Do you ever watch the Maury Povich Show?
As far as daytime talk shows go, Maury’s has to be considered one of the best… EVER.
It’s not that Maury brings anything special to the table as a host, or as an interviewer. If fact, sometimes he’s a little too condescending for me.
The unsung heroes of the Maury Povich Show are the producers. They’ve created a very simple format that is always… always… ALWAYS entertaining.
When you watch the show, there are really only three topics you are ever going to see…
There are the episodes where parents complain about their out-of-control children and have them sent to boot camp.
There are the paternity test episodes. Though entertaining, they kind of bum me out. I cannot for the life of me understand why you, as a parent, would want to broadcast questions of your child’s paternity to the world.
But my favorite Maury episodes are the ones dealing with EXTREME PHOBIAS, like this one…
I’ve seen plenty of these episodes. I’ve seen people afraid of cotton balls. I’ve seen people afraid of olives. I’ve seen people afraid of masks. I even saw a nurse… A NURSE who was afraid of BANDAIDS!
Now as weird as these phobias seem, and as ridiculous as the Maury Show makes these people look, you have to know that the fears that these people have are REAL.
If you think about it in terms of percentages, you run into folks with these types of phobias every single day… You just don’t know who they are unless they tell you.
For the longest time, I had always hoped for the day when I would meet a person with a fear like that…
But to actually go on a date with one of them, and to see their phobia in action… Well that was a dream come true.
Here’s the story…
When I was in college, about a year before I met my beautiful wife (I love you, Kara!), I had started to date a girl I had known since I was in high school. I’m leaving her name out, but she shares the same name as a famous actress. For the sake of this post, I will refer to her as Jennifer Aniston.
About two weeks into our relationship, Jennifer Aniston and I went on a date to the San Francisco Zoo. Now, you have to know that during this time I was finishing up my Biology degree at San Jose State University, so I was really excited to show off how much I knew about all the different animals…
I showed her everything!
The monkey house!
And my personal favorite… The gorillas!
Come lunch time, we were exhausted… So we made a pit stop at the food court.
If you’ve never been to the food court at the San Francisco Zoo, you have to know that it is outside. Surrounding the entire food court there is a bunch of netting. The reason for this is to keep the animals out. I’m not talking about the zoo animals… I’m talking about the city animals… Especially the birds.
So there we are… Jennifer Aniston and I… Eating lunch.
I had a nice, juicy burger. Since Jennifer Aniston was a vegetarian, she had a very healthy basket of french fries.
Now, I can’t recall a thing that we spoke about. I just remember that she was smiling a lot. I mean… Why wouldn’t she? She was on a date with me!
I have to admit that I couldn’t pay attention to what she was saying, because I was hyper-focused on what she was eating… And HOW she was eating it…
The fries at the zoo are served vertically in a 32 ounce soda cup. The fries are sooooooo greasy that the cup becomes translucent within minutes. Next to her cup of fries, she had a 16 ounce soda cup filled to the top with ketchup. So there she is… smiling… laughing… telling me how awesome I am… and, all the while, she’s dipping her fries in this ketchup.
Look… There’s nothing wrong with putting ketchup on your fries, but there was something wrong with HOW MUCH ketchup Jennifer Aniston was putting on HER fries.
It was UNREAL!
After each dunk, the fry would be completely covered in ketchup… COMPLETELY! From one end to the next, these fries were COVERED. She would pause for a moment to tell me something, and then she would dunk the fry AGAIN! By the time each fry went into her mouth it was SATURATED WITH KETCHUP!
You know, there comes a point at which ketchup makes the transition from a lovely condiment to the MAIN COURSE. Jennifer Aniston exceeded that threshold by a longshot.
It was UN-F-ING-REAL!
I kind of took a tangent.
Let me get back on track…
So there she is. Jennifer Aniston is eating her fries, and telling me how rad I am, when… all of a sudden… something changed…
First I saw it in her face. Where there was once a smile, her face began to turn to stone. At this point, she wasn’t looking at me… She was looking through me.
Next, she began to move… wildly. In one motion, she began to stand up while waving her hands in all directions. As a result of her frantic motions, the ketchup soaked fry that was once in her right hand began to fly across the food court. Her body, began to reach for higher ground.
Before I knew it, she was on top of the table… hands still waiving.
The airborne fry had found a new home, having been propelled onto the patch on the back of a Hell’s Angel.
Jennifer Aniston began screaming, “GET IT AWAY! GET IT AWAY!”
When I looked around the table, wondering what she was talking about, I spotted a lonely pigeon on the ground. It was chewing on a dropped french fry right next to where her feet had been.
So there I was… My date was flipping out. Everyone in the food court was staring us down. And I’m pretty sure that a member of the Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club was ready to kick my ass.
I shooed away the pigeon, gave my apologies to the biker (from a distance), grabbed Jennifer Aniston by the had, and headed for the exit.
On the way home, Jennifer Aniston was very apologetic, “I’ve been afraid of birds ever since I was a child.”
“Birds? Really?” I asked, “Why are you afraid of birds?”
“You know how all birds kind of look the same?” she explained, “Well… When I was a little girl, I used to think that they were all the same bird… I thought that they were… you know… following me.”
As much as I felt bad for her, having to deal with a phobia like that… In the back of my mind, I was kind of stoked.
Finally, I had found a person in real life that had one of those crazy Maury Povich Show type phobias.
“Good thing,” I thought to myself, “I will never have to deal with a phobia like that.”
Or so I thought…
Let’s fast-forward a few years…
Jennifer Aniston and I only went on a few more dates before we called it quits. In the years since then, I had met my future wife, I had earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from San Jose State, and was in the process of getting my teaching credential.
As part of the process for getting my credential, I had to do a little student teaching. It’s a pretty neat gig, being a student teacher…
I taught a 6th period Biology class at a high school right down the street from my apartment. Since the only class that I taught was in the afternoon, and most credential classes are held at night, I got to sleep in every morning. I would usually wake up around 10am, watch a little Price Is Right while eating my cereal, and ride my bike over to the high school around noon.
I would always try to show up to the school during 5th period, so I would have some time to prep for my class and observe how my master teacher was running his class. The students in the 5th period class were very used to having me sit in on lectures and experiments with them.
One day, I showed up to school during 5th period (like normal). After locking my bike up, I headed toward the classroom. Now, even though there was a paved route to the room where I taught, the quickest way to get to the room was to walk an unpaved path between two trees.
I was about halfway along the path, between the two trees, when I felt something…
This something was unlike anything I’d ever felt before…
It felt as if someone had just punched me in the back of the head!
Feeling shocked, angered, and defensive, I spun around with my fists up… I was ready to fight!
When I turned, however, there was nobody there.
“Maybe,” I thought, “there was somebody in the parking lot. Maybe someone threw a rock at me. Maybe they were hiding behind one of the cars.”
As I started walking back toward the parking lot to check out what was going on, I felt it again.
Someone… or something hit me in the back of the head… AGAIN!
Furious, I spun back around.
And again… Nothing was there!
Was I being attacked?
Was I imagining this?
Was I going crazy?
“Hello?” I shouted. “Is anyone there?”
Confused, I started making my way back toward the classroom…
And then I saw it!
Out of the corner of my eye…
I looked up in the sky, only to see the silhouette of two long black wings… and two sets of razor-sharp talons…
It was a crow!
And it was coming right at me!
I ran into the classroom, barely closing the door behind me before the crow was able to catch up.
Everyone in the class turned their attention toward me. Seeing that I was covered in sweat, the students began to ask me what happened.
“There’s a bird out there…” I panted, “and it just attacked me!”
After their laughter died down, I told them, “Just you wait! After school, let’s take a look at those trees out there, and I’ll show you!”
Sure enough, when the day ended, a group of about ten students met up with me to see what was going on…
“That’s where it happened,” I showed the kids, pointing to the trees I had walked between.
As we looked closer, I noticed that there was a nest in one of the trees… and there was chirping…
I realized that there must be some chicks in the nest. The crow must have been protecting her young.
Just then, a student walked by us, and began to make his way between the trees.
“Be careful,” I warned, “There’s a bird over there attacking people!”
“Yeah right!” he responded as he continued walking.
And then we all saw it…
The crow that had assaulted me earlier, starting going after the student.
As the kid spotted the bird, he dropped his backpack and took off screaming.
So here’s the deal…
I totally understand why the bird attacked me. It’s perfectly natural for a mother to be protective of her offspring.
But even so…
Ever since that day, I have gone the way of the Maury Povich guest… I have gone the way of Jennifer Aniston…
I am deathly afraid of birds!
Not all birds. I ain’t afraid of no penguins or peacocks. I don’t give an F about a turkey or a duck.
But when it comes to city birds, like pigeons, seagulls, and crows, I just can’t hang. I can’t!
I don’t just hate those birds…
I FEAR THEM!
Now, you know that recently I was able to get over my hatred of eggs, but when it comes to my fear of birds… it’s kind of tough for me. I don’t want to get to a point where I want to pet a pigeon, or give a crow a hug.
What I really want is REVENGE!
Albeit symbolic, I can’t think of a better way to get back at a bird then to shove a can of beer in its body cavity and roast it on my barbecue. So that’s what I did last week…
I present to you, BEER CAN CHICKEN: The Revenge!
I got a 5 pound bird. I rinsed it, dried it inside and out, and rubbed it with "beer can chicken" seasoning... Yes... That stuff exists.
Next, I got a can of Coors Lite and poured half of it out into a measuring cup for later. I put a bunch of holes in the top of the can, sprinkled some of that seasoning into the can, and placed the can in a special "beer can chicken rack" (Yup... Those exist too!).
The next thing I did was to arrange the chicken so it stood upright with the beer can up its butt. To make sure the wings cook evenly, tuck them behind the chicken's back.
Place the chicken on a grill set to indirect heat on medium. Notice the drip pan under the chicken. Only the three burners to the right are on. Shut the lid and check back in an hour or so. Make sure the temperature of the grill settles in between 400 and 500 degrees F.
The nice thing about roasting a chicken is that you’ve got time to chillax while it’s cooking. Kara used this time to make us a nice cheese plate…
Say, "Cheese and Olives!"
And what goes well with cheese?
Gloria Ferrer 2008 Carneros Chardonnay
You got it! Wine!
We picked up the Gloria Ferrer 2008 Carneros Chardonnay the other day while we were tasting at BevMo. The Wine Enthusiast gave the ’07 vintage a 90. For ten bucks, it’s one of the few actual deals there. Here’s the breakdown…
Color: A beautiful golden yellow.
Nose: Baked apple. Pear. Guava. Delicious.
Taste: There’s this great lime fruit acidity that lingers and dances on the tongue. The acidity is balanced out with an oaky vanilla creaminess and green apple fruit.
Score: This wine is a steal and a half. Buy yourself a six-pack, and bring it to your next wine party. Give this crowd-pleaser an 89+.
Back to the dirty bird…
The chicken is ready when the thickest part of the thigh is 180 degrees F. My chicken was ready in about an hour and 20 minutes.
I let the chicken rest on the counter for about 15 minutes while Kara whipped up some horseradish mashed potatoes. The foil tent is to keep the chicken hot and moist. It also fights off cosmic rays.
I cut myself a piece of leg, thigh, and wing. It's plated next to Kara's delicious horseradish mash. Yummy yummy, you big dummy.
Now, you cannot enjoy a dead bird unless you have the perfect wine to go with it…
Paul Jaboulet Aine 2007 Parallele 45 Cotes Du Rhone
The Paul Jaboulet Aine 2007 Parallele 45 Cotes Du Rhone runs for 10 bones at BevMo, but you can find it at hella places. This Cotes Du Rhone is 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah. Check it out…
Color: Deep burgundy.
Nose: This is big and inky, with stinky blackberry and granite.
Taste: Big fruit of blackberry, blueberry, and plum. There’s a great acidity with this one, balanced out with a little graphite and leather. The horseradish potatoes brought the blueberry fruit out in a major way. The fruitiness and acidity of the wine paired nicely with the richness of the bird.
Score: Another gem. Give the Parallele 45 a solid 88+. This is the perfect wine for roasted meats. Keep it in mind for Thanksgiving.
So, you gotta know that I still am afraid of birds.
It still doesn’t mean that I can’t take out a little revenge when necessary…