Playing Doctor

Initial Visit?

Tuesday, June 21

Eight Polaroids for the Purpose of Triangulation

When I was 13 my family made our annual trek from Iowa to Miami and we stopped for dinner in Chattanooga at a greasy spoon situated in a larger structure’s parking lot—a JC Penny’s maybe—and I was so hungry from the long car trip that every bite was an emotional relief.

I made a ridiculous comment that night, haunting me for years after I made it; my family hardly lets an opportunity go by without reminding me of it: ‘These green beans would make a great addition to any meal.’

It was the first time they realized my gift for pastiche, which is not to say panache.

When I was 22, I got a couple of weird crank calls from a girl who purported to know me. I suspected she was lying so I asked her to describe me.

When she said, ‘Well, you’re very good looking,’ I gasped, thinking: ‘She does know me! Who is this girl?’

The other day, my friend Dan got in my, admittedly messy, car.

There were towels and sweaters, papers and journals, even an unopened bag of Oreos. (Which was a gift for one of the administrative assistants, but he didn’t know that.) He looked around and said, ‘Erik, what’s the deal? Are you practicing being homeless?’

One summer, a college friend visited my family. I don’t remember exactly—frankly, at all—what she was trying to get me to do, but we were in the living room and she was talking about her long drive and how it would be really nice if, if—well, whatever she wanted from me, it escapes me now.

As she was doing her convincing, my dad came walking through the living room and, without breaking his gait, said: ‘If you’re trying to get Erik to do something using guilt, don’t bother. We figured out a long time ago it doesn’t affect him. You might as well try to make a stapler feel guilty.’

‘Thanks, Dad,’ I called out as he turned the corner into the kitchen. ‘Love you, too!’


Anonymous Anonymous writes:

I remember the "green beans" incident a little differently.
We were on our way to Tuxedo Park, NY. You were sleeping and woke up to announce that you were freezing, in spite of the fact that we had already adjusted the air conditioning to the point that everyone else was warm.

Then there was some comment that you hadn't had green beans for days and that was the root of your discomfort.

As my dear friend always says: "kids, you can't live with them and you can't kill them." That little play on words really pissed off her son.


Blogger Erik writes:

You are remembering a different road trip and a different incident involving green beans.


Blogger hot babe writes:

I don't quite understand your love of green beans. I still have to choke them down.


Anonymous Anonymous writes:

You only have to choke them down if they haven't been prepared properly. Try sauteing fresh ones with garlic and olive oil, sprinkling salt and pepper to taste. They're also good when cooked longer in soulfood/southern style, but I haven't the foggiest idea on how to make them that way.


Blogger Spider writes:

You take a "mess" of snap beans, Southerners do not eat "green" beans. A large cast iron pot - the one your Grandmother used is preferred. Fill 2/3 full of water - put in said Snap Beans. Add one large or two small ham hocks, about a half a Flintstone Jelly glass of bacon grease - you find this in the door of the fridge where you collect it every Saturday and Sunday morning from the breakfast bacon. Salt, pepper - bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook for about 6-8 hours on low... longer if it takes the roast longer to cook. You may add pealed potatos 0r new potatos for the last 2-3 hours if you desire.

Serve when the snap beans are almost mush - and the flavor of the bacon and ham will be all through them. These are MUCH BETTER when you re-heat them the nexr evening for Supper.


Anonymous Another Dan writes:

I have a 5 lb. bag of green beans in my freezer at all times. You are always welcome to come over for some as a snack or perhaps part of a meal if you are feeling green bean deprived.


Anonymous Anonymous writes:

I live in Tuxedo Park, and I must say that I find it terribly disconcerting that someone visiting "the PARK" would even so much as eat a green bean, much less crave them.
Are you certain you weren't visiting some other Village.


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