Amazingly, in the 15 years I've been blogging, I've only written one previous post about a Larry David moment. That was way back in 2004, "Larry David would be proud of me." Excerpt:
I don’t consciously try to emulate Larry David, but perhaps watching so many episodes of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” is having some kind of subliminal effect on me, amplifying my inherent Larry David tendencies. Last night we had dinner at a Thai restaurant in Silverton with four friends. So it was two vegetarians, Laurel and me, sitting down to dine with four meat-eaters.
Picking up our menus, my vegetarian radar immediately started picking up some nascent danger signals in the casual pre-ordering conversation. “How about if we go family style? Everybody pick a dish and we’ll share.” “Great, that’s a good idea.” “I’m thinking of this beef curry.” “Noodles and chicken, that sounds good.” My future started flashing before me, and it wasn’t pretty, given how hungry I was. Laurel and I were going to order two vegetarian dishes. The other four people would order four meat dishes. So we would get to eat part of two dishes, and everyone else would get to eat part of six dishes.
The Larry David side of Brian began talking, and even worse, out loud, along the lines of, “OK, we vegetarians can go along with family style, just so long as the rest of the family keeps their meat-eating hands out of our tofu dishes. That’s fine, order what you want, dead cows, dead chickens, whatever you want. We’ll make do. I don’t eat eggs, but maybe I can scrape off the proto-chickens from a few lettuce leaves in the egg salad.” And so on in that vein.
After that I pretty much lost track of what people were ordering, since it was by number, not by name. Amazingly, my Larry David schtick paid off. When the waiter brought all the Thai dishes to our table, every single bowl was vegetarian-friendly. A tofu-bonanza, with not a piece of beef, chicken, or fish in sight. I ate like a (vegetarian) pig. I didn’t feel guilty. Am I a bad person? Is Larry David? These are profound questions, not easily answered in a Sunday evening posting, especially since a pre-dinner nap is calling me.
Interestingly, today's Larry David moment at Lifesource Natural Foods here in Salem, Oregon also featured -- not surprisingly, given the setting -- food.
I was perusing the offerings in the Deli section where, for $8.99 a pound, you can buy food prepared by LifeSource staff in the adjoining kitchen. Nothing looked appealing except the potatoes.
LifeSource offers up various sorts of potatoes. My favorite is called Classic Potatoes, because they're simple: oven roasted, I believe, with just salt, pepper, and maybe some other seasonings.
Today's potatoes, though, were named Paprika Potatoes.
They looked good, but I was wary of the unfamiliar name. So I did what I usually do with a LifeSource potato purchase -- I put some in the takeout container, then eat just one bite to confirm that they're as good as I expect them to be.
I should explain that some years ago LifeSource used to have tiny round cups that could be used for sampling. Then they put up a sign that said something like "Ask the kitchen staff if you want a sample." Now I believe the sign is gone, so my only option is to sample from a large takeout container.
In the past I've always liked what I sampled. Except today.
I put a single chunk of Paprika Potatoes in the container, then used my fingers to taste it. Yikes! Too spicy. Not at all like Classic Potatoes.
So it was clear to me that I didn't want to buy the Paprika Potatoes. A lot less clear was what I was going to do with the takeout container, which now contained a smudge in one of the sections where the Paprika Potato sample had rested.
Now, when I told this story to my wife, she said, "I would have thrown the container away." But that option didn't enter my mind. I didn't want to waste the container. I also didn't want to put it back in the stack of takeout containers, even though I'm ashamed to admit the idea briefly occurred to me.
I actually did think, "What would Larry David do?"
He might well, for example, walk over to the kitchen area and say loudly, "Hey, these Paprika Potatoes are so spicy I couldn't stand them. Now I've got a container with a Paprika Potato stain in it. Is it OK if I dump it in the trash? Or do you recycle these things?"
Which, I readily admit, is pretty much just what my wife suggested, minus the talk with the kitchen staff. But my brain came up with a different plan: find some really light food to put in the takeout container.
Looking around, the salad bar caught my eye. Perfect!
I like salads, and salad stuff doesn't weigh very much. So I ended up spending $2.88 to avoid throwing the takeout container away, which, again, I never thought of doing at the time, proving that I'm not really very Larry David-like, since I was so concerned about LifeSource staff seeing me dump the container in a trash bin.
Anyway, I just finished eating the salad, which was tasty. And the takeout container is now in our trash -- along with the tell-tale Paprika Potatoes remnant in the upper left hand corner.
Next time I'm unsure whether I'll like a LifeSource potato offering, putting a small piece on a napkin might be the easiest taste-test approach. Except now that I think about it, napkins and utensils are kept near the front of the store, not near the Deli area (probably to keep people like me from doing what people like me want to do when they want to taste a deli dish).
Geez. Life is complicated. Especially if you've got a mind that thinks sort of like Larry David's.