November 05, 2005

My Straight Flush

A gusty, overcast morning, but take a shower and get some clothes on and it’s already clearing, not a storm front but just the usual overnight deception. I woke up in a suddenly wider bed, my spouse, Agent 61, having flown to Palm Springs to give a presentation at a conference, the groves of Academe in this case consisting of palm trees amid an archipelago of golf courses. She’s already zipped off to Joshua Tree National Park, which she reports looks a lot like our Big Bend, then checked in to the spa hotel resort where she’s staying, ate at an endless seafood buffet which also included steak and prime rib, and promenaded downstairs to the casino to watch three-card poker, cocktail in hand. Such is the life of a scholar! The old geezer sitting beside her burst out in a cry of celebration, holding up his cards: “I was looking at this pretty lady’s face and look what I got!” A straight flush.

That’s the way I feel too.

Meanwhile the boys and I – Agents 95 and 97 and me – spent the evening laughing and laughing and laughing over the rarest of treats -- Hungry Man TV dinners -- because we rented a volume of FAMILY GUY and watched four episodes in unbroken succession. That series is our new retrospective passion: last week we rented the movie STEWIE GRIFFIN: THE UNTOLD STORY, which apparently was never released in theaters and is unrated, for good reason. It’s highly recommended for parents of mature preteens, who don’t mind their kids’ being exposed to the most hilarious uninhibited filth. Ever since, all three of us have been going around imitating Stewie, the diaper-clad infant prodigy who speaks in a British accent as he plots world domination. Unaccountably finding himself born into a family of dorks in Rhode Island who are owned by a martini-drinking, barroom-philosopher pet dog, Stewie possesses a perfect repertoire of stage Britishisms: “Blast! What the deuce!” The episode CHITTY CHITTY DEATH BANG (Season 1, Disc 1, Episode 3) is notable for its long flashback of Stewie in the womb, map in hand, planning his escape – and of his earlier assault on the egg, staged as a STAR WARS fighter-plane sequence.

Later today we might go to the park where, if my intuition is correct, Agent 97 and I will toss a football back and forth while Agent 95 rides circles around us and then reads a book, all the while actually inhabiting a science-fiction universe of superpowered combat. We might eat dinner at Culver’s, the Wisconsin-born burger chain that surprisingly has two outlets in Austin, the kids getting root beer floats and me filling up with memories of eating at the original Culver’s on Highway 12 in Sauk City in the mid-80s, a time when I held a different straight flush, clumsily lost the pot, and then miraculously came up with an almost identical hand.