A Weird Summer's End

Posted by William Rienhoff on

What a wild and weird spring & summer this has been. It’s flying by and as we transition to Fall and back to school time (or are we?) Who knows…that’s not for us to figure out. We’ll leave that to the higher authorities who are also out here guessing. But, hey, we’re living in this giant question mark like everyone else, so let’s take some comfort in reminding ourselves of normal activities.
Barbecues! We all love those and hopefully there are safe, socially distanced BBQs going on. How do we act? What to bring? What’s the code of conduct on who mans the grill? Who’s allowed to touch the tongs? Those tong, tong, tongs, tongggs. Shout out Sisqo and thanks again for unleashing that dragon dude. Anyway, all these rules and regs sound very North Korea-ish, but here we are.
Let the host dictate the terms. But real quick…don’t bring a potato salad ever. Covid or not, let’s just get rid of this as a thing. Can we all agree it sucks, and no one really wants that ever. Ok, good. Let’s get to the source of all happiness:
Burgers, Dogs, and Booze.
For a gathering of a whopping 10 (socially distanced) people:
Burgers – 20 of them. Every well-adjusted dude needs at least 2 burgers, sometimes 3. (Hopefully 3).
Potato buns – a resounding yes.
Condiments – absolutely. Let’s stick to the classics here: mustard, ketchup, relish.
Toppings – this is really tricky. Open air toppings have largely gone by the wayside, but damnit, they are essential. Do we go, BYOT…bring your own tomato? I think we do. Find a tupperware container small enough that you can pack your needs in a personal carrier. If it’s too large then you’ll look like you tried and failed to bring enough for the group or worse yet, you’ll get chastised by a young Mom for shirking the new norms and potentially unleashing havoc on this whole risky affair. A good scolding as a grown-up really leaves a mark, and often leads to sarcasm, snarkiness, and general regrettable dickish behavior. Just try taking one on the chin in your 30s. It’s touggghhhh. Thus proceed with caution in the toppings department.
Hot Dogs – hell yes. I like ‘em, don’t love ‘em, but they’ve stood the test of time and I respect that. Undoubtedly a classic, they seem to handle themselves well in times of health crises too. They’re cylinders of processed meat. You can eat them in space. They last for decades. They’re gross, and, collectively, we love them.
Cheese – another modern landmine. Kraft singles, each in their own plastic, are probably the way to go. Supporting big plastic versus an open air cheese spread in corona-times is a real conundrum, but plastic wins in this game of everything sucks now.
Chips – bring a bunch of small bags. Hate that term, but it applies here.
Booze: finally.
Beers – cans on ice. Thousands of them.
Wine – my palaté isn’t there yet, so I’ll let the experts handle this one. I guess you could write your name on the bottle like a sandwich in the office fridge and just nail it solo.
Hard Liquor – woah nelly! The “it kills germs” argument is always fun before you end up in jail for doing a naked mile and mooning a former teacher you still hold a grudge against for cutting you from the choir in 4th grade. (That teacher is like 83 now.) Avoid the hard stuff for now as it also invites limes and lemons and other hand touched fruit. Keep your hands off my fruits, please and thank you. Same deal with ice. One day, we’ll get back to this in a civilized, safe way.
Last but not least: a lawn chair. This separates the hos from the pros. Especially in times of socially distancing….plop that baby 6 feet away and things will start looking up.
We can do this guys and girls. It blows, but it’s not over. Let’s enjoy the last few weekends before the leaves change and we get kicked in the nuts by an early winter. The end of summer is always a little sad, but let’s hold on to it and enjoy it safely from a distance doing the things that feel right.
Cut loose and chase the goose.

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