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Peanut Gallery

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Jim Dandy to the Rescue

"My advice to you is not to inquire why or whither, but just enjoy your ice cream while it's on your plate." -Thornton Wilder

There are few greater joys in childhood than when your parents announce the family will be going out for ice cream that night. Immediately, visions of combinations of flavors and toppings flood your head like sugarplums on a sleepy Christmas Eve. Oh, the wondrous, endless possibilities. You dream of multiple scoops with multiple sauces, topped with whipped cream and a cherry. You even venture to imagine what it would be like to order and consume the Stanley Cup of ice cream sundaes: The Jim Dandy.

Five scoops of ice cream, marshmallow, strawberry, and chocolate topping, walnuts, bananas, sprinkles and whipped cream served in a massive goblet. A confectionery paradise that my siblings and I would clamor for any time my dad would agree to take us to Friendly's. We'd pile in the back of the car - four of us crammed in, dreaming of Jim Dandy's frozen goodness, vocalizing our wishes.

 Until...
"YOU"RE NOT GETTIN' A F*CKING JIM DANDY."
My dad had the ability to go from zero to maniac in less than six seconds. More like three. That's how little time it took him to crush our chilled dreams and dash our ice cream spirits.
"IT'S TOO MUCH. YOU'LL NEVER FINISH IT."
Ok... but do you have to yell like a madman? Ice cream was YOUR idea, crazy person. Excuse us for getting excited. Of course, we'd never say these things out loud, out of fear of a solid smack from Mr. Not-so-Softee. We'd end up getting a scoop or two. Maybe one topping. Two max. While DAD got a Jim Dandy. The hypocrite.

This little passion play took place so frequently that it has become part of my dad's legend. So for the first time, My Director and I decided to perpetuate that legend, and took Peanut for a Jim Dandy on Saturday.

She approves of this obnoxious concoction.
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Friday, November 15, 2013

My Mid-Blog Crisis

Perhaps you've noticed. I hope you have, but fear you haven't. It's been a while since I posted here. In fact, I've gone 0-for-October, some of September, and half of November. If a blogger in an infinite sea of them stops blogging, does he make a sound? The answer is a resounding no. But for those of you who are wondering, I do feel the need to explain my absence.

I seem to have hit a wall. There are several reasons. I will try my best to articulate them below. But as one of them is DOUBT, I am no longer sure that I can. Here goes...

Trolls: The internet is crawling with nameless, faceless, spineless cretins who will twist your words, call you names, take you out of context, and not give a shit they're doing it. They disagree with you and degrade you. They call you a bad parent and a worse person. They do it, of course, anonymously. I used to be better at ignoring these people, rising above them, or shutting them up with my own brand of non-anonymous snark. But it's tiring. And unnecessary. I have better things to do.

This is my hobby. It's supposed to be fun. A release. Like running. Except when I'm running, I don't encounter asshole hecklers telling me I'm fat or slow or have bad form or ugly sneakers. If they are there, I don't notice thanks to my earbuds. Good old earbuds. But alas, there are no eyebuds for the internet.

I'm not here to fight. I'm not here to battle the trolls of the web's middle earth. This isn't about having thicker skin. I am the youngest of four in a no-holds-barred loud-mouthed Italian family. I got thick skin. It's about exposing myself and my family to unnecessary ridicule. For a hobby. Because, like my friend recently wrote here, too many people are unwilling and unable to just scroll by something with which they disagree.
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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Watching the Waves

"Who's my good best friend I got?" -A question my Grandpa Sal routinely asked his 15 grandchildren, creating a very fierce competition.

My Grandpa Sal is one of my favorite people ever. Gregarious, loving, and loyal, he lit up a room even when he wasn't getting involved in everything going on in it. (We call my mom - his daughter - "Parsley" because she gets into everything. He was the original Parsley.) He and my Grandma Sylvia lived in the house behind us growing up. Our backyards connected. As a boy, I thought it was amazing to have my grandparents so close. We could eat meals at each other's houses any day we wanted. As a married man with in-laws, I realize my dad was a saint for buying his first home so close to his in-laws. And as a result he is certainly in heaven right now, having earned his place and then some.
Gramps with my niece, whose name he
couldn't pronounce. July 1985.

One of the most memorable things Grandpa Sal did was crash our swimming pool. We'd be in the pool in our backyard, and he'd stop whatever project he was working on in his, ambling through the gate between the two properties. Without saying a word, as we worked ourselves up into a frenzy anticipating the coming tidal wave, he soaked up our cheers and climbed onto the diving board. He'd proceed to perform a massive belly flop that was always meant to be a dive, swim to the shallow end while spitting water out of his mouth with every stroke, exit through the stairs at the opposite end of the pool, climb the slide and shimmy down it head first. Euphoric, my cousins, friends, and I would splash him and dunk him. He still wouldn't speak a word. The maestro of mayhem would then exit the pool, walk back to his yard, take off his swim trunks (yes, right there for all to see), hang them to dry, change back into his overalls and continue his work.
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