(On the patio, in the evening sun, baking our potatoes on the barbecue, and in an emotionally dark place.)
Beast: Can you stop calling them jacket potatoes?
Foodie: Why? That’s what they are.
Beast: They’re baked potatoes.
Foodie: They’re jacket po-ta-toes–from the UK. Everybody knows that.
Beast: I’ve never heard of it until tonight.
Foodie: Well most worldly people know what they are.
Beast: That’s a low blow, especially considering how depressed I am right now.
Foodie: You’re depressed? We can’t both be depressed at the same time. There’s only room for one emotionally fragile individual in this relationship.
Beast: Should I flip the potatoes yet?
Foodie: No, just leave the barbecue lid down and forget about it for a bit. Have you thought about what you want to have for dinner with Nick Edwards tomorrow night?
Beast: Oh great. You invite him over and look like a hero and I’ll come across looking like a failure becuase I can’t make decisions about dinner. I’m a fucking failure.
Foodie: Don’t you dare say that!
Beast: It’s true. No wait: I’m not a failure because you have to at least try at something in order to fail. How does it feel to be dating such a loser?
Foodie: You are not a loser! Where are you going?
Beast: I have to start making posters.
Foodie: For what?
Beast: ”Cocktail Pianist for Hire.”
Foodie: Where are you really going?
Beast: I’m going to do my push-ups.
Foodie: Pardon me?
Beast: MY PUSH-UPS!
Foodie: Can I watch?
But before the Beast could do his “work-out” he had to pick out some music to play. He chose a little number by Glen Campbell. Then, he proceeded to do a total of four and a half push-ups before collapsing in exhaustion. It was the funniest thing I’ve seen in a long time. Then he started to do a series of joke push-ups, like a one-armed push-up while he rested on his knees and push-ups from a jack-knife position where he didn’t push up his arms at all: instead, he just jerked his knees in and out really quickly. Did you see the Harmony Korine movie, Gummo? When that kid is tap-dancing in the basement? The Beast’s joker push-ups reminded me of that.
Beast: Okay, I’m done my work-out.
Foodie: I’ll get the toppings reading for the jacket potatoes.
Beast: Do we have cheese?
Beast: Do we have bacon bits?
Foodie (pause): Yes.
Beast: I’ll help get the toppings ready.
We had left-over coleslaw and baked beans, plus the Beast’s cheese and bacon bits, and also some green onion for garnish. We each prepared our jacket potatoes in a way that reflected our emotional states.
I towered mine real tall, which made it slightly fragile, almost like it was crying on the inside. I started with butter, then sea salt, then the beans and finally the coleslaw and the green onion: it was sophisticated, logical, and a little bit sassy on the outside.
The Beast topped his with every imaginable ingredient that filled his attention-deficit-disordered head. His resulting dinner looked like it was assembled by a four year old, one-armed kid, whose parents left him alone at the 1988 Ponderosa baked potato bar.
Foodie: How’s your potato?
Beast: It’s okay.
Foodie: Just okay? Mine’s delicious!
Beast: I just wish there was some, oh, I don’t know.
Foodie: Some meat?
Beast: Yes, some meat. We should have bought some sausage and taken the meat out of the casing and fried it up.
Foodie: We don’t have to have meat with every meal. The beans will give you all the protein you need.
Beast: I notice you didn’t put pancetta in the baked beans.
Beast: We need to get out of this funk. Let’s go rent a black and white romantic comedy after dinner.
Foodie: How about Iron Man?
Beast: I was thinking more along the lines of Adam’s Rib, starring Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn.
Foodie: Oh. How about you do more push-ups after dinner? I bet that would be funnier than Adam’s Rib.
Beast: Stop belittling me.
Foodie: Want my second potato?
Beast: You bet your ass I do.
And just like that, we both felt a little better.