Saturday, July 10, 2010

"Yeah, I know, and such small portions"

Today's my birthday.

No big deal, ordinarily, except that one year ago this same date was so close to being my final birthday — given that I kind of died for a bit that morning during a "routine" heart surgery gone horribly wrong — that you would have made a foolhardy bet to lay down money otherwise. (cf. This blog's first post.)

And yet here I am, pleased to be here, thrilled to be married to a rare woman who was fiercely determined to stare down those odds and slam Death's door so hard you could hear his bony foot crunch in the jamb. I'm here enjoying a (re)birthday with a new appreciation of the expression, "Whoa." Thanks yet again to all of you who were near us (figuratively as well as geographically) through the ensuing weeks and months deep into 2010. It's good to be alive, and many of you are among the reasons why.

Now, after a year the moratorium is up. Having glimpsed The Other Side, I’m finally permitted to tell the truth about it:

It's an enormous mid-range restaurant. Its staff is made up of every god human beings have invented in our own image. In other words, they get to serve us for a change. Its branding slogan: "Have it Yahweh."


The decor is tacky — think Denny's with the orange extending to every horizon — but as tidy and clean as a Carnival Cruise Line lounge. For the most part the service is impeccable. ("Hello, my name is Osiris, I'll be your waiter.") But I swear that when Dakuwaqa, the Fijian shark god, refilled my water glass he copped a bit of an attitude. Fortunately it was Aphrodite's shift and when she saw him do it she dropped his ass into the decorative fish tank near the salad bar.

The menu comes chiseled on two stone tablets, so it’s unwieldy. Nonetheless, I'm here to say that Thor's Grand Slam breakfast is literally awesome on toast, and that Quetzalcoatl can brew one fantastic bottomless pot of coffee. I passed on the daily special — the Prometheus pâté — in favor of Herne the Hunter's all-natural veggie burger, which was a bit dry but helped me carb up for my weeks in a coma. Sadly I wasn't there long enough to try the pizza ("The Passion of the Crust"), but I can testify that Zeus does indeed wash his hands after using the restroom, although I'm thankful for the ceiling fan in there.

Naturally I checked out the juke box. Too much Styx, and evidently Zarathushtra got the rights to his theme song back from Stanley Kubrick. I really dug a new group called Chthonic Youth. But before I could punch in the entire Eric Clapton catalog, I heard Mercury call my name over the loudspeaker. Time to go.

On my way out, I wanted to buy a t-shirt, but the deity at the counter was a Mayan howler monkey god in a bad mood and who could fling something unmentionable with an arm like Cy Young. Damn. I did, however, duck fast and yoinked a fistful of mints from Kali, who was restocking the bowl while simultaneously making change and scrubbing down the counters.