Saturday, July 17, 2010

I am a BBQ slob

and damn proud of it!

I am sure you know someone like me, perhaps even you yourself has been afflicted. You know the type, the kind of guy that always has a stain on his shirt and or tie, even if he has just gotten dressed. If you toss in a pair of wrinkled pants and a shirt….you’ve got me nailed.

I spend 26 years working in law enforcement wearing a uniform, so I never had to purchase clothes to make a good appearance at work. Suffice it to say, I would never have been considered a poster boy for the fine men and woman in uniform. No matter how hard I tried, and believe it or not, I did try in my younger years; I just couldn’t maintain the look of a sharp dressed man like some of my counterparts. Eating and drinking while in a squad car always had disastrous results. I would swear that on more than one occasion, mayonnaise from my partner’s lunch would drip from their sandwich onto my tie rendering me as the stereotypical slob flatfoot, while my partner continued to look like they were destined for a walk-on spot for the next episode of Adam-12.

No one would ever confuse me with a clothes horse or a slave to fashion. I have always more or less gone my own way when it comes to wardrobe. Casual dress would be an overstatement when one would attempt to label my nonexistent fashion sense. The problem develops on those occasional instances when a pair of shorts and a tee shirt just don’t fit the bill, you know, weddings, funerals and the like.

My wife has always been saddled with attempting to dress a complete fashion slob/bum. Before jumping into the shower, I would take from the closet the clothes I planned to wear to the afternoon wedding we were invited to attend. Upon returning to our room after my shower, I find that a completely different set of clothes has been laid out, this time they actually match is what I am told.

While at a BBQ contest, I try and wear an apron at all times. I also carry along a couple of changes of shorts and shirts in case they are needed. Usually by late Friday night, my original apron is ready for the wash machine and it is time to change into apron #2. It never fails that several globs of sauce or meat drippings find their way around my apron and onto my clothing. Most times, I am too busy to change and end up walking to the awards looking like I just crawled out from under a cooker.

This brings me to the point of this pointless blather passing for my July post. As you may or may not know, I have recently had my first book published. The ride as a newly published author has been pretty exciting for me. A guy whose only other brush with publicity came when my name was mentioned in the local paper interviewing patrons of the 4th of July parade along its route. I had two friends call to say they saw my name in the article. I assumed that was my 30 minutes of fame that everyone talks about.

So you can imagine my excitement when the local cable TV station called and invited me into the studio on a show where they speak to local artists and authors. “What should I wear?” I inquired to the nice lady that called with the last minute instructions. “Light blue will be fine” I was told when I asked her about wearing the shirt my wife had made for me to wear to the appearances I was making for my new book. The shirt was a 3 button, pull over, golf type shirt complete with the logo from my book over the left pocket, you know, the kind that real authors wear.

The interview was scheduled for early afternoon, so I thought I would get ready, leave a little early and run a few errands while I was out. I got out my duds, which included my fancy pants book shirt,and dashed into the bathroom for a quick shower and a shave in a feeble attempt to at least look like someone important. As I stood before the mirror shaving and contemplating the questions that I might be asked I must have lost concentration for a brief moment which resulted in me lopping off a small portion of one of my chins.

I couldn’t believe it, here I was scheduled for my ever first television interview in 4 short hours and I had decided to carve a gash into my flesh so deep that I was wondering out loud if I was going to need a stitch. As I stood watching the gobs of toilet paper turn bright red as I applied direct pressure to my wound in an attempt to stop the bleeding, I heard my wife calling out to me. “George, what do you have all over the front of your shirt?”

This must be a dream or better yet a nightmare. I had worn the shirt just 3 days earlier to a book signing, it was fine then. On the way home that day, I stopped at Taco bell for lunch, but I was sure I was careful. I did move a few things around in my BBQ trailer that afternoon, but I could have sworn I had changed shirts first.

After getting the transfusion under control and with a large hunk of blood stained TP dangling from my chin, I staggered into my room to survey the stain. My thinking was if it is small enough the camera would never notice. Of course it was not small, it would have been noticeable from 40 feet away, time for plan B.

Quick, into my extensive collection of decent, unstained, presentable shirts that still fit my portly frame. Needless to say, the collection is not very large but I was able to find a shirt that fit the bill, and surprisingly, it also still fit me. I still to this day don’t understand how shirts that fit me perfectly just 2 years ago become smaller and shrink just from hanging in the closet. I am sure it has something to do with the laws of physics and fabric, but I assure you, it is way over my head.

Thank God that my wife is a registered nurse and was able to stop the bleeding by applying a tourniquet around my neck. She did live up to her promise that she would relieve the pressure occasionally so that I could breathe. I turned my interview shirt inside out for the ride to the studio just in case any overhead birds might have a case of diarrhea and want a laugh. I arrived on time, unstained and not bleeding, for me it was a victory. I still can’t forget the expression on that poor woman’s face that was parked in the car next to me on the studio parking lot as I struggled out of and then back into my shirt while standing next to my truck, “It’s OK”, I told her, “I’m an author”. I am not sure, but I think she called security.

The interview came off OK. As I watch it, I think to myself I look a little stiff. Perhaps it is because I am dressed up, you know, out of my element. In retrospect, I think I would have felt more comfortable and at ease if I had on my sauce stained apron, a dirty tee shirt and a pair of crusty shorts, more in my comfort zone. I am, after all, a BBQ slob and damn proud of it!