect for Terry’s and Sharon’s privacy), to join them dining out for Thanksgiving.
Of course, I had to decline this generous offer. I had already made exciting plans to prepare Michele a home-cooked meal of microwaved turkey pot pies with peas, accompanied by Uncle Ben’s rice pilaf. Strangely, my wife questioned my thinking: “Excuse me? You declined??? What’s wrong with you? “So, you would rather eat genetically mutated turkey bits and plastic peas than join our friends for the real thing? Call him back and tell him YES, you idiot.” Technically, she didn’t actually say “you idiot.” But I’m fairly certain she was thinking it.
The plan was to enjoy the special Thanksgiving Day All-You-Can-Eat buffet at the Tulalip Casino. The restaurant did not take reservations. First come, first served. We arrived at what we thought was a reasonable hour: 1:00 p.m. I gave my keys to the valet and we headed inside the casino. I was surprised to see hundreds of people playing the slot machines. Maybe I’m just old-fashioned, but nothing says Thanksgiving like playing the Beyoncé-dollar slots. Continue reading “Thanksgiving at the Casino” »
Author’s note: Since it’s almost Valentine’s Day, I thought I would celebrate with a true story about love and romance. Sometimes you never know when or where love will find you, as this story proves. Their names have been changed out of respect for their privacy but the story is exactly what happened. – tej]
“Pardon me, sir. But do you play bridge?” That’s how it all started. A simple question, posed by a middle-aged woman to a complete stranger. To be more specific, Beth was emboldened to ask this question in Aisle 7 of the grocery store, somewhere between the shampoo section and men’s shaving cream.
“Um, well, uh, yeah, I do”, stammered the elderly man, confused by the query and not sure why this mysterious woman was accosting him in the middle of a store. His name was Ed – a kindly fellow, well into his 80s, with a warm, jovial smile. He was just minding his own business. But Beth was not finished. “My mother plays bridge. Would you like to meet my mother sometime?”
More stammering. More confusion. Mixed with an extra helping of embarrassment. Ed was caught in a deer-in-the-headlights moment. He had no idea what the correct answer was to this audacious inquiry. So, being the gentleman that he was, and not wanting to offend this lady in Aisle 7, he replied, in his noticeably southern drawl, “I dunno. Well, um, I guess that would be ahhhlrahhht.”
Apparently by “sometime,” Beth meant NOW. Because before Ed had time to ask her name, she was on the phone with her mom. “Mom, meet Ed. Ed, meet my mom, Margaret.” And then she handed the phone to Ed and walked away. Suddenly there were now two deer caught in the headlights – and neither of them knew what to say. Margaret wanted to say, “Beth, why are you trying to embarrass me? Hang up this phone this instant!” But Margaret was raised to be polite and instead told Ed, “What a pleasure it is to make your acquaintance,” hoping this awkward situation would be over quickly, never to be discussed again.
Continue reading “A Valentine Story – Love and Romance in Aisle 7” »
On July 4th, we will once again celebrate our independence from the tyranny of England. Those British monarchs can be so oppressive. If it were up to Queen Elizabeth, we’d all be forced to drink Earl Grey tea with every meal.
Every year at this time, Americans proudly mark our independence with fireworks, burgers on the grill and binge drinking. And why shouldn’t we? Ours is the greatest nation in the solar system. I’m a patriotic American – something my wife will never understand because, sadly, she’s Canadian.
When it comes to being great, no country on earth is better than the U.S. of A. We’re NUMBER ONE! Look at the Olympics – God almost always backs the Americans – except in soccer – because he knows that Americans love God more than any other country. Every time a U.S. athlete wins, the first thing he does is give thanks to God. The Czech Republic (ranked the least religious nation on earth) never thanks God. And do you remember the last time they won a gold medal? Me neither. Because they hate God.
Oh sure, I’ve read a few misleading statistics about how the USA ranks 12th in college graduates, 27th in life expectancy, 37th in healthcare, 47th in press freedom and 53rd in ability to locate Mexico on a map. (I’m pretty sure it’s somewhere west of France.) But most of those statistics came from CNN’s World Desk Editor Fareed Zakaria. And that sure doesn’t sound like an American name to me. He probably has an axe to grind about his visa status.
I don’t care what statistics you want to throw in my face. It doesn’t change the fact that the USA is #1 in the world. Finland may rank first in education. And technically speaking, the Netherlands’ first place ranking in broadband access just nudges out our 23rd place finish. But in many other categories, the USA is Numero Uno. For example, America ranks …
- 1st in guns per capita
- 1st in cocaine seizures
- 1st in obesity
- 1st in percentage of the population that’s incarcerated
- 2nd in carbon emissions – but we’re coming after you, China! So watch your back!
Continue reading “America is the greatest nation on earth – In your FACE, Denmark” »
What comes to mind when you hear the phrase, the spirit of Christmas? When I was young, my notion was so naive. Like many children, I believed Santa and his reindeer flew around the world on Christmas Eve bringing presents to all the children. But then I turned 25, and I began to question this narrative. I realized Santa traveling the world with eight reindeer was, of course, a complete impossibility. He would have needed far more than eight reindeer even in the best of weather conditions.
Now that I’m older, I know, of course, that Santa doesn’t deliver the presents (well, not most of them anyway). People do. I have learned that the spirit of the Holiday Season is first and foremost about people buying gifts for other people – and the 2 A.M. Black Friday fight fest to see who grabs the last 60% off flat screen TV – you or that jerk with the mullet haircut in camo pants and a T-shirt that reads “Recall Santa. I didn’t get what I wanted.”
As far as what to get others on your Christmas list, I’ve discovered – mainly from watching my relatives – that Christmas is about ensuring that the recipient knows damn well how incredibly thoughtful your gift is, compared to their lame attempt. Studies have shown that most gifts will be forgotten within 48 hours – never to be seen again until next spring’s garage sale – or re-gifted to a co-worker at the office Holiday Party. So why not get into the true spirit of the season by giving them instead a gift they’ll remember for a long time – the gift of guilt?
Continue reading “This Holiday Season, Give the Gift of Guilt” »
Christmas Day is just around the corner, a time of peace and love and harmony, unless you’re Jewish. But this year, our Christian values of tolerance and forgiveness are being overwhelmed by a cataclysmic war on a scale the world has never seen. The images we see on television are heartbreaking. When will this senseless war stop?
No, I’m not talking about the twelve-year war in Afghanistan, nor the civil war tearing apart Syria. I’m not even talking about the brutal Mattress Price Wars, although the televised images of those retailers viciously slashing prices before my very eyes is enough to make me cry. No, I am, of course, talking about something far more pernicious and deadly: The War on Christmas.
In her lovingly written new book, Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas, distinguished author and former Alaskan beauty pageant winner Sarah Palin launches into a heartwarming tirade in defense of Christian values against the onslaught of political correctness, the secularization of Christmas, and the abominations of atheists and liberals (which two groups are, of course, essentially the same). And I for one could not agree with her views more, even if I understood what she was talking about.
Continue reading “Sarah Palin wants to save Christmas. You can help by buying her new book.” »
Every year it seems like thousands of people come to me for advice on how to improve their love life. Most people call me the Love Doctor (except for my wife, who usually calls me by her pet name, “you bastard”).
For years people the world over have sought my advice as a foremost authority on matters of the heart. Perhaps it’s because I’m half-German. Or maybe because I got an A- in French in high school – the language of love. I don’t actually have any formalized training in this arena. And I still don’t quite understand position #27 of the Kama Sutra.
My love advice credentials stem from a series of devastating, soul-crushing, failed romances in my formative youth, all of which ended catastrophically. (To this day, I still can’t look at a wrist corsage without suffering traumatic flashbacks.)
February 14th is Valentine’s Day, officially recognized by Hallmark as the one day each year men are expected to demonstrate their love for their wife by buying a sappy card with flowers and chirping birds, inside of which is written a banal poem with hackneyed rhymes like “you’re my wife” and “rest of my life”. Oh, and don’t forget the heart-shaped box of chocolates. Here’s a useful tip: Make sure you leave at least 5 chocolates for your wife – I’d suggest the caramel-centered ones. You know how much she loves caramel. The other 364 days you guys can go back to not showering and channel-surfing between ESPN 1 and ESPN 2. Your job is done.
Continue reading “When planning a romantic Valentine’s Day getaway, don’t forget to invite your wife” »