OK, so your child isn’t running through the house naked with scissors in one hand and fireworks in the other. Does that make you Parent of the Year, or barely above the neighbors calling DFS? There’s no way to know for certain since parents aren’t graded. As parents, we can only try our best and hope that our children thank us one day. By thanking us, I mean in a Nobel Prize acceptance speech, and not for turning them into a mass murdering monster when they address a jury during sentencing.
Recently, I came face to face with the harsh reality that I might, indeed, be well on my way to not being thanked one day. The revelation was jarring and unsettling. People, sit down right now. You will not believe this. It has just come to my attention that my son has not had Spam or sloppy joes ever. I am covered in shame. Might as well hand him some cherry bombs and tell him to go crazy.
Made from pork scraps and other meat-like products, loaded with preservatives, and shelf stable for about 600 years, Spam is the ultimate in comfort food. If it was good enough for Cold War Americans to line the shelves of their bomb shelters, it’s good enough for me. I’ve had Spam in almost every way imaginable. Not only is it a tasty treat, it’s also entertaining. Who doesn’t love to open a can of Spam, tip it over and wait for the gelatinous splat when it hits the plate? That’s why it seems inconceivable to me that my son has never even tried it.
Growing up with three brothers, sloppy joes were a staple. Mom would fix a giant cauldron of the magic meat, place the buns nearby, and then step back and watch the show. Think hungry piranhas on a wounded fish and you’ll have the general idea. Quick, cheap, and yummy – I’m getting hungry just thinking about it. Not only am I hungry, I’m mad. I don’t want sloppy joes, I deserve sloppy joes, and so does my son.
No Spam. No sloppy joes. That is un-American and inexcusable. I blame my wife, always trying to force fruits and veggies on us, encouraging us to watch the sugar and sodium, insisting that the foods we eat are fresh and not highly processed. If I find out my son has tried kale and hasn’t had sloppy joes, we may have a domestic incident on our hands. I do not want my son growing up communist, or worse, a vegetarian.
It is time for me to improve my parenting grades, renew the man card, and insist that barely indigestible, highly questionable foodstuffs be served at my table. Maybe I plan the menu for tomorrow’s dinner. To start, we’ll have cubed Spam on saltines for appetizers, followed by sloppy joes with a side of baked Spam topped with extra sloppy sauce for the main course. Chocolate yoo-hoo would be a good choice to help us wash all of it down. For dessert, pudding-filled chocolate long johns with a bacon maple glaze, of course.
Parents aren’t graded, but that meal is a doctoral thesis in wholesome Americana and would surely earn an “A” - an “A” for awesome.