Posted by: jamesthethickheaded | October 6, 2010

Shorty Arrives Shortly

So my parents are coming up on their 78th and 80th birthdays. Mom’s will be 10-10-10 this year and that’s cool… no matter what. But the problem is that after moving the ‘rents out of two homes and into one apartment, the thought of actually giving more stuff on a birthday seems to do no one any favors. Trash bags and give aways have been a big part of moving them these past few months, and my basement runneth over as if some sort of holding tank from hell. We all just get such a case of the phantods walking through it now that the forthcoming decision is to clear away everything… including all our own stuff… until we can get a clean slate once again. Call it a not-missed opportunity.

Funny how someone else’s collection of too much stuff helps you make decisions about your own.

But the notion we’re dealing with is the new twist on the old twist… that’s the twist on what to get for the man/woman who has everything… and is now the twist on what to get for the man/woman who doesn’t want another thing. And no… there’s no need to suggest the obvious: We’re already doin’ time, and some formal “time” in the form of tickets to something seems an option… but only second choice. Trinkets and tokens seem to say “I thought of you” – even if not for very long… in a way that a coupon for “one hour with your homies” just doesn’t.

No, what I’m thinking is for the man who can’t eat all that much and the woman who can’t see what she’s cooking all that well anymore and never liked cooking all that much anyway, maybe the gift of a real cook for a meal together with some of their friends might do the trick. Mom used to have visits from “Barbara” back in the day who cooked these wonderful cookies and things that still live on in the stories and songs of just about every tongue that knew her work. But Barbara went big time somewhere way back when and hasn’t been seen for nigh twenty years. And today they call them “Private Chefs” or “Personal Chefs”. My wife figured that one out from all those cooking shows…

So we Googled, and then we gagged.

Seems Private Chefs (somehow Personal Chefs sound like they’re cooking something they shouldn’t!) want a whole lotta dough. I mean… like by the shovel full. We looked at each other, and really… another TV remote bought at a garage sale for a TV they don’t even own begins to look pretty doggone good. I mean.. they can certainly throw it out – no qualms, no regrets, no errors.

But then this morning I had a better idea:

“Why not get Shorty?”
“Whaddya mean?”
“If we can’t afford a Private Chef, why not get them a short order cook… who shows up…”
“…with his own spatula…?”
“… yeah, and with the grease stained apron, the eyes that go in different directions, and the cigarette hanging with ashes untapped off…”
“… don’t forget the hangover….”
“And he keeps it simple.  No funny stuff: Grilled cheese, fried eggs, hamburgers and hash browns. Nothing else.”
“… an’ he won’t even worry if the china has something on it already… like a sneeze… or there’s a smudge on the glass…”
“I think I’m done.”
“Yeah… who wouldn’t want to go over to your folks to eat with Shorty?”
“Yeah. It’d be like… unAmerican or something.”
“He almost even knows what he’s doing.”
“Remember when he went ‘Frenchie’ ?”
“Blackened Pan?”
“Yeah… that’d be it.”
“And when Cinco de Mayo was ‘Toast al carbon’.”
“Yeah… and everyone kept asking, ‘Hey Shorty… who’s Al?”
“Didn’t go over well as I recall. No one forgets that Shorty…”
“…stood six-eight about 225 and was one hunk of mean toast burning love.”
“No one… but maybe we did.”
Yeah… almost.”
So I guess what I’m saying is that it looks more and more like we’re going for the car shammy rag, two movie tickets, and a used Motorola Remote.


  1. Hi-larious! We wrestle with the same thing with my parents on Christmas. Actually, flowers delivered from FTD for Mom always works for every other day, even the anniversary. I usually go up and see them on Dad’s birthday and take them out for dinner. At their age, they enjoy the time with the kids more than stuff.

  2. This is a great idea! I keep telling my kids, “When I retire, it will be from cooking and driving. I want a chef and a chauffeur.” Since I got lost going from PA to DE (3 exits on the highway), the latter is in the works. To tide me over, the hubster got me a GPS! LOL!

  3. Funny! We deal with the same issue here too (and you are *so* right about other people’s stuff making one run out to rent a uhaul to get rid of my own junk!). Watching the occasional “Hoarders” is good for that too, although I wouldn’t recommend a steady diet of that show – too depressing.

    Agreeing with s-p- flowers seem to be a nice way to say “I love you and thought of you.” Dad’s are a bit more difficult, unless they like to garden.

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