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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
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It’s My Party, I’ll Play Bridge If I Want To

The missus and I are throwing a party this weekend. It’s nothing fancy; just a few friends stopping by for drinks and fun and barbecued meat-like products. And in the case of my now-traditional beer brats, all three at once.

(Follow that link, if you want a roadmap to making delicious grillled bratwurst. But be warned — if you think I’m overly verbose now, you’ll be shocked at what passed for a ‘recipe’ from me a couple of years ago.

You might want to have a snack before reading, to keep your strength up. And maybe a nap. It’s a doozy.)

As the day approaches, our guest list has expanded more or less exponentially. What started as a simple get-together between chums has somehow morphed into an Event™, requiring planning and preparation and suburban mall purchases. Like lawn chairs, and plastic silverware. And a card table.

My wife and I have been together for sixteen years; not once in that time have we required a card table. Maybe we’re not doing our part to feed the rampant poker craze that’s gripping the world, but the card table thing has never been an issue. Somehow, we’ve soldiered on without one. Until now. I didn’t realize this was going to be a ‘Go Fish’ sort of party. I can hardly contain myself.

“Ever had potato salad with your morning O.J., or schmeared it on a bagel at nine AM? I have. I still have the flashbacks.”

Of course, the main purchases for this summer shindig are food items. My wife is handling those, and with good reason. She’s well aware of my limitations when it comes to predicting the behavior of other people. We’re estimating that up to thirty people might visit our humble abode on Saturday — and my wife will return home tomorrow night with enough food to feed those thirty, plus a little extra. Just in case.

And if she sent me to the grocery store? One of two things would happen — either I’d go while I’m hungry, and bring back enough bratwursts and chicken parts to feed a Canadian province, or I’d rush through the store, hurried and cranky, and return with three hamburger patties, a pack of buns, and a tub of Grey Poupon. I can almost hear me now:

What? It’s not like people are coming to eat, anyway. It’s the weekend; we’ll all get loaded. It’ll be fine.

My wife never quite shares the gusto with which I rationalize my poor decisions. She looks at me with the same icy stare you get from cops who ask, ‘Do you know why I pulled you over?‘ There are no right answers.

I have my own responsibilities, though — I’m in charge of the booze. Not that I’m any better at approximating the alcohol consumption of three dozen people on a Saturday afternoon, mind you. But we can keep beer for weeks, if need be. It’s not likely to last that long, but it’s theoretically possible, is all I’m saying.

On the other hand, once you pop the top on the party food, the clock starts ticking. And you don’t want three pounds of ticking tater salad staring you in the face after a party, let me tell you. That’s four days of thick, soggy meals, morning, noon, and night. Ever had potato salad with your morning O.J., or schmeared it on a bagel at nine AM? I have. I still have the flashbacks.

Truth be told, I’m getting off easy in this deal. I’ve seen my wife’s shopping list; it’s enormous. I think she’s on her third sheet of paper, and the list is still growing. We’ve got vegetarians coming, folks with allergies, picky eaters — she’ll basically have to buy one of everything in the store, to make sure everyone’s happy.

Alcohol management is much simpler. We’re having beer. If you like beer, have beer. If you don’t like beer… well, you’ll get a stern gaze, and your man-/woman-/child-/toddler-hood will likely be questioned. ‘Oh, you’re one of those people. There’s always one.

But we’ll still accomodate you with a range of tasty boozes. There’s a preferred method for living la vida loca at Chez Charlie, but it’s not the only method. There’s more than one way to skin a liver. So here’s my list, in its glorious entirety:

Beer (4 cases — 5?)


Margarita mix (x3)

That’s it. We’ve already got the basics — vodka, gin, and vermouth for the fancy folks, and mezcal and xtabentum from our Meh-hi-co trip for the adventurous. Still, I’ll be like a kid in a liquor store, buying four cases of beer and then more booze and mixers. I hope I don’t giggle too much as I go through the register. They might think I started drinking in the store.

So, anyway, you should come by. What’s one or two more people at a party of dozens? Maybe bring some cookies, or a bag of chips; that’ll be fine. The food’s taken care of, and I’ll make damned sure we don’t run out of alcohol. It should be a hoot — and hey, apparently, we’re going to play cards, too. At least until we all pass out together in the back yard. What’s not to like?

Permalink  |  2 Comments

2 Responses to “It’s My Party, I’ll Play Bridge If I Want To”

  1. Sounds like a hell of a party Charlie yet I would be remiss if I didn’t explain a little mathmatical problem I see here. 24 beers to a case X 5 cases = 120 beers. Thirty guests? Damn brother! That’s only 4 beers apiece! Me thinks you ought double the quantity on the beer and maybe the tequilia as well. Unless…well maybe you do things different out East. Try offering 4 beers a head in Iowa and things would turn ugly! Just a thought.

  2. Roofie Raccoon says:

    He’s trying to provide tasty beverages, not be the sole means to mental obliteration.

    Charlie, I seriously wish I was within driving distance. This sounds way better than my “get together with all the extended hillbilly relatives.”

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