“I had the best time hanging out with a co-worker and his friend last night. I laughed the whole time. It was just like watching a sitcom,” Felice recounted to me a couple weeks ago.
This wasn’t the first time I’d heard a situation described this way. Readers, sit down. Let me tell you a story. It was six years ago and four years before I first started writing this post.
I pulled my fixed-up bike with a duct-tapped seat into Kate and Dave’s drive. The gang was already there, drinking beers, waiting for the grill to heat up. These were the regular’s and the sometimer’s that had been around longer than I.
Beth, my roommate at the time asked me, “Have you been home, yet?”
“Nope, just got off work.”
“Oh, so you haven’t seen the mattresses?”
“No, not yet. Just got off work.”
“I meant to say something to you earlier, but I forgot. Then my brother showed up and I couldn’t remember if you really wanted the mattress or not. We started moving it…”
Now readers picture a full-sized mattress in a 40’s-era, wrong side of the tracks house with a narrow hall designed for nothing bigger than a twin-sized tick mattress.
“…before I realized that you still had your own bed in your room. My brother was kind of stuck in the hallway and I was trying to toss your mattress to the side…”
During this period of my life I was kind of a slob. Really, this current level of near obsessive order is new.
“…and your cat is getting so scared. But, my new mattress is so tall – I might need a step to get into bed!”
“No, it’s fine,” I took up my line. “I couldn’t really talk because the bus was running late, so I was having to ride my bike while talking on the phone with you. Then, I was going down this steep hill that has a blind four-way stop at the bottom. So, I’m trying to brake with just one hand, but the bike just started shaking instead of slowing down. I had to get off the phone with you so that I could brake with the other hand.” I excitedly rambled myself, mimicking my own actions throughout.
One of the recurring guest stars who had been listening to us interrupted with “The two of you are like a bad sitcom.”
Readers, at the time — when it wasn’t just my mattress and bike falling apart — I liked how this sounded. To tell you the truth, in present day — when I come home to two balls of bored energy that have found new mischief — I remind myself to laugh because I prefer my life as a sitcom.
The difference between a sitcom and a drama is all in the laugh track. The story lines mimic, but in one they always laugh. They also eat big sandwiches.
Ever so many sitcoms seem to involve big sandwiches. I’m not sure what exactly is funny about sandwiches. Perhaps it all ties back to Dagwood or maybe there is inherent humor in the sandwich? For me the big sandwich started during childhood. (On a side note once when I was little some TV station ran a marathon of an old, black and white Blondie TV show, my dad was disgusted that I sat on the couch watching them all.) On occasion my parents would take a loaf of focaccia; layer in some meats, cheeses, vegetables; spread on some olivetta, Hotter than Hell of a Relish, or chipotle mayonnaise; put the whole thing in the oven to bake until the bread was crisp and the cheese was melted. They’d cut it into fourths and we’d sit at the table with our wedges of the big sandwich. Maybe we’d recount our day. If there was wine we’d participate in a flashback. We’d laugh about politics and religion.
My family hasn’t had this dinner since those days, but I am still a fan. A couple weeks ago, I made the sandwich above on a day when the dog…well, let’s just say there was a lot of forced laughing. And oh golly gosh was it good. Now there isn’t really a recipe for this kind of meal. Go with your cravings. But, all the same here is this one.
My big sitcom sandwich
Slice one zucchini lengthwise. Coat it in breadcrumbs (possibly seasoned with fresh sage). Bake in the oven till browned.
Take one focaccia sandwich bun, put on some cheese (maybe fontina, specialty never to be had again cheese from the farmer’s market, and a little mozzarella). Chop up some kalamata olives with a few capers. Put this on too. Spread on some of your store bought sundried tomato spread that you could totally make yourself if you just would.
After you’ve browned it like a grilled cheese sandwich. Put on a few slices of tomato and smashed avocado.