This column originally appeared in The Jambalaya News on May 31,2012. It was awarded 5th place in the HumorPress.com writing contest for the 1st Quarter of 2013.
by Mike McHugh
If there’s one passion that is shared by guys the world over, it’s barbecuing. Ever since our prehistoric male ancestors discovered fire, we’ve taken great pleasure in the act of tossing a huge hunk of meat over an open fire and roasting it to perfection, or, often, beyond, to the point where we’d just as well feast on the charcoal.
When you think about it, it’s puzzling how guys are so taken to the art of grilling. Many of these guys would never even think about going into an actual kitchen. No, they would not even be aware that their house had a kitchen, if it were not for the refrigerator where the cold beer is stored. Even so, they have no idea that the kitchen is equipped with other major appliances, particularly a sink or a dishwasher. They might sometimes become aware of the stove, but only in the wake of a major grease fire where the smoke is so bad that they can’t find the refrigerator.
The only possible explanation for guys’ fascination with the barbecue pit is that it gives them a good excuse to play with fire. In fact, this is why, no matter the size of their current grilling rig, they are always looking for something that will burn bigger, brighter, and hotter. The Manhattan Project began as a quest by few scientists, who happened to be guys, to find a quicker way to grill a hamburger.
So, you may believe that grilling is closely associated with man’s propensity for warfare, but nothing can be further from the truth. In fact, the love of grilling, being how it is shared among guys of all nations, has the potential to be a great unifying force. It is mankind’s one great hope for world peace. It actually goes beyond that, as there is no reason to believe that males throughout the cosmos do not share this enthusiasm with us Earth guys. If we were ever invaded by aliens, all we would have to do is fire up the grill and ice down a few Lone Stars. By instinct, the alien guys would feel compelled to grab a fresh hunk of space kill from their craft and toss it on the grate. If we’re lucky, they’d also haul out an ice chest stocked with premium Centauran microbrews and line the Lone Star bottles up along the fence for target practice with their laser guns.
I believe that if the Japanese had developed better skills with the spatula and tongs, they might have never felt the need to attack Pearl Harbor. Their prehistoric ancestors must have been late in discovering fire. This is the only reason I can fathom for the invention of sushi.
So you see, the real reason that our world suffers from so much armed conflict is due to the inequality of barbecuing skills among nations. If only the barbecue-rich nations would share their technology and resources with the barbecue-poor, we would have little need for armies. Do you think I’m kidding? Well, how do you think Jimmy Carter was able to broker a peace deal between Israel and Egypt—at the time the most hated of enemies? Simple, he summoned their respective leaders over to Camp David, where he showed them both how to properly cook a brisket.
Of course, Jimmy Carter was from the South, right smack in the heart of the Barbecue Belt. It stretches from Atlanta to Austin and contains the world’s largest proven reserves of charcoal fuels such as mesquite, oak, and hickory. It’s the real reason why Lincoln fought so hard to preserve the Union. He feared that otherwise, he might never again taste a decent rack of ribs.
I thought that I knew my way around a barbecue grill when I first came here from Yankee Land, but I was in for a rude awakening. The old reliable Weber of which I was so fond was but a tea candle compared to my neighbors’ big rigs, some of which looked like they were delivered on the backs of 747’s.
Of all the impressive devices contrived by the hands of men, it is these that give us the greatest hope for world peace. All we need do is amass them together at a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, and they will soon have their countries beating their swords into spatulas.
Come to think of it, all we really need to do is invite them to an LSU tailgate.