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Renegade Chef: Life is like a fine whine

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I have been accused of being a negative person on more than one occasion. For instance, if I complain about the weather someone will no doubt label me as a whiner.

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“We need the rain,” they might say, or “What are you talking about? Ten consecutive days of 40-below-zero makes the lakes safer to drive on.”

It also makes one’s blood freeze. Besides, I didn’t make it onto the lake in the summer when the water was warm, so why in blue blazes would I want to drive a pickup loaded with a cord of firewood (for traction) onto the lake in the middle of winter?

If I tell someone I’m sick, they might think I’m a hypochondriac, or a big baby or that it’s all in my head, which is probably true, especially in the sinus area – so I sneeze in their face. It’s not whining — it’s called “honestly expressing reality.” When I see that same person the next day and they tell me they’re sick, I can say “Of course you are — I sneezed in your face.” Or I could say, “The Black Plague wiped out half the population of Europe—consider your self lucky.” If they sneeze, I would respond with a simple “Bless you,” in a whining, negative sort of way, of course.

You see, I’m not a grumpy old man, a furry-browed Andy Rooney. I don’t take great pleasure in raining on people’s parades, even though we need the rain. If I order a rare steak at a restaurant and it arrives on fire, incinerated to the marrow, I simply tell the server “Everything is fine,” even though I can’t push a single bite of the $30 piece of charcoal down my gullet. The server then goes into the kitchen and tells the chef “The guy at table seven didn’t even touch his steak — what a negative whiner. And then the curmudgeon left me a crummy 22 percent tip — talk about raining on my parade!”

I hold doors open for burly lumberjacks, as well as the elderly. I would risk killing myself and every passenger in the car, swerving to avoid smashing a squirrel. I smile and say “hello” to strangers I pass in the streets — mainly because it scares them, which is pretty funny, except for the times mace is involved.

The grass is pretty darn green on my side of the fence — a positive attitude, don’t you think? Although, it does need mowing. The lawn isn’t any greener on the other side of the fence, though it is mowed — and they have a pool — and their house is much nicer.

So, in vague summation — there are people, like me, who seem to be stereotyped, generalized and labeled as a bunch of negative, unhappy, manic-depressive whiners. And I’m sick of it.

Is it my fault that it is so difficult to get a properly cooked steak in a restaurant I’m compelled to write a thesis entitled, “Beef Charred Rare: an Endangered Species”?

Is it my fault the long spells of cold rain, sleet and snow we’ve been blessed with in late October and early November have chilled me to the point all I can think about is setting myself on fire – or at least drinking lots of hot chocolate?

Am I to be arrested for punching that annoying guy who keeps telling me we need MORE rain?

The Vikings are putrid—I suppose I’m to blame for that as well. The fact that I’m one of the many unfortunate souls who happen to be loyal fans of the worst team in the NFL has caused me to spiritually alter my hot chocolate recipe.

Oh well, at least the Timberwolves and the Wild are doing well—though I hate the NBA. I don’t like the NHL either—or hockey in general, for that matter. In fact, I really don’t like this time of year.

But still, I remain positive—as long as you don’t tell me “we need the rain.”

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