Wednesday, July 11, 2007

My Rat

I'm not sure how to explain this but yesterday after my wife told me that she was going to spend the better part of the morning shopping at places like Target and Loew's I asked her if she would not mind picking up a Remy ex Ratatouille rat for me. I don't know if she agreed to do it because with the kids away at camp in North Carolina she's feeling lonely and so predisposed to be kind to me, or if she's just resigned to the fact that her fifty two year old husband is not as mature as his age should warrant.

But there he is: my rat holding a piece of rubber cheese while he contemplates the presence of two pieces of roasted fennel left over from last night's salad. He's beautiful, no?

The last time I had a rats in my kitchen was 1984. I was working in a restaurant (Le Coq Hardi) in the basement of a converted 19th century carriage shop in Ridgefield, Connecticut. I discovered their intrusion one morning when I found gnaw marks in a block of Callebaut semi-sweet chocolate in the dry goods storage at the rear of the main dining room. I quickly located their point of entry to an area just under the dish washing station where the mortar that bound the field stone foundation had become soft from the constant dampness.

While I was poking around under the pot sink my dishwasher, a louche 17 year old who was often so stoned that he would entertain himself by placing a single spoon in the sink and shooting it with the rinse wand, walked in and asked me what I was doing under the sink.

"We've got a problem" I said, "small animals have broken through the foundation and are coming in at night and stealing our food. This morning I found a 1/4 pound of chocolate missing."

"Small animals?" He said, "What kind of small animals?"

"Toy poodles. Toy poodles are digging down from the parking lot and eating through the foundation."

"Wow, man. That's f--ked up" He said and walked off to punch his time card.

I never bothered to tell him that I'd been busting his chops. He was useless as a dishwasher and I was planning to fire him as soon as I could find a replacement. In my youth I had no use for fools like him and may not have bothered to tell him the truth even if he had been the best employee in the house. But now, as I enter the dawn of my dodder hood and find myself writing about my delight over the purchase of a rubber rat, I have to wonder if that boy -now grown into a man- will not read this and think "What an asshole."


Kevin said...

What an asshole!

Good story though.{g} And I find that I suffered fools more willingly when I was younger.

Anonymous said...

I applaud the purchase of the Remy. My spouse and myself (having both just turned 40) are both still firmly attached to the notion that even though we are grown-ups and have lots of grown-up responsibilities, its still okay to prize the things we'd prize if we were 10. We still watch cartoons, never miss an animated movie, have been known to go collectible toy shopping (Spawn is my favorite collectible), and even took an entire day off of work to spend our first wedding anniversary at Disneyland. So, while we may be seen looking fiercly mature at the French Laundry or the L.A. Opera, know that really, we're not above a spit-wad or two, even there.


Anonymous said...

P.S. Speaking of L.A's Opera...we saw Tannhauser a few months ago. We chose it for 2 reasons: 1) We'd never seen it, and 2) We knew full-well that it was the inspiration behind "What's Opera, Doc?", starring Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd. Yes, that was "Kill da Wabbit." Despite the opening 20 minutes (which if you saw you'd fully understand why I mentioned spit-wads), we adored hearing "Kill da Wabbit" with "My Spear and Magic Helmet" in full opera regalia in front of an opera crowd. It was sublime.


CarolinaGirl said...

I say make the rat your mascot and photograph it on your travels. We did just that while traveling cross country with a stuffed pickle. He visited several places on our 6 day drive, and we still laugh out loud at the "where's Matt Lauer" aspect the photos have.
The poodles made me shoot water out my nose and clear across the room. Tres funny.

Bob del Grosso said...

I love opera too, but only the opera of Mozart. I know it's a failing of mine, but it is what it is. I have two brothers who work at the Met in NY, and so have virtually unlimited access to any production. But I've never asked them for help seeing anything other than one of His
work. I haven't the hunger for the other stuff.
But following your evocation of that Elmer Fudd routine, I may have to rethink my taste in opera.

Carolina Girl
Didn't it occur to me to take that rat out on the road. (Damn well bet it did.) But you will never catch me dead or alive in the company of a fake pickle. That's undignified.

Anonymous said...

First opera I ever saw was "Cosi Fan Tutte."

And access to the Met? I am supremely envious! If you need an understudy to play the part of you for the operas you don't attend, just let me know! In the mean time, voila - "Kill da Wabbit!" in its entirety. Perhaps this colorful little appeteaser will whet your appetite for all-things Wagner:

"I can't help it."

P.S. You do know there's an aria named after you, non?!

Sorcha said...

Those damn heiresses, not controlling their poodles!

If that guy's still around and has grown up at all, he probably chuckles over the memory. Assuming he can remember.