Fear of Failure on the 4th of July

I have a gas powered grill that scares the crap out of me.  Not because there’s anything wrong with the grill… rather, it’s because I only attempt to use it one or two times a year and consequently have to consult the bloodstained directions that came with it every time I light it up.  On top of that, as the MAN OF THE HOUSE, I feel as though it’s expected that my grilling skills be developed to the point that guests don’t have to rush home with a “sitter emergency” before they take their first bite of food.  But when that happens, it’s of little consequence since I’m so relieved that I didn’t become enveloped in flames during the startup process and end up running down the street, a screaming, unguided missile leaving a trail of smoldering fleshy footprints smelling like chicken.

Plus, I had a choking incident 7 or 8 years ago.  I’d grilled chicken that was safe, in the sense that the meat was the texture of starched cotton – so well cooked, it was.  However it was unsafe insofar as it caught in my throat and made me think I was having a heart attack.  How ironic, to be a military veteran, and to die on the 4th of July in the manner of Momma Cass.  I didn’t die, but felt terrible for several hours.  The next week I was told by the doctor that I should probably get an endoscopy, which was a strangely comfortable experience.  Turns out I suffered from a condition known as Schatzki’s Ring, which basically prevents one from swallowing when it’s flared up.  Prevented me from swallowing, too.  My ring had to be dilated, and I had foggy memories of the doctor mumbling something to that effect after I awoke from the procedure.   The guy on the bed next to mine awoke about when I did, but instead of being reflective about what he’d just gone through, he took to dancing a little jig around the room with his ass hanging out of the gown.  I made sure my privates were covered and returned to reflecting.

The birth of our child 19 months ago adds more pressure to the whole situation.  Do we go see fireworks, i.e., compete violently for a parking spot, haul our incredibly complex baby support system to a decent viewing location in 112 degree weather, only to find out that somebody pushed over the Porta-potty and the firworks aren’t starting for another 2 hours (did I mention my stomach would likely contain 7  beers and 2.2 pounds of fiery buffalo wings?)  Also, at her age it’s a distinct possibility that our child will be horrified by the sound, and we’d have to evacuate in the dark, stepping on people’s groins and tuna sandwiches along the way in the absence of any discernable escape route (that’s undiscernable without the beers.)

 So it’s a fearful day for me.  I’ll ask that you join me at this point in a word of prayer:

Heavenly Father, allow me the meager accomplishment of cooking edible food on this, our nation’s Holy Day.  Provide me with the strength to serve my own interests over those of my child on this day as I struggle with the primordial question of whether or not to attend fireworks.  Amen.

Oh, and one more thing:

If anyone is to burst into flames or lose fingers, let it be my neighbor.  I’m sure his pain threshold is higher than mine, but his IQ is much lower.  Amen.

Happy 4th, everybody… especially you readers in East Timor!


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