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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!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

The Tail End of the Tailgate

(What’s the time? It’s time to get science!

That’s Secondhand SCIENCE, and this week’s topic, wild type. Go see, and get wiiiiiild.

Also! Come out on Saturday to see the Seven Deadly Sins play festival. I’ll be acting foolish in a play Jenn Dlugos and I wrote. It’s got zombies. And Twinkies. You’ll dig it.)

There’s a certain point at which you’re simply not helping.

For me, that point is, like, ninety percent of my life — which includes this coming Sunday.

For the first time in several years, a few friends and I will be able to get together for a football game. Back when this was a more regular “thing” among this group, we’d often tailgate before the game. So we decided to tailgate on Sunday — for “old times’ sake”.

“Tailgating in that weather just looks like a bunch of Jack Nicholsons from the end of The Shining sitting around frowning at each other.”

(A couple of us still go to games regularly. But we don’t tailgate any more. On non-special nostalgic occasions, it’s rarely worth the hassle.

Plus, this is New England, so half the games are played in four feet of snow and six-degree weather. Tailgating in that weather just looks like a bunch of Jack Nicholsons from the end of The Shining sitting around frowning at each other. Kinda creepy.)

There are four of us, and we’re organizing via email. The first three hours of which I missed — due to work meetings or sleeping or possibly both at once — and wherein it was established that:

One guy volunteered to bring a grill and all the plates and paper towels.

Another guy said he’d hit up his favorite butcher shop for several kinds of meats.

And the third guy offered to bring a cooler, beer and chips.

I got back to my email, ran down the list and said I’d be happy to chip in for… well, that’s just it. What the hell else is there? It was then I knew that I wasn’t going to be helping. Not really.

Oh, sure, I’ll still contribute. But it’s a very fine line I’m walking here. There are four of us guys, and none in prime tailgating shape — meaning we don’t want fancy, we’re not grilling gourmet and our livers can only take so much, cap’n. That limits the options.

Plus, I have to be careful here. Sure, I could play technicalities, but that doesn’t score any points. If I show up with six boxes of plastic silverware and say, “Hey, nobody called forks!“, it’s not going to go over well.

Anyway, who uses forks for a tailgate? Maybe to crack open a beer, if you forgot an opener. Otherwise, leave that shit at home. We eat meat with our hands, drink beer from the can and if there’s potato salad, we stare at it with mild disgust and derision.

Or we eat it with our hands, too. Which is not a rule I’d normally admit, but it’s quite possible I end up taking potato salad to this shindig. Cut me some slack, tatercakes.

I can bring more beer. I mean, I’m going to bring more beer, because nobody’s ever going to argue with that. But I’m not sure it’s “helping”, exactly. It’ll add some variety, but I suspect if we have more than a half-case in total, somebody’s coming home with leftovers. It’s a work day on Monday, after all. And some of those guys have kids to tuck in Sunday night.

(Also, there’s a place with fantastic margaritas on the way home. I’m just saying. Ole.)

That leaves my practical contribution in serious jeopardy. I’m not taking silverware. We don’t tailgate sweets. I’m trying not to take potato salad… but I’m not ruling it out, either. Hamburger buns? Wet naps? Chip clips, in case we can’t finish the Doritos?

None of these are “helping”. At this rate, they’ll make me sit with the grill until the coals die down. Maybe somewhere in the middle of the second half. It’ll be lonely out there in the parking lot, with everyone inside enjoying the game — but I’ll understand. I responded late. There’s nothing good left to bring. And I’m not helping.

Oh, well. At least I’ll have plenty of potato salad.

Permalink  |  1 Comment

One Response to “The Tail End of the Tailgate”

  1. Ema says:

    Oh men, you’re doing a lot of stuff, bring it on. I am so sad I can’t be there to laugh with you or at you, who cares.
    Missing funny people around

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