Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Beef. It’s what I had for dinner…
(this was originally written Sunday for whatever it's worth.)

So Jenny went out of town and knowing I’m not much of a cook and fearing I would eat Jack-in-the-box tacos every meal, she brought home a package of ground beef for me. Beef is great. You can make all kinds of stuff with it. You can form it into patties and have hamburgers or make chili or just brown it, add stuff to it and—Dinner!

So today I finally broke out the package that had been sitting in the fridge for two days after eating only microwave popcorn on Saturday. I put it in a skillet and searched the pantry for things to add. I quickly found a can of whole tomatoes which was poured in at once. I was off to a good start. It looked and smelled like the beginning of a great dish. But then I was stuck. I should add some onion and green peppers to this. But I didn’t have either. I hunted for more stuff in the pantry and found a package of Lipton’s onion soup mix. Score! In it went. I hit the fridge next, where I found sour cream and cheese. I’ll shred some cheese and add a huge dollop of sour cream on top. This is going to be great!

You know how if you’re not much of a cook, and you throw something together that you would otherwise consider kinda gross if served to you by someone else, but since you made it yourself with only the most basic of cooking skills, it’s almost scrumptious? Guys, you know what I’m talking about, right?

Well, I would hardly describe this dish as being scrumptious. And I had it not only once, but twice.

El Cheapo cooking tip.

Well, it’s more like a preparation of food tip. While grating cheese, instead of trying to pass the cheese over the grater a dozen or so times as fast as you can, just take long strokes, bearing down on the block, forcing more cheese through. This is way more productive.

Everybody already does this? Oh.

Currently Reading: Zen in the Art of Writing—Releasing the creative genius within you, by Ray Bradbury, which I totally recommend although it’s probably not even in print anymore so I would let you borrow my copy accept that it’s so old the cover has become brittle and is breaking away at random. It is divided not into chapters, but essays containing life experiences that inspired his stories.


Around two or three in the morning, I would have to go to the bathroom. I would lie in bed for half an hour or so, torn between the agonized need for relief, and what I knew was waiting for me in the dark hall leading up to the attic. At last, driven by pain, I would edge out of our dining room into that hall, thinking: run fast, leap up, turn on the light, but whatever you do, don’t look up. If you look up before you get the light on, It will be there. The Thing. The terrible Thing waiting at the top of the stairs. So run, blind: don’t look.

I ran, I leaped. But always, I couldn’t help it, at the last moment, I blinked and stared into the awful darkness. And it was always there. And I screamed and fell back downstairs, waking my parents. My dad would groan and turn over in bed, wondering where this son of his had come from. My mother would get up, find me in a scrambled heap in the hall, and go up to turn on the light. She would wait for me to climb up to the bathroom and come back down to have my tearstained face kissed and my terrified body tucked in bed.

The next night and the next night and the night after that, the same thing happened. Driven mad by my hysterics, Dad got out the old chamber pot and shoved it under my bed.

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