The Great Meatloaf Cook Off

The three of us walked into this huge room with three mini kitchens. Myself, my Long Lost Cousin, and a mystery contestant, neither my cousin nor I knew this mystery man! He had disheveled hair, deep frown lines and crows feet, a sort of facial nightmare!

We all had our own mini kitchen with high dividers so we couldn’t see each other cooking.

The panel of judges were seated at a long table in front of us. They could see what all of us were doing and we could hear their comments!

We all had our own special meatloaf recipes that had a few ingredients that made them special!

At the start we all had to tell a cooking or food joke.

I was number one and my joke was:

“The two things I cook best are meatloaf and cherry pie.”

My wife said: “Which is this?”

Giggles all around!

My LLC was number two, he said:

“I was picking through the turkeys at the supermart.

I couldn’t find a large one.”

I asked an assistant, “Do these turkeys get any bigger?”

She answered: “No, they don’t, they’re dead!”

Loud laughter from the judges!

The mystery man was number three, he said:

“What’s this on my plate? In case I have to describe it to the doctor!”


We had a half hour to prepare our meatloaf mixtures and one hour to cook it.

One of the judges said:

“Look at number one, he’s mixing his mixture with a large wooden spoon.”

Another said: “Look at number two, he’s mixing with his hands in rubber gloves!”

The third judge said:

“Number three is using a heavy-duty mixer!”

“Well, at least, they’re all different.”

My LLC  said: “I use rubber gloves because I have a phobia about feeling squishy things.”

Laughter from everybody!

The judge said: “Son, you need a therapist!”

When the time was up, we served our dishes for the judges to taste.

The judge asked me: “What ingredients make your meatloaf different?”

“Lots of garlic and Worcestershire sauce!”

Number two said: “I use turkey and sliced mushrooms and jalapeno chopped.”

Number three said: “Lots of black pepper and sour cream.”

All dishes tasted, the judges award went to my LLC, who was beaming from ear to ear!

“Your prize is a pair of monogramed rubber gloves!”

I gave my cousin a big hug.

The mystery contestant walked off in a huff!

Someone said he was a chef of some notoriety!

Pure Fiction And The Pastrami Sandwich

I was in the Newsagent getting my morning paper. All of a sudden the headlines hit me!


The story was in every paper. I bought them all.

The newsagent smiled and said, “I downloaded your book and I will start reading it tonight.”

“Thank you very much. I hope you enjoy it.”

I walked out into the sunshine in a daze. It seemed everyone I passed was smiling at me.


The next thing I knew, I was on a huge stage with the TV cameras trained on me!

A beautiful lady in a long red evening dress was handing me a gold statue. Etched on the base was, “Popular Book Of The Year Award”.

A microphone was put before me and I started  talking:

“Thank you very much for this award. I want to thank everyone who supported my writing. I want to thank my mother and father, my wife, and my Long Lost Cousin, who is my muse.

The auditorium exploded with thunderous applause!

THUD! I opened my eyes and I was lying on the floor by my bed. I must have rolled off in the excitement of my dream!

That pastrami sandwich I had last night must have had a funny effect on me!



NOTE TO MY READERS: “Web of Guilt, A Chicago Story”, is available on Amazon Kindle. DOWNLOAD IT NOW, LETS MAKE THE DREAM A REALITY!

The Corrosive Emotion

Guilt has always intrigued me. How people can torture themselves with guilt. I even wrote a novel about it called, “Web of Guilt”, which I published on Amazon Kindle.

But for this story, I will cite the case of a friend of mine, who I will call Jim.

Jim knocked on my door one night, when I opened the door, he looked absolutely drained!

“I feel terrible, can I come in?”

“Sure, Jim, come in.”

I led him to a comfortable chair and got him and myself a beer.

“What’s the matter, Jim?”

“I have these terrible guilt feelings over my mother’s health,” he said, grimacing and biting his lip.

“Tell me what happened.”

“Well, as you know, I’ve been planning a months holiday traveling around Europe.” Jim was taking deep breaths and staring down at his feet.

He continued: “I told my mother of my travel plans and she said:

“A month away! You know how sick I get if you aren’t around. If you go for a month I could have a heart attack! The doctor told you how weak my heart is!”

“Mother if you take your medication you will be fine.”

“No, I won’t be fine!”

“By now my mother was getting cantankerous!”

“I’ve looked after you for many years and now you are going away for a month. I will die, I know I will!”

“I walked out of my mother’s apartment feeling totally miserable.”

“Are you still going ahead with your travel plans?”

Jim was visibly uncomfortable with that question. He looked pale and he had a haunted look on his face.

“I don’t know what to do. My thoughts are filled with self-loathing.” Jim kept fidgeting in his chair.

“I think you have to stand your ground, Jim. Your mother is attempting to manipulate you with guilt. She will be alright. Make sure she has all the telephone numbers she needs to call for help and that she is as comfortable as possible. And make sure she has all her medication handy.”

“Sometimes, I think if I feel guilty enough, I will be freed of these terrible feelings.”

“Jim, the present moment will still be the same and your guilt is just wasteful activity. Don’t throw your life away because someone makes you feel guilty.”

“So, you think I should go on my trip?”

“Absolutely, why cancel and be miserable? The present moment is the only life you have, the only time you can enjoy and be happy!”

“Okay, I’ll go on my trip. I’m getting fed up with my self-imposed guilt over my mother’s health. I’m feeling bad but the hurting can do nothing to change anything.”

“That’s right. Your mother will use every guilt-producing trick to keep you from living your life. In the end she will respect you for standing your ground.”

A month later, I saw Jim again.

“How was the trip?”

“It was great and I’m planning another one for next year!”


The Masks We Wear

My Long Lost Cousin (LLC) and I went to a local baseball game. Our team was called the Lions. The team had a guy dressed up as a lion as a mascot. The chap in the lion mask growled and scared the children and even some of the adults! I thought this character in the lion mask must get a kick out of being a forceful person. I wondered what he was really like without the mask!

After the game, while my cousin and I were enjoying a beer at our local, my cousin said: “I think I better get a lion mask so I can be bolder and more forceful!”

I smiled.

“Cousin, we all live our lives wearing many masks to cover up our feelings of worthlessness and our inadequacies.”

My cousin screwed his face up like he didn’t believe me. Then he started laughing.

“Wouldn’t if be funny if everyday was Halloween. We could wear our masks and get to know each other before we took our masks off!”

“Well, cousin, we do wear a mask almost all of the time. After a while you don’t know what it is like not to wear one!”

“What scares me is what would happen if all our masks were off! What would be hiding behind them?”

“Right! Who are we really, when the masks come off?”

“Oh cousin, this is like a horror story!”

“True horror is the removal of our masks!”

My LLC had a look on his face like he just saw the Devil!

“We wear many masks every day. One at work, one at home, another with friends and one with strangers. We pretend we’re someone we’re not. Is that right, cousin?”

“Yes, you’re getting the gist of this. There are three basic faces we show to the world. First, there is the person one thinks he is, then the person others think he is, then there is the thing one actually is.”

“That last one, cousin, the one that actually is you, that one is difficult to know.”

“Yes, spot on cousin, there is a great difference between the self that is masked and the deep reality of your inner self.”

“How does all this come about?”

“Well, we start out as empty containers, blank pages, then our parents, teachers and society fill up those containers. So with all this input, who we really are gets covered up!”

“Wow! Cousin, I’ll have to think about how many masks I have!”

“Yes, my dear cousin, the real you is invisible!”

“Do we ever get to see our real selves?”

“Yes, but these moments are rare. There are times when we’re caught off guard, without our masks, and these are moments of sudden revelation. We catch a glimpse of our real selves!”

“So, we do get to peek under the mask once in a while.”

“Yes, cousin, but only on rare occasions, then we return to our masks and we play out the insanity of our lives.”

“Well, cousin, I’ll have to go now.”

And off my LLC went with his bag of masks.

The next day, I went to see the Lions play ball again. The lion mascot was there cavorting on the sidelines. All of a sudden the lion mascot came over to me and took his mask off!