Mom, Why Can’t We Eat Normal Food


The family of four sit at the dining room table. Yes, the family of four. Did you forget about Rupert, Vinnie’s stuffed grizzly bear? Rupert gets to sit on the dining room table instead of the seat because he’s not tall enough to see over the edge of the table. Dexter, the family dog, lies on the floor next to Vinnie. Beagles are very savvy about choice spots near tables. Not only will food accidentally fall off the table near Vinnie, Vinnie will sneak food he does not want to eat to Dexter. Dexter, like all beagles, operates on a non discrimination policy toward table scrapes. He’ll eat anything, cooked, uncooked, overcooked, or tainted with salmonella. 

Vinnie’s mom glances at Vinnie, “Vinnie, you haven’t touched your dinner. What’s wrong?”

Vinnie’s dad is thinking, wrong question but doesn’t say anything.

Vinnie says, “I don’t dare eat it. I’m sure it’s poison. Did Mrs. Navis give you the recipe?”

“Vincent, it is a very healthy meal. I made it in the instant pot Dad got me for my birthday,” says Vinnie’s mom.

“Mom, don’t blame Dad. At least he didn’t go to Home Depot to buy your birthday present.”

“Vinnie, don’t go there,” says Vinnie’s dad.

“Where, Dad?”

I fell into it and I should have seen it coming, thinks Vinnie’s dad.

Vinnie’s mom says, “I’m not sick and I’ve been eating it. Everything in it is healthy. It has cauliflower, green peas, potato, curry, cilantro. …”

“Mom, why can’t we eat normal food like everybody else?” asks Vinnie.

“Dear will you handle this, I can’t seen to get through,” says Vinnie’s mom touching Vinnie’s dad’s forearm.

“What, Mom? What can’t you handle? Do you need Rupert and Dexter and me to help? Dad looks confused,” says Vinnie.

“Vincent, eat half the plate and I’ll microwave an instant bean and cheese burrito for you.”

“Do I have to eat half, Mom? Can Dexter help me? He’ll eat anything,” says Vinnie negotiating his way through dinner. 

Vinnie’s mom looks at Vinnie’s dad, “Dear, you’re enjoying your meal, right? Tell Vincent this meal will help him to grow up and be big and strong like you.”

“Dad’s not too strong, Mom. He doesn’t have any guns,” says Vinnie trying to flex and eight-year old bicep.

“I do too, have guns,” says Vinnie’s dad flexing his bicep and looking down at a long sleeved white shirt.

“Where is it, Dad?” asks Vinnie.

Vinnie’s mom enjoys this bit of repartee. 

“It’s under my shirt. If I was wearing a short sleeved shirt, I’d be stretching out the sleeves with my guns,” says Vinnie’s dad.

Vinnie’s mom starts laughing. She pushes back from the table, gets up and says I’ll make your bean and cheese burrito. I want to see half your serving gone by the time I return.”

Vinnie’s dad is still flexing his bicep. He glances at Vinnie who’s watching him, “I’m going to tone my biceps and give them definition. I’ll start working with weights later tonight.”

“Good idea, Dad. Did I hear an email come in on your iPhone?” says Vinnie.

Vinnie’s dad turns his iPhone over and opens the email app and starts scrolling through his unread emails. Vinnie takes his plate and tilts it toward Dexter. Dexter never ate Indian food, but he’s a risk taker as far as food is concerned. He cleans up half the plate in a matter of seconds. Vinnie sets the plate on the table.

Vinnie’s mom returns with the bean and cheese burrito. She sees Vinnie’s half empty plate. “Well done, Vinnie. How was it?”

Vinnie says, “Mom, you’re a good cook, can I have my bean and cheese burrito? Can I give the rest to Dexter?”

“Okay, but let’s not spoil him into thinking he can eat from the table.”

Vinnie takes his plate, twists in his seat, bends over and sets the plate on the floor. Dexter gives Vinnie an adoring beagle eye look and sets off to finish what he started.

Fifteen later, “Vinnie’s mom says, “What’s that awful smell?”

Vinnie says, “I better let Dexter out in the backyard, Mom. Watch where you step later.”

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