Thursday, December 29, 2005

Back In C-Town For The Holidays


I’ve just returned from a week back home in my native Cleveland. It was pretty magical. As holidays go however, I pretty much drank and ate nonstop and am now considering several cosmetic procedures to quickly rectify the situation. Or I might just go for a long walk or something. Also, being home for a week and all, it still wasn’t enough time to see everyone I wanted to see and do all the things I wanted to do, especially since it had been a year since my last visit. Still, I managed to squeeze in a fair amount of mayhem while I was there.

The excitement started last Wednesday when I boarded a plane for Cleveland from the popular Newark airport. Earlier in the day I had a meeting in the Big City that concluded with the person that I was meeting with giving me a cheesecake from Junior’s, the popular Brooklyn restaurant that is pretty much famous for being awesome at making cheesecakes. Recently, I read an essay written by an old friend from grade school who decided to leave behind life as a lawyer and start a cake business after he baked a cake for his family and met them at JFK airport for a visit (you can go here and find out a whole lot more about that). Apparently people freaked out the whole time he was walking around with that cake of his and that’s when he knew that he was onto something. Now he is like the king of cake or some sh*t, which is pretty cool if you ask me.

I found that walking around with a big cheesecake stirs up similar excitement in people. “Mmmm, cheesecake!,” some would say. “I’m sorry, we can’t let you take that cheesecake on the plane- you’re gonna have to leave that with us,” the airport security guys said before giving me a wink that suggested that not only were they just kidding but that the also really, really like cheescake. I gave them a look back that suggested that I really appreciated their love of cheesecake as well as their fun-loving attitude while on the job, something that we just don’t see often enough since terrorists tried to rob us of our freedom a few years ago. Then they asked me to take off my shoes.

After a while though, the endless cheesecake comments started to get kind of annoying. “I get it- you really like cheesecake. We all do. Now go fuck yourself,” I wanted to say. I almost threw the thing in the trash just so people would leave me alone. In the end, however, I was glad I brought the cheesecake all the way back to my parents’ house as they seemed to enjoy it. And to their credit, they were just like “Oh, how nice. Yeah, cut me a small piece” and had a slice or two. They didn’t get all bent out of shape about it. They’re cool like that.

Other excitement while I was home included going to the Schvitz, the exciting Russian bath house in Cleveland that has been there for like 80 years or something and is so not gay it’s not even f*cking funny so stop thinking I was sneaking off for some man-love while I was home for the holidays (Yeah, I know, not that there’s anything wrong with that). My first visit to the Schvitz was with my friend Phil and the entire male portion of the Morrissey family- Jim, Mike, Neil, Dan, Ricky, Sergio, Dante, and Chuck- and then some friends of theirs on top of all that. It was nice to see my friend Phil’s balls after all this time. Aside from the steam, beers, good conversation, and thick steaks, seeing Phil’s sweaty balls is something I count on with every Schvitz visit.

I had so much fun with my first visit to the Schvitz of this holiday season that I decided to make an impromptu visit with my sister’s boyfriend a few days later. It was the first time I had ever been there without my friend Phil, so I was a little nervous and all, but things turned out okay. I didn’t look at my sister’s boyfriend’s balls though. We’re just not there yet. We did have thick steaks and a few beers though, and we both seemed to enjoy that.

On the Christmas front, I mostly hung out with my family and watched my nephews Eamon and Blake play with the remote control dinosaurs that my sister got them. They were pretty psyched. Unfortunately however, the sweatshirts I got them went largely unnoticed in the wake of remote control dinosaurs. Those little bastards.

On Christmas Eve, we all went to mass at the church up the street from my parents’ house. Since it’s so close and all, we walked. On the way, we saw skunk crossing the street and almost get hit by a Volkswagen (a Passat, I think). Since almost getting hit by a Volkswagen can be a pretty traumatic experience whether you’re a skunk or not, the skunk in question decided to let loose with a bit of skunk juice as those things tend to do when they feel threatened and whatnot. Even though we were about twenty yards away from the skunk at the time, the blast was still potent enough to make us all smell of skunk by the time we got to church. It was kind of nasty yet charming in its own way. Being Christmas and all, the people around us seemd to let it slide. God bless us, everyone. Or something like that.

Other Cleveland excitement included meeting my friends Pat and Jennifer’s one year-old twins (fraternal) Sophia and Natalie, who are pretty awesome and baby-like in general, and my friends Desiree and Tony’s new little fella Joseph, who is instant good times. I also had fun going to my friend Mark’s new bar, Bier Markt, which specializes in Belgian beers, the popular beverage that for some reason make me want to wrestle people (I think it’s the lack of filtering or something).

Finally, I managed to squeeze in a little ice skating with my family. That’s a picture of my nephews Eamon and Blake above (Don't worry- they are not handicapped. Those little walker things just help them learn to skate. They are just getting started. It's not like they're pussies or anything). They are four and are just adapting to life on ice. Even though their Canadian blood has been diluted by the fact that my brother and sister each married full-on Americans- causing Blake and Eamon to be a mere 1/8 Canadian as opposed to the full 1/4 status that my siblings and I have enjoyed all these years- Blake, Eamon, and my niece Anna are doing pretty well out there. Watch your ass, Boitano. Ha, that is a joke suggesting that some day my niece and nephews will become so accomplished at skating so as to threaten the Olympic great.

Dave Hill

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