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You are a positive motivating force in my life

“He’s in a searching place right now.”

I pretended to reach into my pocket for my keys just so I could turn around to see who had said this. It was a middle aged woman in casual attire, but she was a little too well coiffed to pull off the laid-back crunchy housewife act. Across the table, her friend’s furrowed brow conveyed both sympathy and concern.

I interpreted it to mean her old man was having an affair. I turned back to my fish tacos and Kindle. I’d put too much lime juice and hot sauce on my tacos, so with each bite, a spurt of watery orange fish juice leaked out the other end. I had to lean over the plate so as not to soil my trousers.

“He’s starting to look inside himself.”

This stopped me in mid chew, with a length of shredded cabbage hanging from my lips. It was a younger woman, no doubt, probably someone he’d met at church.

On my plate the pool was growing and now I was worried about splattering fish juice all over my oatmeal-colored cardigan. I slid the plate over a bit so the next drop would land more toward the edge. On my Kindle I was reading about the fall of the Berlin Wall, and I was just getting to the good part where Lech Walesa pretends he knows how to read.

“He’s beginning to notice himself.”

Uh-oh. Dude’s already talked to a lawyer.

I finished the last bite and wiped my hands on my napkin. I rose and inspected myself. No stains.

Gotta be careful with silk

Yesterday I had a leftover turkey sandwich for lunch. I like it with a lot of mayo and black pepper. I also nibbled on some cold stuffing as sort of a side dish. I ate it with my fingers.

I watched a football game while I ate but I wasn’t really paying attention. My mind was elsewhere, thinking about all the cool stuff I wanted for Christmas but didn’t get.

I shuffled back over to the kitchen and scraped the second-to-last piece of the pecan pie onto a plate. The whipped cream I’d made on Christmas day was in the fridge and was starting to get a little liquidy. You know how after a few days it starts to revert back to just heavy cream? That’S what was happening. I didn’t care though. I poured a bunch on top of the pie. When I sank back down into the couch with plate in hand, I realized the sash had come undone and the front of my robe was wide open.

I’ve have strong urge to blog. Today’s topic: Lunch

This will be a two-part blog, as I have two subjects I’d like to do a deep-dive on. I’m not interested in taking the 1000-foot view, and neither subject is a slam dunk.

Part 1. My Spirit-Crushing Diet
I’ve lost a lot of weight. I’m not going to lie to you—I once again have the lean body of a sinewy, strapping young buck. Yet we all know how my lunch-blogging has suffered as a result. I never meant to hurt you, the most loyal and dedicated enthusiasts in the lunch blog-o-sphere. With only sporadic thought-leadership, though, it’s as if we’re clutching at each other, rudderless on the stormy seas of lunch. Unacceptable.

I’m seriously thinking about abandoning the diet, packing back on those 20 pounds, and heading straight to Dairy Queen for a Blizzard with Oreos as soon as I upload this high-quality post. You need me, and I need you. Let’s stop pretending otherwise. It’s time I put vanity aside and accepted the cross destiny has bestowed upon me to bear.

I just said bestowed.

Part 2. Offensive Auditors
We have auditors in this week. They’re holed up in a conference room and refuse to make eye contact. They emerged for lunch and sat in the kitchen all by themselves. When I went in to heat up my organic, low-fat can of minestrone and prepare my Battle Ax salad, I noticed they were flirting with each other. This made me uncomfortable. I’m certain when I was 12, which is about how old they are, I didn’t act in such a shameful manner in front of my clients. No, out of respect, I’d keep that sort of behavior confined to the janitor’s closet…but not with the janitor, of course…I mean we’d go in there, but it wasn’t like there was anybody else…god, with all those solvents and the bags of saw dust for the vomit…what was I thinking taking her in there? No wonder why she said those things afterwards. I wonder how she’s doing now. I should send her one of my Christmas update letters.

This post did not end well. It did not live up to the “high-quality” prediction I made in the third paragraph.

Get it out of your system

I enjoy lamb. I’ve crafted a few excellent lunch blog postings about it over the years.

From a thought-leader’S perspective, lamb is a lot like one of those cheap, large crystals that college kids buy in head shops and hang in front of their dorm room windows, so that when it catches a ray of sunlight it dots the walls with trippy little specs of color.

Man, I have no idea where I was going with that. By the time I finished the sentence, I wasn’t even sure I was lunch-blogging any longer. Let’s be clear about it: Lamb is nothing like a stoner’s trinket. For starters, I’m pretty sure it can’t refract light. Alright, that’s enough. We’re not having this conversation now.

Lamb is the one meat that when I think about it, I see the actual animal in my mind’s eye. Show me a rib eye, I don’t see a cow. Mention a Cornish game hen, and…hell, I don’t even know what a Cornish game hen is so how can I possibly visualize one? Bring up lamb, though, and I immediately see it. And it’s always standing in a moist, green meadow staring at me with a coy look on its face. I imagine I experience this because of all the meat-producing animals I find lamb to be the most attractive.

This morning I found a seal-a-meal bag in the freezer that had lamb and red chile in it (see Figure 1). It was from last August. I brought it to work and had it for lunch. That’s my point.

I haven’t produced a blog posting of such low quality in a few months. I guess I was due.


Figure 1. Lambs bleat, right? Because that’s what I’m hearing echo off the aspen grove on the far side of the valley when I look at this.


The second P is silent

You see, the Battle Ax and I have been on a diet for the last few months, and it has had a dramatic impact on my ability to deliver excellence in the lunch arena. Lunches for the most part have been mundane affairs, where I sit at my desk and feel sorry for myself. Those adventure-filled lunches of the past have taken on the muted hues of a fading dream, as if they had experienced a collective apoptosis and have been excreted from the part of my brain where lunch best practices are formulated.

I am reluctant to share with you what I’ve been eating lately because I fear you will make fun of me. Garden burgers, soy milk fruit things, and scrambled tofu. Go ahead, laugh it up. Bastards.

But this weekend was Thanksgiving, and I’ve always lived by the maxim that if you’re in the NFL draft and given the choice, you pick the best athlete available rather than simply backfilling-in the weak spots in your roster. So for lunch yesterday as we we’re driving home, I declared to the Battle Ax, “I’m going to stop at the next McDonalds and get two cheeseburgers and a cup of coffee.” She started to protest, but I just held up my hand. The decision had been made.

By the time we hit the drive-through she wanted one too, so I ordered three. We sat in the parking lot and ate them in silence with the windows rolled down. Then we made out for a few minutes before getting back on the highway.

And please, help yourself to a bag of go to hell.

You’re welcome to disagree, but I don’t care for the obligatory bag of chips that you get with your lunch at many sandwich shops. It’s low-effort. If you really cared about me, Ricky, you’d offer up a nice cole slaw or German potato salad to complement my sandwich. But chips? Weak. Why bother. Might as well just take that old, scratched-up Rheingold serving try out of the goodwill box in the back of the garage, wrap it up and give it to me for Christmas. Thanks for nothing. This is the worst Christmas ever. What I really wanted was one of those vibrating football games. Go ahead, call Santa and tell him to come take all my presents back. I read somewhere that Santa doesn’t even have a phone, so you’re just making a horse’s ass of yourself.

Apologia

I pulled down yesterday’s blog posting because it sucked. If you had the misfortune of being exposed to it, I apologize. It was hardly the stuff of thought-leadership.

I recall seeing a documentary some years back showing a fine looking kangaroo rise up and challenge the older, recognized alpha male of the herd, or pride, or pack, or whatever a bunch of kangaroos that hang out together call themselves. It’s a forgone conclusion that if the young upstart is victorious in his challenge, the deposed leader is shunned by the rest of the troop and dies shortly thereafter—useless, broken, and resented for having had intercourse, repeatedly, with all the other kangaroos’ hot wives and daughters.

I don’t know where I’m going with this. I do know that yesterday’s posting was awful though.

I like the kangaroo story. It has both violence and sex in it. Now that I think about it, I’m not even sure I saw that in a documentary. I may have just been daydreaming about being a powerful kangaroo at some point.

For what it’s worth, I went to the Mediterranean place today for lunch and got some of that sampler.


Empowered by silence

Strange, but I am relieved when no one comments on my lunch blog postings, as has been the trend recently. It gives me the feeling that I’m unsupervised in the lunch blog-o-sphere, and that I can do whatever I want and no one will ever know. It’s kinda like right after the Battle Ax leaves for work in the morning and I rummage through her dresser, stripping off my pajamas and trying on her capri pants and poodle sweaters before I get in the shower. Your silence gives me that same sense of naughty independence. It’S quite liberating, and I thank you for it.

I had two lunches yesterday. First, I stopped at a fast food place and got a fast-food salad. I ate it there and listened to the conversation at the next table. This guy was whining to his friend about how he doesn’t even have enough money to take his wife out to dinner, ever—like once every 6 months, at most.

Then a couple of hours later I had my second lunch—a can of organic black bean soup, which I heated up in the microwave after Jake showed me how to use the child-safe can opener, which doesn’t leave any sharp edges. I ate it at my desk, and realized right as I finished that I was making slurping noises.



Figure 1. Ricky looks a lot like this each morning between 7:05 and 7:15, only he has a head and two hands.

These are a few of my least favorite things

On Saturday we went to this so-called Austrian-themed place for a late breakfast, which I deemed late enough to be lunch. I’ve decided to write a blog posting about it.

They had some fancy items on the menu, like crepes and stuff with hollandaise sauce on it. I guess that’S enough to qualify for the Austrian designation. I had eggs and a nice slab of ham.

They had a big mural painted on the outside of the place that frightened me. It was a picture of two deformed Austrian children who were possessed by demons and condemned to wear perverted pygmy costumes for their entire lives. As we entered I became concerned that these creatures might actually be inside, perhaps bussing tables or filling coffee mugs and water glasses. I didn’t want to cross either of their paths, but I manned up and pretended everything was fine.

I know you don’t believe me so I took a picture (see Figure 1, below).



Figure 1. Mutant Alpine mountain children. Wisely, they are kept away from the dining room and are confined to the kitchen where they clean the grease traps and yodel--or maybe just shriek--off key.

Lessons in lentils and humility

So…yeah…my agent calls me during lunch yesterday. You know, the agent who’s representing my novel to the major New York publishing houses. Anyway, I fear I was a bit short with her. You see I made some lentil soup over night—14 hours in the crock pot mind you—and the lentils were surprisingly tough when I ate them for lunch. The recipe didn’t say anything about soaking them before hand. I blame myself. I should know better. How many times have I advised others to soak their lentils? How is it that the thought-leader disavows his own advice? The answer, I fear, is hubris.

When things don’t go my way I lash out at others.

Lunch insights that are spot on

I don’t care for the term “spot on.” Here, I’ll demonstrate it in a sentence: “Ricky, your rapid assessment of the shortcomings of today’s lunch was spot on.” See? Don’t you want to make fun of me as soon as I step out of the conference room to take this important call?

I haven’t blogged much lately because the Battle Ax and I are on a horrid diet. Recent lunches have been mind-numbing, repetitive, flatulence-inducing ordeals that make me want to climb out the bathroom window and run away from home each night after she tucks me in.

Today, however, I got some relief from this wretched status quo. I found a frozen Tupperware container in the ice box that held a serving of 15-bean soup I’d made some months ago. Technically it’S on our diet, especially if you don’t count the bacon and the ham hocks, so I was able to convince her to let me take it for lunch. I enjoyed it. I can only speculate how much better it would have been had there been 16 or 17 beans in it.

The younger, more clever version of Ricky would have attempted to close this entry with a sentence that included the words ‘spot on’, thereby completing the circle of irony, but I got nothing. Hell, our bathroom doesn’t even have a window in it. And we live on the third floor for christsake, so it’s stupid for me to think of that as a viable escape strategy.

A powerful urge

I'm feeling the urge to blog about my lunch. It could happen any time now.

It's the unscripted nature of lunch evangelization that makes this endeavor so exciting. I'm delighted that you choose to share in this experience with me. It truly is a wonderful journey of lunch discovery that we're on together. I cherish your companionship.

Show me your tahini

I had fish tacos today. Two of them. No beans, no rice. Then I went to the expensive yuppie organic grocery store. I needed something called "tahini" for a recipe I’m making for dinner tonight.

I asked one of the unshaven long-haired gentlemen working in the expensive olives and cheese section. He showed me where this expensive tahini was, and then he launched into a long spiel on what tahini is, how they make it, and what it goes well in. I wasn’t listening though; I was second-guessing my decision to forgo the beans and rice. I thanked him and then realized he was hitting on me, attempting to impress with the depth of his tahini knowledge.

I like saying tahini now. Not as much as I like saying Del Scorcho, but quite a bit.

Then, on my way back to the office, I went to the gas station and put 3.12 gallons of gasoline into my motorcycle.

Can anyone recall a worse lunch blog entry? I’m not in a good place right now.

Zamfir meets Colonel Sanders

For lunch yesterday I went to my acupuncture appointment. First thing the crunchy acupuncture woman does—after she puts on the pan flute music—is take my pulse. Turns out for acupuncture purposes, you have three different pulses. She held both of my wrists for a few seconds, and a perplexed look crossed her face. She began to speak, but I cut her off, knowing where she was going.

“I had a lot of sugar this morning,” I confessed. “A Rice Krispies Treat and a glazed devil’s food cake donut.”

“Ahhhhh,” she said. “That would explain it.” Then she stuck a bunch of needles in my tummy to counteract the effect. I fell asleep and dreamed of crayons.

Afterward, I went across the parking lot and bought one of those pre-made supermarket salads. This one had slices of breaded chicken breast on it. Back at my desk, I drenched it in Freedom dressing. No matter—it sucked. I complemented it with a container of Styrofoam chicken soup. While I ate, I read about racism on the information super highway.

When I was done, I noticed my bottle of Freedom dressing had expired a week ago.

This is a good lunch blog entry. You can disagree, but I don't know if it will get you anywhere.

Then came Ricky

There’S a certain amount of machismo that is implied with thought-leadership. It’s 4 parts bravado and a cup-and-a-half of swagger chased with a flaming shot of rugged individualism.

Case in point: I hopped on my little 1994 BMW R100RT motorcycle and racked up 700 miles this weekend. Just the road, the roar of the engine, and a head full of lunch-related insights to ponder on the high dessert between Colorado and New Mexico. I would have tossed the Battle Ax on the back, but she had other plans. When she rides with me, I don’t introduce her as the Battle Ax; I introduce her as “my old lady.” Yeah.

Suck, suck, suck. That’s what this lunch blog posting does Ricky. It sucks.

Please don’t do this. Not now. I really feel like my creative process is coalescing, and I’m quite optimistic that this entry will finish strong. Everything is beginning to flow. Can’t you just feel it? I’m confident I can walk the talk. Please don’t go—not yet. That would devastate me.

On my way back yesterday I stopped at a Quiznos. Their menu has a lot of words on it and I get flustered trying to make sense of it as the post-pubescent behind the counter stares at me, waiting.

“That your motorcycle?” he asked. Usually when someone asks an annoying question like that, I take them out back by the dumpster and stomp them, but I was hungry so I ordered a turkey club and a Dr. Pepper instead.