A lot happened in last night’s cage match fight to the death. I brought together for the first time many of my JVV regulars. My mad manipulation skillz were in full effect as I worked up a sweat convincing other people to cook for me at my house. In a strange turn of events, I found myself forcing vegetables in someone’s face other than my own. And for a period way longer than necessary, the conversation focused on something called vagina dip. But the most important thing that happened last night was that I won—pretty easily and swiftly—asparagus, and then about 20 minutes after everyone left I think I might have lost it.
CAGE MATCH SPECTATORS
The responses I got to my report out on Sunday’s compulsive vegetable-buying spree were not friendly, lovey dove notes like, congratulations for not getting lost in the farmers’ market, Julie! Or, good for you for those vegetable purchases, especially all those cucumbers! Remember when you didn’t even like cucumbers? You go girl! No, the responses I got were like, what the hell are you going to do with 15 cucumbers? When the hell are you going to eat all that food? I planned on eating every damn bit of that food, thank you very much, until Monday when I only managed to eat half of one radish. Fudge. So I relented and called for backup. Everyone gathered around my kitchen counter and easily fell into conversation about the unifying topic of Tom’s Republican pants, which are plaid. And pleated.
THE BOB AND WEAVE
After discussing the merit of Tom’s pants (none), shoes (Bucks, none) and hat (pageboy, little), the natives began to get restless, but I….had no idea what I was doing. My plan was to kebob all those veggies and throw them on the grill, but I ran into two major hurdles: first, “all those veggies” were many, many more than I’ve ever worked with in one meal, too many, and it short-circuited my brain, causing me to ping pong from one side of the kitchen to the other and exhaust myself from accomplishing slightly more than nothing; and second, mosquitoes. One of my vegetarian guests–who, as a vegetarian, genuinely likes vegetables–took over and did things like decide which vegetables to kebob while I busied myself pretending I knew where things were in my kitchen when someone asked for them, which I didn’t. Once the veggies were chopped and marinated kebobed (?) them, which I could do standing in one place and without having to make decisions any more complicated than which color vegetable to skewer next, but Randy was kind enough to point out that I wasn’t even all that good at that.
We decided on bell peppers, mushrooms, radishes and zucchini for the kebobs, all of which I’ve won before. The main battle of the night would be asparagus, which everyone assured me would be an easy win and which Jon assured me would make my pee smell.
I finished up the kebobs, someone other than me did something I didn’t pay attention to to the asparagus, we handed everything over to the mosquito-fighting grillmasters and hoped for the best.
TIMEOUT FOR RULE CLARIFICATION
At one point while I was skewering veggies, someone brought up onions, as someone inevitably always does. Everyone in the room told tales of times they’ve tricked me into eating onions. Then someone told the room, like it was a big fucking secret, that I like French onion dip, which is hardly even a real food and probably doesn’t even have onions in it. We were just about to start a rousing debate about the stupidity of my rules when we were interrupted by Randy:
“Did you just say you like vagina dip?”
One important thing to share with you about the people I know, whom I won’t necessarily always claim as friends, is that the things they sometimes talk about in polite company can be very inappropriate and offensive to my delicate, Southern sensibilities. The risk I took in bringing several of these people together last night was that two of the most offensive people I know other than David—Randy and Jon—would be in the same room as each other and a lot of beer. And Jon was there without the angel on his shoulder—his wife, Melissa—to temper his tasteless thoughts:
“Vagina dip. He he. And your pee is going to smell.”
Jon has been a very important person in my life because until I started this project we were together equally anti-vegetable, which meant Melissa made veggie-free meals for us both. But now Jon thinks I’ve turned on him, and I guess I have, a little. I mean, I’ve been pretty successful and I want to share that with him because some veggies are good. So last night, amid his unseemly outbursts about #%$^$% and %#^x&$%, I ramped up my campaign to bring Jon to the veg side with just one, just one, bite of asparagus. But Jon’s no dummy, nor is he a stranger to battles of endurance, strength and wit. He let me harangue him and poke him and tease him, and he just took it, totally unfazed. When the asparagus came off the grill I waved a wad of asparagus in his face. “Eat it! Eat it!” And then in an instant, in slow motion, like I planned it, I compulsively darted six miles inside his personal space and forced a handful hot, cheesy asparagus in his mouth, up his nose, and into the beer he was attempting to shield himself with. High five!
Jon spat out the asparagus and griped emphatically, “That is going to make my pee smell!”
THE COUNTER PUNCH
I, on the other hand, liked asparagus a lot. Jon=big effing baby. Julie=big fragging winner. I wasn’t as crazy about all the vegetables on the kebobs despite really liking most of them in other iterations. Maybe I just don’t like grilled vegetables. Except asparagus. I love it. Yum.
We watched hockey. We ate cookies. We said good night to our guests. We cleaned up.
Then I peed. Horrifying. Asparagus makes your pee smell. Not. A. Fan.