I had to deal with a tragedy here of late. It's been kind of hard for me to deal with emotionally, especially since this is mostly my fault. Guilty conscience and all. Anyway, I had to lay to rest a dear friend.
My grill has finally come to the point where it's no longer practical to use it. Mostly because I set it on fire last week. Totally accidental, I assure you. It's been a constant companion for six years now, so I'm a little sad to see it go. However, the six-year accumulation of grease and fat from all the various food that I've cooked on it was the final doing in of this once noble beast.
The other night, I had some kabobs that I wanted to cook, so I thought I'd put some aluminum foil on the grill, warm it up and then cook until the meat was seared on the outside and then--according to my plans, at least--I was going to yank the aluminum off the grill and then slow cook the meat and vegetables until they = delicious.
So, that was the plan.
I went out, put the aluminum foil on the grill grate, and lit the clean-burning, even-heating propane. Everything was fine. I went inside to get the kabobs ready, as they had been marinating for a couple of hours in the fridge. This task took me all of five minutes. As I was getting ready to take them outside, I looked out the kitchen window.
"Odd," I said to myself, "there seems to be a lot of smoke in the backyard..."
I continued on my merry and blissfully ignorant way. As I came down the steps of the back deck, I looked over at the grill to see smoke and flames billowing out of it. I had, of course, put the lid down on the grill so that the heat would be trapped inside.
"Curious," I said to myself, approaching the bubble of hot air and smoke that enveloped my grill and the porch of the building where it sat, "this should not be happening."
I was bold enough to lift the lid of the grill to find the entire bottom converted into a howling inferno. The voices of the damned screamed forth from the billowing clouds of flame that were erupting from the grill. It seems as though the aluminum foil I had so cleverly put on the grill a few moments before had deflected the heat and flames down, catching the accumulated grease and fat on fire. And when one little bit of that mess caught, the whole fucking thing went up.
"This cannot be good," I said to myself, and quickly turned down the heat, then thought better of it and turned the gas off. The grill continued to burn. I stared at it for a moment, transfixed. Then, suddenly, in the depths of my over-active-imagination, I envisioned a stream of melted, burning fat dripping from the base of the grill down onto the propane tank. My pulse quickened, my breathing grew shallow, adrenaline coursed through my veins.
Certainly--according to my twisted vision of reality, at least--the propane tank was about to go up spectacurlarly. I was going to die.
So, I did what any red-blooded
Frenchman American male between the ages of 32 and 45 would do: I ran for my fucking life! I quickly ducked back into the house where I peeked out at the grill from the window in the living room, as if watching the neighbors partaking in some sordid affair.
"Is dinner ready already?" my wife asked.
"Uh...no," I said, expecting at any moment for the grill to go kaboom!
"What the hell is going on then?" she asked. I explained myself.
Eventually, we stir-fried the kabobs (which required taking them off the skewer, thanks) and they were delicious. And, I'm happy to report that my grill did not detonate. However, if it did, it would have looked something like this:
When I eventually came to reinvestigate the charred, smoking remains of my grill, it was a sad sight. Amazingly, it had burnt hot enough to cause the aluminum foil to fall apart. What wasn't left in shreds in the bottom of the grill had coated the outside of the grate. Everything in the tub of the grill was black, some of it still sizzling, but the burner was much the worst for wear. Rusted and falling apart, I knew then that it was time to bid adieu to my friend, the grill.
Which brings me to the next phase of my life: loving a second grill.
I went to Lowes yesterday because they were having a sale on grills. I got a smaller version (I really don't need three racks as I only ever really used two in my old grill). The lady who unlocked it for me made no bones about how she wasn't going to help my fat ass cart off or load the grill in my car. In fact, I think she actually said "Here." as a means of telling me it was mine. More excellent customer service from America's Home Improvement Headquarters.
Fortunately, it has two wheels so I carted it off to my car, where I realized that it was just that much too wide for the back of my car. However, if I could just angle it...but I couldn't find the right angle.
Then, three angels appeared. Three very Southern, very paint- and sawdust-covered angels. They were angels because, well, one of them was wearing a California/Anaheim/Los Angeles Angels hat. So there.
But, they helped me load the grill in my car, and one of them even went to get some twine so that we could tie everything shut. They were very pleasant, very friendly fellows, and I'm eternally grateful to them. True Southern Hospitality at its finest.
I explained my plight about the burnt grill to the ringleader, a squat and swarthy fellow named Billy. He listened, then got a big grin on his face.
"Jesus, man, don't admit to anyone that you set your grill on fire!" he told me. I laughed and then reminded him that half the fun is telling the story. I thanked them once more, and I was off. I made it home safely, the new grill is in the back yard. I think tonight, I'll have my final send-off for the old grill.
I'm thinking a Viking funeral is the only proper way to send it off.