I went to a baby shower for a good friend over the weekend, because I’m a 31-year-old woman and events like this are now requisite. And even though I enjoy them for the most the part, I still always feel like Wilfred Brimley at a Lady Gaga discussion group — totally out place, talking about “diabet-us” while they’re all going on about papa-papa-razzi.
The best part of every baby shower is inevitably the Spectacle of the Gifts, a showy re-enactment of Matthew 2:1-12, only instead of Melchior, Caspar and Balthasar bringing gold, frankincense and myrrh, it’s Mandy, Caitlin and Bitsy bringing the Bellini baby bassinet, a My Breast Friend nursing pillow and organic booties.
I generally stick to clothes and books — gifts for which I fully understand the purpose, in case I’m ever quizzed. But others never fail to remind me just how baby-stupid I am. At this shower, to a chorus of gleeful coos, someone brought out this medieval contraption, which apparently assists in the cleaning of baby bottles. Another person unveiled something called a Graco Flint SnugRide 35 Infant Car Seat 2010, and then assured me that propping up a baby on the fold-out armrest in the middle of the backseat wasn’t, in fact, an “awesome idea.” (But it’s the perfect size!) And then there was Boudreaux’s Butt Paste, which may as well have been myrrh, a mythic panacea worth its weight in gold. I brought the glorious gift of socks, because you can never have too many and they’re always getting lost in the dryer, and then ran out of Fraggle Rock as fast as I could.
Comfortably back in human world, I went upstate for a little fishing in the Catskills, but the trout were all napping through the high heat and humidity. So instead I made my super-special cheeseburgers, which reminded me that I’m a meat genius. See, I pack the ground beef with finely chopped onions, pickles and garlic, and then inject A1 Steak Sauce into the center of the patties with a turkey baster. To finish, I melt some Havarti on the burger and slap a piece of Canadian bacon on top. It will change your life. Next week, my bourbon-barbecued spare ribs recipe, which should come with bail money and a coupon for a free colonic.
In related news, I read the story of a Western New York man named Gary Korkuc, who was pulled over with a live cat covered in cooking oil, peppers and salt in his trunk. He told police that his cat was “possessive, greedy, and wasteful,” and thus he planned to eat it. I have some friends that fit that description…and they are all cordially invited to my next barbecue!
And like the rest of you, I watched Obama somersault around the mosque issue this weekend. This president just needs a tent and some elephants and P.T. Barnum would arise from the dead so he could charge money. Like the Skip Gates controversy, GITMO, and the 9/11 trials, Obama is an acrobatic trapeze act, both impressive and nauseating at the same time. I can’t believe he hasn’t invited the Imam and 9/11 family members to a Diet Coke summit at the White House to solve their differences.
I’m trying to read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, because it was left on the mantle of my apartment lobby and I want to sound smart the next time I’m at the hair salon. But unless this excruciatingly boring, 1200-page treatise on all things Swedish ends with a surprise alien invasion and a cameo by Bozz Scaggs, I really don’t get the hype. And it’s books like this that make me highly suspicious of anything that professes to be “life changing.” Sorry, Eat, Pray, Love. Not a chance.
But it also reminded me that the best books are simple stories told well. Upon earning my Masters earlier this year, my parents went to great lengths to find a first edition copy of my favorite book, Rabbit, Run. Aside from a My Little Pony Castle, my mother’s collection of Beatles albums — and a college education — it was the most thoughtful gift they ever gave me. I’m rereading it now, from the musty-smelling first edition, for maybe the 5th time, and here’s the bottom line: Stieg Larsson’s Ikea whodunnit looks like a Swedish meatball next to this piece of Grade A prime rib. Thanks, mom and dad.