I blame girls.
Just three weeks back, my son was a mop-headed, Bob Marley
T-shirted, worn-out tennis shoed slacker who didn't bother wearing
his glasses because who could see through that hair? Rooted to his
chair, bathed in perpetual flat-screen glow, he exhibited all the
motivation of a three-toed sloth on vacation.
Then something happened.
He got a haircut. He worked out. He got new glasses,
shoes, pants, and collared shirts. He used ... (sniff) ... I don't
mean to cry ... (sniff) ... he used deodorant.
Recently, en route to my butcher, I saw the kid loping
along the sidewalk on his way home from "chess club" surrounded by
chattering, giggling, preening, long-haired, fabulously attractive
cheerleaders and I drove into a car. The grin on his face could've
severed his spine.
As I backed my car out of a minivan, I realized my son was
afflicted. He was stricken by a vile and pernicious syndrome that
snuck up on us and threatened the very foundation of my role as a
caregiver, a father and a practicing barbecueist. Watching him
saunter by, enthronged by pretty girls, clearly well groomed, I
realized with a father's sad bemusement: my son is a
Look, I'm a vegetarian. Once removed. I'm very careful
that the animals I consume were raised on a strict diet of whatever
they were standing in. When Roon told me he was a vegetarian, I was
standing in the kitchen in an apron with "Kill it/Grill it" written
in blood spattered capitals, cradling a pork shoulder I had
slow-roasted for 12 hours in a sauce only a mad chemist could
understand. I told him he was in the wrong house.
I asked my doctor what I could do.
"Has he been exposed to girls?"
"I saw him walking with some yesterday."
There's no cure for vegetarianism in 14-year-old boys who
are tall, good-looking and surrounded by gorgeous cheerleaders. As
his condition's worsened, my poor son has lost weight, beefed up
and seems suspiciously active. His grades have improved. It's
Up to my ears in a plate of emergency pork, I tried not to
cry. This year I was going to teach him how to grill a rack of
lamb. We were going to have cedar plank fois gras.
I know it's unfair. I know I should respect his decision.
I know 23 bajillion people across the globe don't eat meat. And I
do respect him. I do.
I'm just disappointed. Which, again, is unfair. But you've
never had my ribs. You have no idea of the magnificent joy I get
seeing my boy destroy a rack of baby-backs, mouth full of pork,
looking up at me like I'm some kind of meat magician. My grill
skills are legendary. I breathe fire. I sweat sauce.
On whom will I bestow my cherished recipe for
Christopher lives in Chicago with his wife and kids and can also be found at deathbychildren.com.
See more of Christopher's stories here.
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