When I was new to LA after matriculating in Ohio, going out was a way of life. I was young and naïve and the Sunset Strip was just a few blocks away. Going out on the town was the best, and the worst. And being a young single guy, the winter holiday season was always filled with festive nights out filled with no shortage of flowing beverages and hors d’oeuvres. I remember one particular New Years Eve spent with a group of pals at a spicy cantina called Senorita’s. Back then my patience for crowds was thick and my stomach was eager to sample my newly discovered passion for Mexican cuisine. Those nights, and their subsequent mornings after, weren’t as painless as in college, but were still manageable for a youngish dude. Perhaps that’s because that era, around the turn of the millennium, was when I began seeking comfort with a tasty little pink darling who was always ready and waiting for my call, morning, noon or night.
Now, years later, I’m older and wiser. There’s no chance I’d go to a Hollywood joint like Senorita’s (RIP) on New Years Eve. Clubs, lines and unnecessary crowds are as foreign to me now as babysitters, Nick Jr. and the Valley were to me then. Hell, there’s minimal chance I’d go anywhere on NYE without a great reason, like being invited to drop the ball at midnight from Mars.
As of a few years ago, likely coinciding with becoming parents, Mrs. Dude and I adopted a low-key approach to the New Years holiday. We usually have a family activity during the day (i.e. something that will wear the kids out and make them want to go to bed early) followed by Mrs. Dude’s famous Appetizer Dinner as our oxymoronic main course.
Every December 31st now, as our oven readies an array of bubbling oozy mozzarella sticks, fried mushrooms that erupt like a volcano when you bite into them, crunchy chewy taquitos AND my wife’s famous homemade pigs in blankets, I can feel my stomach percolating in eager anticipation of the fiesta it’s about to ingest-a. And with each passing year, I tell myself that I can still down this stuff like I did 20 years ago in my off-campus apartment on any given Tuesday night a mere 6 hours before a big exam. The truth is I realize that I need a head exam to think I can make it through this big tasty night without a wingman by my side. So I look back to that little pink lady who’s always been there for me through both good times and stuffed crust pizza: Pepto-Bismol.
Unlike the comparative ease of my college and mid-20’s adventures, I now face New Years with a new crew and my Little Dudes don’t show the same mercy my professors usually did. I have to be up and ready to move on January 1st long before noon, sadly, on some family adventure or another. That means I don’t have time for my digestive tract to go on strike from our previous night’s holiday excess, relatively low key as it may have been. So I keep a bottle of the classic pink tummy-fixer elixir chilling’ in the fridge, ensuring that I’m always ready to counterattack my intestinal distress, call it Mozzarella’s Revenge, caused by my exposure to a few of my favorite things*, head on. Plus, if I’m not home, I can carry chewables in my pocket, making it even easier to stop the need to go when I’m on the go.
*Speaking of my favorite things, unlike virtually every third other person in LA, I don’t fancy myself a songwriter, but the memories conjured while writing this post and some seasonal movie watching inspired me to pen some alternate lyrics to a classic tune from one of my wife's favorite movies about singing Austrian families. Thanks to Pepto-Bismol whose #PinkRelief helps me avoid being a self-induced member of the Von Crapp family, and for more Merry Poopins.
Here's a little poem I wrote, to the tune of one of my favorite songs:
Fresh fried veg-tables with dips straight from Ranches
Taste great but cause me belly ava-lanches
Bubbling hot pizza dripping with oil
Makes my chest feel like it’s going to boil
Buttered hot pretzels are a wonderful lot
But usually tie my gut in a big salty knot
Holidays lead to delicious binges
Rescued by Pepto with its bright pink tinges…
I was compensated for this post, but all opinions contained within are entirely mine, for better or worse, like the fact that mozzarella sticks might be the greatest food ever invented.