Award-winning writer: Jackie Papandrew

Airing My Dirty Laundry!

The Grill General

We are now deeply embroiled in the grilling season, and the gentle man who promised to love me for better or for worse has once again morphed into the General Patton of the barbecue set, a tyrant with tongs who must not be questioned. Grilling, after all, is a man’s job. As everyone knows, only a Y guy – one of those brave bearers of the Y chromosome also known as men – can possibly tame the open flame.

After 20 years of marriage, I’ve come to expect this annual transformation. The man who won’t touch the stovetop in our kitchen for fear that it might infuse him with estrogen becomes overnight an expert on cooking in the great outdoors, where only testosterone is allowed to roam free. Woe to the woman who tries to tell him how to grill.

Even though I know this, I usually cannot resist the temptation at the beginning of each summer to rile my king of the crackling cut of meat at least a little bit. I usually do this by suggesting that he needs to clean his grill. Due to an ever-thickening layer of black grunge encasing it, the grill is only recognizable as a grill because it smells like scorched underbrush and, in compliance with federal grilling law, it has the word “master” in its name. Still, my cleaning suggestion always seems to deeply annoy my husband.

“Woman, do not tell me how to manage my grill,” he grunts in true Patton fashion.

After this, we fall into an unvarying routine. Whenever we are going to have a barbecue with friends, I buy the food. I prepare the salad, vegetables and baked beans. I fix a tasty dessert.

I also prepare the meat for cooking, and place it on a tray with all the necessary utensils and sauces. Then I take it out to The General, who is lounging beside the grill, a beer in hand, mentally summoning his forces for the task ahead. He is also being counseled by the other beer-swilling men in his backyard brigade on the latest in meat-searing strategies.

When he is ready, The General performs the most important part of the process, the act that only a member of the male species can competently pull off: HE PLACES THE MEAT ON THE GRILL!

The other men stand by, lavishing him with praise for his efforts. Old Blood and Guts receives their adulation as his due reward, his chest swelling with pride.

Meanwhile, I go inside to set the table. Then I go back outside to inform my boss of broiling that the meat is burning, something that seems to have escaped the attention of all the grill groupies gathered around the fire. Maybe they were blinded by their beer cans.

“Woman, I can see that for myself,” The General growls, commanding me to bring him another beer to drink as he deals with the sizzling situation. Then he performs the next amazing feat: HE FLIPS THE BEEF OVER!

His coterie of fellow fire-conquerors offers oohs and aaahs at his meat-turning prowess, and he nods and grunts at them, again acknowledging their rightful admiration.

Upon my return with his second beer, he grandly announces that the grilling process is complete. Then he hands me the charred main dish, beaming with satisfaction.

I bring all the food to the table and summon everyone to come and eat. During the meal, The General is congratulated by the other men on a job well done and thanked for all his hard work.

Later, after I’ve washed the dishes, he asks me how I enjoyed my “night off.”

“Oh, I enjoyed it very much, General,” I mutter sarcastically.


“Never mind,” I say. “Maybe you should go clean the grill.”

~ Jackie Papandrew ~
© 2008, All Rights Reserved

Jackie Papandrew is an award-winning writer, syndicated humor columnist, coffee addict and mom to a motley crew of children and pets who provide a steady stream of column ideas and dirt. She's also wife to a very patient man who had no idea, years ago when he still had time to escape, what he was getting himself into. Visit her website at:  JackiePapandrew.com

[ by Jackie Papandrew Copyright © 2008, (me@jackiepapandrew.com) -- submitted by: Jackie Papandrew ]

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