Alison Berkley: The Princess’s Palate |

Alison Berkley: The Princess’s Palate

Alison Berkley
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

So last night I got to watch home video of My Guy lip synching “Greased Lightnin'” when he was 10 years old.

“See, I told you! He hasn’t changed!” his dad said with a satisfied chuckle, arms crossed as he reclined on the couch.

In addition to the homespun rendition of “Solid Silver,” which included a young MG as host dressed in neon doing his best John Travolta and Michael Jackson impersonations, I got to see other snippets of his upbringing.

The whole time I’m watching these old movies I’m thinking, why didn’t my parents care about me this much? No one took home videos of us, probably because my brother and I were almost seven years apart, not two. So when he was all cute and little and blonde, I was a teenager with frizzy hair, braces and zits who was sneaking around doing the kinds of things you probably don’t want caught on video.

MG’s parents are in town from Minnesota, and so I’m blessed with an even more intimate glimpse into the life and past of this man who literally walked into my life out of nowhere less than three months ago and now I already can’t even remember not knowing him.

Genetics really are an amazing thing, especially when they’re sitting across from you at the dinner table, the same brown eyeballs looking at you through the same insanely thick eyeglasses, laughing at their own jokes and exhibiting the same goofy sense of humor. The good news is the view is pretty damn good from where I’m sitting, what with a sneak preview of what MG might look like 20 or 30 years down the road. Not bad, not bad at all. And the mom is adorable. She’s little and sassy and has a cool haircut and small feet and isn’t afraid to say what she’s thinking. You know, she’s really awesome because she reminds me a lot of another little sassy girl I know who also has size five and a half feet (perhaps Freud was onto something there).

“Oh you can just tell he has good protoplasm,” my mom said when I gave her the full report. Leave it up to Lindarose to break it down into a science project. It’s not about finding the love of your life. It’s all about finding a good gene pool.

See, things weren’t quite the same when I took him to my house.

After bragging for months about how wonderful, successful and bright my brother is, we ended up spending three hours in the car on the drive home from Steamboat listening to him go on and on about how he is going to make millions as a broker for medical marijuana production in California.

“Oh help,” is all my mother had to say about my brother’s new ambitions.

Then my dad decides to read us this article Steve Martin wrote for the New Yorker about drug side effects ” at the dinner table.

On go the goofy reading glasses that he buys in bulk at The Dollar Store. Because his nose has a little slant, the glasses never sit quite right on the end of his beak and so they’re a little bit crooked. He starts reading, and is about one sentence in when he’s so hysterical we can’t make out a word he says. He’s laughing so hard his face is red and he can’t catch his breath and at one point I’m afraid he might die and be frozen like that, with those crooked glasses and tears and this wild, crazy grin.

“Richard, we can’t understand you,” my mom keeps saying. “Put the article away.” But he won’t. Soon we’re all laughing. I’m not sure if we’re laughing with him or at him, but at least now it’s funny.

My brother’s the only one who’s not amused. And I’m the only one who notices when he gets up without a word and leaves the table, I’m assuming to go hide out in the other end of the house and smoke pot.

MG got real quiet on the drive home, which concerned me a little because this is someone who likes the sound of his own voice almost as much as I do. We both talk so much that sometimes I have to punch him in the arm and go, “My turn!” when I want to say something. It’s competitive, but in a good way. Still, I was worried that maybe it was a little too much, him spending that much time with my family.

I suggested maybe listening to three hours of “Legalize It,” coming out of the back seat might have tired him out a little.

“Your brother has a warped sense of reality,” he said when I asked. “But it’s not my place to tell him that.”

So I was able to reassure his dad when he found out the stories MG was telling my parents. Like, about the time his Grandpa George stabbed him in the hand with a fork. Apparently MG had tried to steal a bite of pork off the old man’s plate when he was swiftly put in his place with a weapon waged from an eating utensil.

“Why did you tell them that story? They’re going to think we’re a dysfunctional family!” he said.

“Every family is dysfunctional,” I said.

“We aren’t! It’s our kids who are dysfunctional,” MG’s dad replied, sitting back in the same contented pose he did on the couch, arms folded across his chest, cackling at his own joke.

Though it was clarified that even though the skin wasn’t broken, it was a stab and not a poke and that you should never mess with an Italian man’s food. What’s still unclear is whether protoplasm has anything to do with it or not.

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