About this time every year, I wax prosaic on certain old subjects. Cupcake recently remembered one when I was in the kitchen preparing dinner last night and I would be remiss if I didn’t share it. First, let me introduce you to Roger to get an idea of his persona.
Down in South Carolina where I first discovered adult beverages in 1967, any good story was measured by how many beers it took to recite it. The more bottles involved, the better the tale. I’m sure this metric is employed to the immediate north as well as Georgia.
Roger was never the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree and was also quite fond of the Wildwood weed- aka the Mexican tomato or what is now Colorado’s and Washington’s Official State flower. Roger was also married to Barb who worked as a nurse. Barb frowned on smoking dope because she felt it reduced you to a giggling, mindless fool-but what did she know? For that reason, Roger was forced to alter his mind when Barb was absent. He liked to get a buzz on right before dinner and coast into the evening. In fact, he wasn’t above getting a buzz on in the morning and coasting into the day. I’m sure Barb wasn’t oblivious to his machinations but she held her tongue in check for several more decades before packing up the kids and leaving him.
One Friday evening when Barb was out of town, several of us were over to help him in his evening ritual before we, too, headed home to our Cupcakes. My friend Willie (a fellow AF Vet- d. 1996) had recently come into possession of some of the new, high-test stuff they were growing indoors. It was light years past what we called pot up until then and reduced you to monosyllabic words and grunts. Having spent two years in Southeast Asia during the Vietnamese Boundary Dispute, I thought I had encountered the best there was. This new stuff was stronger than the Laotian stuff that was soaked in opium. It really rolled your socks down.
Roger proceeded to put the veggies on and got out some beef steaks from the ice box. About that time (1978), they had just come out with those absorbent pads to put under the steaks or else we had just realized it for the first time. Apparently Roger hadn’t gotten the briefing on this new development in food preparation yet. We were sitting around the kitchen table having a beer by now and the subtle stench of burning plastic started to fill the room. Conversation about the Seattle Sonics’ playoff chances slowly ground to a halt and our noses all perked up. We weren’t smelling dope.
Roger immediately grabbed the trash can out from under the kitchen sink and ran outside with it. After dumping it out, he came back in and shrugged his shoulders. By now the aroma of plastic was overwhelming with a slight hint of paper. Willie came over to the stove and observed that the smell seemed to be emanating from there. He grabbed a fork, lifted a steak and busted out laughing.
“Dude! You forgot to peel off the steak Kotexes. That’s gonna taste skanky!”
Rog quickly flipped them out onto the chopping block and removed most of it with the fork and a spatula. Without skipping a beat, back in the pan they went. No flies on Roger. His only observation was along the lines of “Sheesh. That’s pretty stupid. Who dreamed up that brain fart? You’d think they’d of put a warning on there so people wouldn’t do that. Huh?”
Last night I noticed they have changed the color of the pads to black. Back in Roger’s day they were still white and easy to see. Well, if you weren’t too stoned, anyway. I wonder if the steak Kotexes in Montana are black now. Roger’s learning curve isn’t that steep.