I always wondered when Drew would utter his first cuss word. Perhaps he would be a teenager breaking off his side mirror at a drive-through while buying hamburgers for a homeless child. Or maybe he would be a young, responsible adult burning his finger on a hot skillet while making bacon for me. Anything done in the name of bacon is excusable, this we know for sure. Maybe Drew’s first cuss word would come out while saying, “I’m going to beat the crap out of you if you take away my mother’s bacon.” “Crap” would be spoken with all the Tarantino-intensity of blood and vengeance, and he wouldn’t even need a stronger, Scotch-ier word because his righteous eyes would blaze shame into the hearts of bacon pilferers worldwide. Drew would certainly cuss in the name of justice, hearkening back to the book of Revelation where Christ is pictured with a sword coming out of his mouth to bring down the hurt upon evil.
Ah, our dreams for our children. I would have thought Drew’s first cuss word would be in defense of puppies or in order to eliminate global atrocities, but little could I have expected it would be just as run-of-the-mill as they come.
We were eating dinner at Perrotti’s in Fort Worth. This place has some sort of agreement with Satan about the ridiculous goodness of their product. Ever since I was known as the “pizza eater” in first grade, I have understood myself to be a connoisseur of Italian foodery, even without being officially given this label by authority figures. I knew pizza. I still do. And this stuff is good.
(By the way, Perrotti’s is probably not close to you, probably does not deliver to you, and probably exceeds your limits of fat intake and/or shame, so you might as well never even try to eat there. Perrotti’s is ours. It belongs to us. Please do not infer from this post that you should start eating at Perrotti’s. In fact, you should go on the Palio diet just to be safe.)
You can imagine my delight when Gordon suggested we eat at Perrotti’s after church Sunday evening. (He usually harps on the Pei Wei.) I had just endured a lengthy call-back audition for a musical theater production, and was craving some breaded comfort cheese. When the hot pie was placed lovingly in the center of our table, we each drew breath to inhale the rich aroma.
I don’t know where on the green earth he gets it, but Drew has a thing about being in control. One expression of this trait is his demand to serve himself. He wants to wield the large, fascinating Perrotti’s spatula like a Jedi knight. Another of Drew’s control fetishes is his insistence that food be separate from all other instances of food; therefore to place a piece of pizza down upon the remains of salad would explode the cosmic order.
Drew was standing in his seat, a sliver of pizza precariously balanced on the spatula. A string of mozzarella lava oozed down upon his plate, coiling atop the abandoned shards of lettuce. He cringed as the OCD dilemma sharpened its corners and drew up its ultimatum: would Drew let the pizza down on TOP of OTHER FOOD (gasp!), or risk dropping the pizza on the floor while moving the salad out of the way?
He chose door number two. A fool’s errand indeed.
SLAP went the beautiful Love Triangle upon the laminate floor.
I’ve written before about my impulsive rage when things are falling from table to floor, and this time was no different. I didn’t have time to yell or even catch the casualty mid-fall, but I did get a wicked crick in my neck from lunging toward the drop zone. It paralyzed me for approximately three seconds while I evaluated the damage. “Damn it,” I muttered under my breath.
Apparently not under my breath enough.
Drew stood for a moment holding the spatula, stunned. What had just happened here? When he had finally processed the horror of losing his pizza, he sat down in dejection and put the spatula on the table like a useless appendage.
“Oh,” he whimpered softly. “Oh, dammit.”
It was the most forlorn, sweetest little profanity you’ve ever had the pleasure of being offended by. It was so quiet that Gordon didn’t even hear it. I pretended not to. We all recovered, sort of, and managed to enjoy our meal in a new, mature kind of silence.
That night after Drew had brushed his teeth at the bathroom sink, he looked up at me and said, “You’re my best friend, right Mr. Mommy?”
With a little too much eagerness, and with a touch of self-pity and wonder, I fairly cried, “Yes, baby! I sure am!”
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