Wednesday, January 02, 2008


Where Rachael Ray Lives.

A little while back I mentioned that I was not happy with Rachael Ray, a famous television personality, because of the way she spoke low of perch. I guess I never told you how my "visit" to her went. Well, it is the holidays, and I finally have some time to myself, so here is that story.

I had read on-line that Rachael Ray lives in the woods outside of New York City, so I hopped in the van and got going. I figured I could do research here and there on the way, in various "hobo cafes" where there is Internet (I could also call a few colleagues). Things went well, and I made it to New York in about fifty hours. Once in New York, I had a pretty good idea of where she lived, so I headed "upstate" to the quiet rural community she calls home.

It's a nice enough town, with pines and cedars lining the road. The air is fresh, and the last yellow silt from pollen season lines the creek beds. An old general store advertises daily specials on medicine or cloth, and tired men in honest caps walk dogs that have real problems. Two women chat as they enter what is clearly a beloved hamburger restaurant.

I like where she lives; it is a good place. This is why I do not like that she lives there. It is as though she does not Get it. She tries much too hard to please. A good country person waits to be pleased. Poverty cannot afford to dance.

After some eavesdropping behind a newspaper I hear a local man mention where her house is to a new pizza delivery boy. I start the van and head there. The light is growing dim, and I have sulfured eggs to distract her dogs.

I make a few wrong turns, out on the foggy pine forest roads, but it isn't long before I know I've found the place. I ask you, what good country family has three matching PT Cruisers. Why would she need three. I know she is married, but it just seems terrible. It makes me angry. She should not make her husband drive a PT Cruiser. No matter who he is. (Although, I have to admit, my opinion on that will soon change.)

I park the van six miles down the road, to ward off suspicion, then sprint back to their property. As I had read, there are large dogs prowling about. I reach into my fanny sack and throw two sulfured eggs as far as I can from the house. The dogs hear the cracks and sprint away. Perfect. I've injected the eggs with Haxall's Pandemonium Chlorodyne.

Now it's time to get up and look in the windows. The first thing I see, unfortunately, is her short husband using the bathroom. Before I can duck away I learn the awful truth: he is sweating, and he has jazz butt. The window is open, so I am spared no detail, no matter how quickly I try to creep away. Oh god how awful, how awful to live with Rachael Ray. How awful to watch what happens. How awful to eat what happens.

Soon I have crept around to the back deck and I see the small husband, an Italian fellow, walk delicately into the large dine-in kitchen. Rachael is there and, away from the cameras, she wears Mickey Mouse clothing from head to toe. Even her house slippers have things on them which make it clear they are a Mickey Mouse product. She stirs a large pot of something I cannot see clearly; I hear her tell the little husband that it is her "Astronaut Turkey Smackers." I do not know how something called a "smacker," or meant for astronauts, can be prepared in a large pot. It seems that outer space demands special, careful foods. I feel lost. The husband, too, has the same feeling. He sneaks off to the driveway and takes a big sip of Amstel from a hidden place in the back of the third PT Cruiser. He has done this before.

Soon the pizza delivery boy pulls into view, but he stops a hundred yards down the road. He leaves a pizza box near a fencepost, picks up a rock, and removes what looks like cash. The husband does not look in his direction, but when he has heard the boy's engine fade away he sprints to the pie and ravenously consumes several slices. He then hides the box beneath large dried cedar branches, perhaps for later. It is a gamble, as animals may eat it, but it looks to me that he lives by playing at odds. He wipes wet leaves and pine needles on his mouth, on his tongue, to hide the smells.

Rachael steps out to the front porch and yells, "JAAAAHN? JOHN-BOY? YOU OUT THERE?"

The husband panics, and yells back, "I...I was chasing a rabbit! It looked like it was hurt!"

"Well, was it?"

"I guess not, Rach, 'cause he sure got away fast!"

"Get back in here! I just got an idea for Hobgoblin Turkey Gobblers! You know, kind of a Halloween thing!"

"Sounds awesome, Rach! What's...what's in it?"

"I'll figure that out later! Come in here and try the Smackers, and quit makin' me yell. You know I'm doin' twelve shows tomorrow!"

He whispers his reply: "Sure thing, Rach!"


"Sorry, Rach! Be there in a sec!"

The dogs finally start to howl and convulse in the woods behind the house, so they run off to see what is the matter. I am disgusted with them both; I do not want to confront this terrible situation as much as I thought I did. I want to be gone, away from these two. It is all I can do to go into the house, make myself sick on a plate, and leave it by the stove. "Amateur hour," I know.

Not too long after that I am back in the van, headed for home. I am disappointed, and it takes me a good sixty hours to reach California. When I turn on the television, there is Rachael Ray, serving a meal of Astronaut Turkey Smackers. A telltale stain of iodine shows just past the cuff of a long shirt sleeve: she has been bitten by a crazed dog.

In a way, I have communicated with her, but I would not call it a conversation.

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