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Off with Masks? On with Pants?

By Steve Eskew

'Tis time to mingle among each other again. Time to grab our pants. Time to step away from our computers and dance on out the door — if our pants still fit. 

Self-isolation? Talk about a blessing and a curse.

Last year, my brother Skip’s far larger but much younger live-in girlfriend, Hortetta, decided that the pandemic would be an excellent opportunity for them to isolate — from each other. Permanently.

Though head over heels in love with his money, Hortetta had become horrified by the very thought of constant companionship with Skip himself. She feared that trapping herself with his company 24/7 would surely force her to kill him. A win-lose result since she was not in his will.

As a guy who’s also been head over heels in love with Skip’s money for decades, I can bigly dig her greedy attraction. And, after decades of sibling friction, I can equally fathom her fantasy of killing him. 

Ah, just kiddin.’ Bro. Skip’s idiosyncrasies don’t exactly justify manslaughter, I guess. Let’s just say his irksome quirks often arise like gnats in our faces. Raid, please!

For example, Skip, an ancient kid at heart, still loves playing with his food. When he eats a Snickers bar, he slices it into horizontal halves, producing two long, thin candy bars. Then he places each bar  between saltine crackers, creating a yucky candy bar sandwich.

Skip eats soup with a fork. Yup, he solidifies the soup by crumbling a deluge of crackers into his bowl. 

Furthermore, because of his belief that sugar cuts the acid in tomatoes, Skip sprinkles a sinful amount of sugar on such dishes as chili, goulash and chicken cacciatore — a practice that’s Illegal in 14 countries.  

Skip has actually thrived on Hortetta’s absence and has amused himself for over a year with a whole new lease on lunacy. 

He’s developed a disturbing fidelity to his inflatable woman. Even worse: he’s become a virtual menace by his deranged dabbling in the culinary arts. Oy. He’s even attracted an online cult following.

Imposing his long-held insane theories, he assaults food, using sugar, sugar, sugar as a weapon. Consequently, like other pandemic isolators, he’s not only kept his bonny body, but added so much to it. Yup, post-pandemic, there’s way more of my baby bro to adore. 

Hurrah! His weight gain hails glee into my being. When I was  a chubby child, Skippy, with a dimple for a tummy, tortured me with unmerciful fat taunts.

Now, it’s my turn.

At first, Skip justified his incessant nibbling while cooking by paraphrasing one of Erma Bombeck’s lines — calories don’t count if you’re standing up as you ingest them. Erma was joking. Skip actually swallowed that claim and swelled up three sizes.

Since we’ve always been best buds, he knows my caustic comments are not mean-spirited, just a sugary sweet revenge dish served piping hot.

Therefore, when Skip and I Skyped, I urged him to enroll at a fat farm retreat. Then I wickedly recited one of his own fat jokes from my chubby childhood: “Egads, Skippy! The fat farm’s a must. You’re beginning to look like a mother kangaroo — with everybody at home, ha, ha, ha.”

The Skype screen went blank.

Update: Bracing for his scheduled fat farm retreat, the Skipper is grazing on lettuce and choking down Melba toast. 

I’ve secretly been on that same damn diet for decades — just to maintain my weight — even during the pandemic. Ah, but for once in my life, I’m thinner than my formerly dimple-tummied baby brother.

Yesterday, just to be a rascal, I Skyped Skip during my snack time. 

Starved to practice politically incorrect comedy once again, I said, “Ya know, Buddy? Pigging out actually becomes you. Your fat pushes the wrinkles out, ha, ha, ha. 

“Seriously Baby Bro, your weight gain has given me a break from self-deprecating humor writing. I’m inspired to resume my insult comedy act.”

“You — you skinny beast! Eating in front of me. Making insults between lip-smacking bites. That’s double torture! I’m telling mother,” he wailed. “What are you gobbling down anyway?”

I was actually munching on a kumquat, but I lied: “Mmmm. I’m devouring Rocky Road. With crackers crumbled on top, abundantly sprinkled with sugar.”

The Skype screen went blank. 

Hmmm. Evidently Skippy’s making a store run to replenish his panty? I hope he found pants he can still squeeze into, heh-heh. 

God will get me for my unbrotherly zingers, ya know. I’ll probably gain 50 pounds — if I’m lucky. 

— Steve Eskew

Thank God liberal arts courses are so easy. Even retired businessman Steve Eskew received a pair of master’s degrees in both dramatic arts and communication studies from the University of Nebraska at Omaha after he turned 50. When asked to take over a professor’s theater column at The Daily Nonpareil in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Steve began a career as a quasi-journalist. Narrowly by the luck of the Irish, this led to numerous publications including theater and book reviews, profiles and Steve’s favorite genre, humor writing. Check out his new humor blog, ESKEWPADES.

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