Dangerspouse Rides Again

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Garage - Track

Mar. 23, 2004 - 5:24 p.m.

Silk Purses

I want to be Arthur. One of my favorite lines in that movie happened inside the first five minutes. Arthur has just picked up a hooker from a streetcorner in Manhattan, from the back of his cheauffer driven Rolls. Sunk deep in the Connolly leather seats, swirling a Baccarat tumbler of Scotch, she asks what he does for a living.

"I race cars...I play tennis...and I fondle women. But I do have weekends off, and I'm my own boss."

Personally, I could live without the tennis. (It's not my racket, ho ho ho! *sigh*) But pretty much everything else there fits the job description I'm after.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not looking for a new gig. At least I wasn't up until yesterday. But after this morning's show, I'm not sure I have a choice.

Has this ever happened to you?

You're on air at the nation's largest all-news radio station, doing live 90 second segments every 10 minutes. The anchor, Paul, is full of serious news, with a voice to match. You wait patiently, miles away in your little studio for him to throw it to you. Your script is ready, your headphones are on, and you hear the intro sounder. The timbre of Paul's voice is a perfect blend of urgency and concern as he says "Let's go now to our own Dangerspouse with this live update. Danger?"

That's your cue.

You take a deep breath, open your mic, and something like 2 million people in the greater New York-New Jersey-Connecticut metropolitan area hear:


Well has it?

It happened to ME, last night.

It was probably the loudest fart I'd ever summoned in my entire life, on or off the air. I could hear it clear as a filthy bell in my headphones, as if I'd clipped a shirtfront microphone to my buttcrack hair. I was caught so off guard that I didn't even try to pinch the flow shut until it was all over and I was left with that marvelous feeling of intestinal void. And that not-so-marvelous feeling of impending doom.

The next thing I heard in my headphones was:


Paul sounded exactly like Ed McMann when he laughed.

At this point the format was completely fucked, but I did my best to continue on as if someone had not just played a sound effect of the Death Star exploding at the beginning of my report. When I threw it back to Paul, he'd only barely regained his composure and had to take long pauses for air between every sentence to keep from losing it again.

That was some fart.

And it smelled like...a football.

A new cowgrain leather Wilson NFL-Pro football. There was no mistaking it.

Well, they say you are what you eat....

At the end of last week we had what I hope was our last gasp of Old Man Winter. Two snowstorms back to back, spaced three days apart, had dumped one last 8 inch blanket on us.

And the locals went out of their fucking minds.

Seriously, people were so frantic to buy bread that once all the Wonder Sponges were gone they raided the "Nature's Colon Whole Grain Hut" downtown for wheat to grind into their own flour. Cows were drained to the point where they collapsed into two dimensions, as panicked mothers demanded MORE MILK!! for the upcoming atmospheric holocaust. You couldn't drive by an open store because people were parking on two lane highways rather than risk precious seconds looking for a spot in the lot.

So I didn't bother to shop. The hell with that scene.

The one thing that NewWifey(tm) trusts me with is The Kitchen. Even SHE has to recognise that years of professional spatula slinging have given me a slight advantage in that realm, although she does it with a grimace when pressed. And so far I haven't disappointed. I keep a larder stocked with staples, and 3 or 4 times a week I bolster it with what's fresh that day at the market. We hardly ever go out to eat anymore because she says 'why bother paying lots of money for food that's not as good?' (Except sushi. I leave raw fish theatrics to the slanty eyed pros. Their tiny little fingers are just superior. I can't fight genetics.)

So I wasn't worried when last Monday I couldn't wedge my way into the A&P parking lot for milk and bread.

By Thursday it was a little annoying making crepes with water (not milk) and having nothing to fill them with.

By Saturday I was even out of staples, and began longing for Homer's dinner of a piecrust filled with cloves and Tom Collins mix.

I'm telling you, I was out of flour, bread, milk, sugar, eggs, rice, pasta, salt, onions and butter. I had a packet of Spanish LaMancha Cream Saffron and a 1 litre bottle of Nuoc Mon (Vietnamese Fish Sauce) left. And I wasn't going to waste $6 jillion/ounce saffron on NewWifey(tm). Maybe I could make meatballs from dust bunnies and Nuoc Mon and convince her it was all the rage in Nouvelle Cuisine bistros.

And don't forget we have kids to feed too: the dog and cat. Thankfully, we buy our Alpo Kids' Chow at one of those bulk shoppers club, so there was no fear of the little moochers suffering.

And no, despite where you think this may be going, I didn't resort to dog food.

I resorted to Hickory Smoked Pigs Ears.

I was rooting around in the back of my flour cabinet hoping to turn up SOMETHING that could be mixed with water and fried, when my hand bumped into a box we'd purchased two years ago and promptly lost. It was a box of Pigs Ears Dog Treats ("Basted!") that we'd hoped would lure the dog away from his usual snack spot - the cat's litter box. But he had no interest. Unlike the juicy, luscious recycled tuna treats, the pigs ears were dried and hard, and reeked of Hickory wood. Dogs do not eat wood in the wild, and that trait carries over into captivity. Somebody should tell the dog treat people to make their canine snacks taste like cat poop. They'll make a fortune.

Anyway, the dog's discriminating taste buds were about to save us.

Did you ever cook with dried mushrooms? In the jar/packet/back of the fridge where they fell and dessicated four Thanksgivings ago, they are hard and inedible looking. Yeah, you can grate them for an excellent topping on some savory dishes (oooh - write that one down, honey!!) but the traditional way to make them toothsome is by soaking them in water for a while. You have the added bonus of flavored mushroom stock left in the bowl, too, when the little fungi are plumped.

I looked at the pigs ears. They were...hard and inedible looking.

I had plenty of water.

Five hours later I had eight plumped lobes and a bowlfull of pig ear stock. Brilliant! I felt very primal.

I had it all figured out before I started. I cut the ears into thin strips, like linguini, then simmered them in a pot of more water until really soft. That took about an hour. Then in went the "stock", a very few precious saffron strands and a half cup of Nuoc Mon.

Voila! "Silk Purse Soup"!

Of course, I presented it as "Southeast Asian Variety Meat Stew". NewWifey(tm) didn't have a clue. We emptied the entire tureen.

The next morning I showed up for work as usual. As usual, I drank a thermos of Generic Hazelnut Decaff while doing my show prep before going on. (I'm one of the few on-air people I know who doesn't mainline caffein). My stomach was gurgling a bit more than usual, but I attributed it to the 3 year old non-dairy creamers I was forced to pry off the crusted shelves of the station fridge for my coffee, since I was out of heavy cream at home. A half hour later I relieved the jock in my studio and settled onto the ricketty metal stool.

Ten minutes later I opened my mike for my first report, and that's when my unintentional anal announcement of my previous night's dinner was made. The metal stool (huh huh..."stool") certainly added to the resonance, but really, it was gilding the audible lilly. You could have heard that colonatura through a warehouse of Thermopedic SpaceFoam mattresses. And let me tell you, once the farting commenced there was no staunching it. In order to keep any more nether blasts from being heard on the air ("foul air on-air from hot air". I like it.) I extended my mic boom as far as it would go, then stood with my butt out the studio door while I leaned as far forward as I could inside. It worked, but I lost a lot of friends on the producers' desk that night.

And as I said, there was also the smell. I had to explain to the NEXT jock, who took over after my shift, why the studio smelled like the NY Jets had dropped by for a pickup game.

I finally stopped at the store on my way home from work this morning, for the first time in just over a week. $438 dollars of staples and fresh produce, plus meats and fish of various species.

And another box of Pigs Ears.

Because you never know when it's gonna snow again....


EDIT: I've just noticed that ever since I started keeping an on-line diary, my alimentary tract has taken front and center stage many, many times. I have no idea why. I never suffered gastronomic hysterics like those suffered the past 6 months. Why the change? Have any of you been similarly affected? Really, I used to be the model of solemn decorum at functions requiring restraint and class. Now, though...well, I won't get into my embarassing funeral story now. That poor rabbi. Gassed again. Oh well, I'm gonna go shove a Tic Tac up there and see if that helps. G'night kids! Pull my finger....

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