Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Grill Of The Unknown

At school I learnt the historically dubious claim that during the reign of King Alfred, an Englishman could leave gold jewelry hanging from a tree branch and come back to find it untouched one year later. In Barack Obama’s America, I have discovered, you can do the same with a George Foreman grill leant against the front bumper of a Volkswagen Jetta. Maybe not for a year, but at least for one night.

Last night just after midnight I was emptying kitchen waste into my prized compost bin when I noticed a large cardboard package propped up against the front of our car, parked on the street. It was a windy night, so I assumed the package had been blown out of someone’s recycling bin. The next morning it was still there when I went out to get the papers, but I was too idle to deal with it as I was still dealing with the effects of several glasses of Rioja.

Just after 11am, a visiting friend brought the box inside. It wasn’t empty at all. It contained a spanking new George Foreman grill. “The lean mean fat reducing grilling machine,” it says on the box, without pausing for any commas at all. The neighbours claim to know nothing about it. Two sets of friends who visited on Saturday night said they hadn’t seen it when they left, and are clueless about how it came to be in the street in front of our house. Though one did say, “It happened to us once with an armchair. We kept it for 30 years.”

We are mulling all possible explanations. In Obama’s America, everyone gets free gifts. The CIA has planted a bug in the grill and wants to eavesdrop on me chopping onions, swearing at the radio and singing along to Her Space Holiday. God is in fact a divine hamburger and is rewarding his chosen meat-eating disciples with a heaven-sent culinary aid. The George Foreman grill is so crap that you can only give it away. It’s some kind of threat, but our enemies couldn’t find a horse’s head so they left the next thing they could get their hands on, the message being that if we don’t tread carefully, we could end up with our heads sandwiched inside a George Foreman grill. Or something.

I did a google news search to see if there were any other reports of mysterious George Foreman grill appearances or apparitions, but all I could find was actress Blake Lively telling W Magazine last week that, “I just made chicken breasts from Whole Foods on a George Foreman Grill, with asparagus and broccoli.” W Magazine is the publication for lame-duck presidents, by lame-duck presidents, I believe. If anyone can see a sinister connection in all this, please let me know.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

How Middle-Aged People Celebrate History

After whooping it up for a few minutes and dancing around the living room at Obama's victory last Tuesday night, we went out on to the deck to hear how the rest of the neighbourhood was celebrating. Silence. We whooped some more, but there was no response. It was raining.

"I have to go back in," I said as the historic moment slipped away. "My hearing-aids are starting to get wet." But by next morning Obama had made the rain stop.