Thursday, February 9, 2006

The Jennifer Dispatches: My Father versus Cheese and Bread

My sister relates a story of my father on Superbowl Sunday:

Halftime. The family sits around a coffee table laden with snackfoods and appetizers. My father voices a complaint:

“Next time, we should really make some plans for dinner and not just snack. We should have some protein for dinner. I’m tired of having Cheese and Bread all the time. We should have gotten those ribs at the supermarket.”

My sister responds: “We weren’t going to just snack for dinner. Mom ordered a pizza.”

“More Cheese and Bread! Why would I want more Cheese and Bread?!” cries my father.

“Well then why don’t you go to the supermarket and buy those ribs?” asks my sister, foolishly.

“I don’t want to go all the way out to the store to buy the ribs! I just don’t want to eat any more Cheese and Bread! All we ever eat is Cheese and Bread since you came here! This must be your doing!”

“Are you talking about the hors d’oeuvres? There isn’t even that much Cheese and Bread,” says my sister.

This is the last straw apparently. My father leaps from the sofa and hunches himself over the coffee table. Extending one of his stubby index fingers he points violently at a bowl of French onion dip and its companion plate of Ruffles brand potato chips.

“Cheese and Bread!” he exclaims

He jabs his finger at a pate.

“Cheese and Bread!”

He, predictably, stabs his thick digit into the wedge of jarlsberg.

“Cheese and Bread!!”

Even the bowl of sweet pickles is not immune from his wrath.

“Cheese and Bread!”

He punches with his finger at a bowl of Cheetos. He’s almost perspiring with the force of his hate.

“Cheese and Bread!!”

The twin bowl, filled with Fritos.

“Corn Chips! Just like Pizza!!”

My sister, always the glutton for paternal punishment, interrupts my father’s reverie of rage.

“How are corn chips just like pizza?” she asks.

“Shut up!” responds my father, “I’m speaking to your mother!”

My sister announces that she is going to go work on her art history paper. She goes to her room and does so. Later, when the pizza arrives, she leaves her room to find my father, perched stone-faced and alone at the dining room table eating the enormous porterhouse steak and gargantuan baked potato that my mother prepared for him.

My sister went into the living room and finished the game - and the pizza - with my mother.

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