What goes around, comes around.
This story began many years ago when I was just a wee lad. Actually, I was a wee pain in the gluteus maximus to be more precise. (Some things never change, they just get bigger.) I was a wee spoiled brat, more than a lad. Anyway, you get the picture.
My parents were vacationing in Florida. In a moment of temporary insanity, one of them must have thought it would be a good idea if I went along. (Either that, or they had exhausted every relative and babysitter in the tri-state area.) My dad was going to meetings and my mom was going to take me to Sea World, and then on a boat excursion. She got very seasick. But I digress, since that has nothing to do with this tale.
At dinnertime one night, we went to a fancy buffet at the hotel we were staying. Mind you, I am telling you this from what has been told to me, since I was wee and don’t remember any of this. Not the buffet, not the seasickness. I don’t even remember Sea World.
As my parent’s put it, there was a selection of 10,000 odd things to eat at this buffet.
I wanted a grilled cheese sandwich.
That wasn’t one of the 10,000 things available to eat.
“Wouldn’t you like a shrimp cocktail?”
I wanted a grilled cheese sandwich.
Well, to make this story shorter and perhaps even keep your attention, my parents drove around Fort Lauderdale trying to find a grilled cheese sandwich—just to shut me up. I don’t think I ever got the grilled cheese sandwich. I never got to go back to Florida either, for some odd reason.
Fast forward to the not so long ago present. I now have wee, spoiled brats of my own. My wife is out-of-town, and it is up to me to feed them.
So I meticulously prepare three peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for them for lunch. My youngest (the wee-est and brattiest) declares that he is not eating this. Apparently, he is on a hunger strike.
I wish. He is hungry, but he wants a grilled cheese sandwich (although he sounds like he wants a girled cheese sammitch.)
Like any loving and caring parent, I tell him to eat the damned peanut butter sandwich. I didn’t use that adjective, and I don’t know where he learned it.
My son is apparently as stubborn as my father’s son, and he will not eat the sandwich.
How hard can it be to make a grilled cheese sandwich?
There is a fine line that exists between sanity and insanity. (A fine line or two letters, depending on how you look at it.) The very fact that I allowed myself to ask that question indicates that I had now crossed that line. I moved from the sane world where I comfortably, but with a significant mess, make peanut butter sandwiches, to the other side where I believe I have the power to make a grilled cheese delight.
Obviously, I had forgotten that no one in Fort Lauderdale knew how to make a freaking grilled cheese sandwich. But I thought I could.
It’s basically just toast and melted cheese, right?
Never mind that I have some difficulty with toast. I put in the bread. I take the charred remains out. If I pop it up early, it’s never done, and not even hot enough to melt butter, let alone cheese. I just can’t get the timing and electrical voltage down just right.
Where there’s smoke, there’s me.
Today would be different.
So I shoved two slices of bread with a slice of cheese between them down into the toaster.
Now I fully realize that ‘toasting’ something is not the same as ‘grilling’ something. But I have heard the sandwich referred to as a Toasted Cheese sandwich in some parts of the country. I’m not sure what country. Maybe Elbonia. Or Iowa. But if I can do a hamburger in the toaster, then why not a cheese sandwich?
Unfortunately, the football game had started and I was distracted. The smoke alarm brought me back to the kitchen and the small inferno in my toaster.
To this day, I don’t know what went wrong. The fireball was jammed down in there too tight.
It didn’t turn out quite right, and my son refused to try it. Our toaster has two slots, so I thought I’d try it again.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
Shame on me. We’re going to need another fire extinguisher, as this one’s almost empty.
My son’s still hungry. So, I try the stove.
“That’s the dishwasher,” my daughter informs me.
Well, of course it is. Shouldn’t we have clean plates to eat our charcoal off of?
I had a little trouble figuring out how to get the burner lit. But, my eyebrows will eventually grow back.
My helpful daughter showed me how mommy butters the outside of the bread before putting it on the stove—on a skillet, and not directly on the flame. Curse mommy. So many things to remember, so few eyebrows left.
I think the gas fumes and the smoke are getting to me. I threw the smoke alarm out the door since I couldn’t get it to stop wailing. My fingers were too burnt to pry the battery out.
The butter made the bread slippery—it kept falling on the floor. I ran out of cheese. So I sprinkled some parmesan from a can. Cheese is cheese.
Where is that smoke coming from now?
Finally, I present to him a sandwich. It’s not charred, but golden brown (my daughter actually did it, but I fully intend to take the credit. I paid not in talent but in sweat and eyebrows.) I don’t know what’s in the center, but it’s melted just right.
“I’m not hungry anymore,” the little moron informs me. He ate the peanut butter and jelly sandwich ten minutes ago.
My parents thought this was funny.
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