Upstate New York, visiting my immediate family. This affords me a couple of opportunities. First, I get to eat like a fat guy because this city is full of fat guys who mind their own business. It's the kind of city where fat guys unapologetically dip their slices of tavern pizza in little plastic buckets filled with liquefied bleu cheese. Fuck you, sex appeal, is what their scowls telegraph. And fuck you, too, is what I think as I drink directly from a bottle of Thousand Island dressing. I spank its bottom until a piece of relish pops on to my tongue, then I spin the bottle across the table, pay my check and split. Goodbye is a drag of my sleeve across my lips. Fat guys run this piece.
Because my sister has little children, being here also means I get to play my favorite game ever. It's the one where I push her 3 year-old on his "rocket booster" playground swing, praying I'll be able to get him high enough to tear the highest branches down from the highest tree, high enough so I can launch him to the telephone wires and all the other heights I was too afraid to swing to when I was his age. And, while pushing him higher and higher - he's fearless - I try my hardest to engage him with an absurd quiz. The subject matter changes constantly, but the rules are a constant. I find something important in his life - in this case, a trip to Disney World less than 24 hours away - and begin quizzing him on his preparedness.
"Did you pack an umbrella?"
"Did you pack your pyjamas?"
And then I start making things up, praying I'll be able to crack him.
"Did you pack a jar filled with pee?"
"Did you pack a gum gum bird?"
"Did you pack a snizzle?"
"Did you pack a pair of poopy diapers?"
"Did you pack your best haircut?"
"Did you pack your nacho cheese pants?"
And so on, until one or both of us are laughing like fools. I intend to try this game out on adults very, very soon.
p.s. Here's a joke I'll never tell again, so I'm going to leave it here for you to pick apart like cheetahs on elk. My review of the film Phone Booth: It's like Speed...in a phone booth.