Makin’ Bacon (excerpt from “A Little Off The Top”) by Tom Sumner

Makin’ Bacon (excerpt from “A Little Off The Top”) by Tom Sumner

Saturday, 07 May 2016
Blog Posts

I love bacon.

I don’t even mind makin’ bacon.

Makin’ bacon” used to be (for some) a euphemism for having sex. I love that too. The sex – not the euphemism.

Now that I’m over 50, according to some, I should probably be watching my diet – which translates to avoiding bacon. But I’m not the e.e. cummings type that could make a meal out of “pomegranates and a dead fish.”

I smoke heavily and have no immediate plans to stop. I mention this for two reasons.

One is to acknowledge that I might as well enjoy the bacon. The other is to say goodbye to some of my favorite restaurants.

Most recently I’m saying adios to La Azteca, one of my favorite Mexican eateries. This is because of the over-reaching authority of the bow-tied head of Genesee County’s Health Department and the increasing number of places where smoking is banned.

I realize that the increasing squeeze on smokers is a national tragedy for human rights and dignity – but I’m offended that this little local Nazi does it wearing a bow tie. Didn’t they pretty much go out with “Howdy Doody” and smoking in hospitals by Doctors and Nurses as well as the patients?

If there are any three places where smoking should always be allowed, they are hospitals, airplanes and anywhere I want to hang out for a little while.

But this is bacon Sunday. On Sundays I enjoy making bacon. Take that anyway you’d like. But for now I’m talking about the breakfast food taken form pork bellies.

When my daughter Adison was living with me, Sunday was bacon day. Dad (me) would cook a pound of bacon. Adi and I would eat it – all – almost as fast as it would come out of the pan. Sometimes we even had eggs and pancakes and some of the other breakfast sides that often accompany a healthy portion of bacon.

Lately I’ve started having very large glasses of orange juice with my bacon. And I mean very large glasses of orange juice – not the little thimbles full you get in restaurants and breakfast huts.

I still observe bacon Sunday. It usually means that I will make and eat a pound of bacon, stay in my pajamas all day, and watch some silly television marathon on one of the networks for old people like me.

Now that I’m a little older cooking bacon is a real adventure.

I’ve heard it said that a real man can fry bacon with no shirt on. I am too old for that shit. Give me a hazmat suit. In fact I wear my reading glasses – not just so I can see – but to serve as goggles to protect my eyes.

The last time I cooked bacon it was popping so much it sounded like gunfire – or 4th of July fireworks. Scalding grease was flying in all directions. At one point I had to shield myself around the corner of the kitchen doorway to keep from getting 1st and 2nd degree burns.

I like the idea of trying to find a way of cooking bacon that doesn’t make the kitchen greasy – I hate to have to clean it up. And, of course it would be nice to find a way to cook bacon that doesn’t involve pain.

I’ve tried alternate ways of cooking bacon. But I’m very particular about how the bacon should turn out. I am (what Madame X, one of the former Mrs. Me’s, would refer to as) a bacon snob.

I’ve tried the microwave, the oven and buying it already cooked. But nothing works as good as my special method.

My special method is basically to put bacon in a frying pan over high heat and when the smoke detectors go off – it’s time to turn it.

Turning it is the tricky part. I approach the pan like I’m moving toward a crack-

head with a gun. But I still get blasted every time.

Many people try to imagine how they will die. I’ve heard some say they want to “die in the saddle.” For some that’s a euphemism for “makin’ bacon.”

I like the idea of that – but it seems kind of rude to the person you’re “makin’ bacon” with. They will probably have a Hallmark card for that by time I go.

I expect my “check out time” isn’t for a long time yet. But here’s how I imagine it will be.

I will be alone celebrating something – perhaps my birthday – in the low 100’s. I’ll live in an apartment not quite as nice as the one I have now with a “No Smoking – Oxygen in Use” sign on the front door – which I will routinely ignore.

The place explodes into a huge fireball and a crowd gathers outside. (A crowd always gathers when stuff blows up.)

The crowd of people is mostly silent except for two people near the front who start a little dialogue.

Rubber-necker #1: “Did you know him?”

Rubber-necker #2: “Yeah. I knew something like this would happen. See that sign? He smoked anyway.”

Rubber-necker #1: “Is that what caused the explosion? He was smoking and the oxygen blew up?”

Rubber-necker #2: “No. The old fart was makin’ bacon.”

Rubber-necker #1: “Aww. That’s too bad. I hope he died with his boots on.”

Rubber-necker #2: “BOOTS!? The idiot wasn’t even wearing a shirt.”

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