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Rant #207
(published December 30, 2004)
Dinner Chatter
by J. R. Salling
"I was watching that," she lied, a geometric impossibility.

"Some demented mother cut off her baby's arms," I interpreted, as I advanced to my chair. "If that's what you wanted to know."

It's an unspoken rule that we do not watch television during a meal, although one enforced by myself alone. I despise the local news, that miserable brand of radiation, a medium responsible for the spoilage of thousands of dinners every evening. Perhaps millions.

I nibbled at my salad while I waited for Elizabeth to bring the meat to the table. A baked hen was the night's fare, basted in one of her sweet and succulent sauces. My wife takes great pride in her skill with birds. I can verify it, having tried many of them over the past fifteen years.

"Smells good," I announced.

She clapped the platter down on the table without responding, then took her place. After positioning her napkin, she took one of her good German knives and attempted to saw through the joint. When her effort failed to make sufficient progress, she chopped with the blade instead, taking big swings. A few small pieces leapt onto the table linen, which didn't appear to bother her. Finally through, she speared the severed limb with a serving fork.

"Give me your plate," my wife ordered. She tossed the meat the last few inches when I was slow to respond and turned to work on her own selection, ripping and hacking again.

When Elizabeth noticed I was still watching, instead of eating, she stopped. "What?" she said with a hint of indignation, suspecting my dissatisfaction with the meal.

"Nothing," I replied with a shrug and began to tear at the moist, steaming flesh. "Just thinking it's a good thing we don't have a baby."

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