CHEAP EATS Dear Earl Butter,

As it turns out, the whole purpose of Mardi Gras is to catch beads. There are also little plastic cups and stuff, but what I want is a football. I want to make a leaping spinning catch, like a halftime Frisbee dog, bring it on home, lay it at Coach’s feet, and pant.

Do you think she will pat me on the head?

Do you think she will let me play in the season opener (this weekend!) even though I’ve missed every single practice since training camp?

I don’t know.

She texted me yesterday to ask how my lesbianism was coming along. I said, We’re at a parade, recording the crowd and the sounds of feet, and taking pictures of the childerns. I said I was trying real hard to catch a football for her, but so far … beads.

She expressed her disbelief (which I share) that I was ever even thinking of France over Mardi Gras. Then she texted again and said, for clarification, "Boobies!!!!!"

I paraphrase. There might have only been four exclamation marks. The point is, Earl, that when people think of Mardi Gras, they think of tits. Well, I am here to tell you — you, Earl, of all people, because I know you are more interested in subtlety and nuance than most of my two lesbian friends — that this is about so much more than that.

For example: ass.

I’m kidding. I’ve been to four parades already and I’ve seen about as much skin as I would have seen if I went to church. Admittedly, I haven’t been hanging out in the French Canadian Quarter, let alone on Bourbon Street, which is what everyone associates with Mardi Gras, not to mention New Orleans. But that’s like thinking of San Francisco as Fisherman’s Wharf.

Which would be what? Ridiculous. Yes. So my own personal, privately-held, and highly journalistic insider’s impression of Mardi Gras so far is that it’s a family affair, featuring marching bands of pimply teenagers and cute-ass kids punctuated by horses, trucks, and tractor-pulled floats from which ridiculously attired adults shower the citizenry and streets of New Orleans with insanely cheap and even more insanely coveted toys and trinkets. You can imagine my joy!

Boobs be damned, Earl, I am catching Coach a football or my name ain’t whatever my name is.

Dear Li’l Sister,

That is great. Me and Diane went to Katana-Ya in downtown San Francisco after seeing the greatest western movie of all time. Diane called my tongue unsavory, which you would think would put me in a funk, but, I don’t know, I just blew it off somehow.

Which is kind of what happens in this western we seen. This guy kind of gets his tongue blew off. It’s an odd way to start an afternoon when you are going to write about food. But it is not too odd.

We both got ramen. Big bowls of delicious noodle soup with prizes, like pot stickers. Hers was vegetable with soba noodles ($11) and mine was the katanaya, which had fried chicken and pork and pot stickers (get to the pot stickers early or they get a little chewy) and corn and fried potatoes and seaweed and scallion and barbecued pork and boiled egg. That is a lot of prizes ($12.90).

We talked of how we were both going to find us mates. Her plan was, I forget. And my plan was to get a garage space in my building and then get a car and a motorcycle. I believe it is the parking inconvenience that has hindered me all these years.

We also had edamame.

And Diane had a lollipop, seeing that there was a bowl of them on the counter and they were free. That is supposed to be a good sign.




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