THE BLOG

Excuses for My Grandchildren

05/15/2013 06:22 pm ET | Updated Jul 15, 2013

I have two grandchildren and a third on the way. My granddaughter Katherine calls me Dolfo. My wife chose Mimi as her name for grandchildren. I decided if she was Mimi, as an opera lover I would be Rudolpho.

As Katherine is now two-years-old, I calculate I have at least a dozen years to prepare excuses. I practice imaginary conversations with Katherine at age 14:

Dolfo, when you were a teenager did you ever engage in dating?

I don't know if you would call it dating, but I did take girls go to movies and parties.

Our teacher says that dating in the 60s involved unwelcome sexual advances, uninvited verbal proposals and inappropriate touching. These are now criminal acts. Did you engage in these?

It was a long time ago. It's hard to remember. Did you know that Periclean Athens had salves?

What does that have to with dating?

Nothing. Just that mores change over time. I never owned slaves.

Dolfo, did you eat murdered baby calf?

Murdered baby calf?

I think they called it veal back then.

I might have unknowingly. Restaurants listed dishes such as Blanquette de Veau A L'Ancienne and Vitello Tonnato. I may have eaten them not knowing what they contained. The Roman Republic also had slaves.

What did Vitello Tonnato contain?

The chilled and sliced thigh of a murdered baby calf that was poached in chicken stock and white wine with bay leaves, carrots, leeks, onions, parsley and peppercorns, covered with an emulsion of the raw ovum nutrient of a chicken, what we then called egg yolk, murdered Tuna gutted, filleted, heated for two hours at high temperature and inhumanely forced into a can, olive oil, murdered anchovies gutted, salted and packed in oil, lemon juice and heavy cream. The emulsion was topped with capers.

OMG! Were the innocent caper berries savagely raped from the bush?

We called them plucked. At that time the concept of fruit and vegetable rape did not exist.

So you ate cold, murdered baby calf with the raw ovum nutrient of a chicken and raped capers.

You don't understand. Root vegetables were difficult to obtain. It was after the war. Kohlrabi, rutabaga, and Jicama could be purchased only on the black market.

Did you ridicule dull people? My teacher says dull people were mistreated in last half of the twentieth century.

Never. I had many dull friends and acquaintances. I lived in Seattle.

But did you join Dull People's Liberation parades?

No but I watched a lot of dull parades. Back then we had things like the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Seattle Seafair Torchlight Parade.

Dolfo, how could you participate in Seafair? Didn't you know that exposure to a Seafair event for three minutes damaged between 925 million and 2.5 billion granule brain cells in the cerebellum?

We did not know that at that time. However, I am proud to say that I never watched the Seafair hydroplane races. Did I mention that I never owned slaves?

Dolfo, mother says you were the first person to propose that straight white men should not be allowed to vote. Is this true?

If not the first, I was certainly one of the first.

My teacher says that once straight white men lost the vote, dating, eating murdered baby calf, raping vegetables, ridiculing dull people and Seafair torchlight parades were outlawed. At least you got one thing right.

I got two things right. I never owned slaves.