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February 22, 2017

One time a couple of years ago I was hanging out with an old friend I hadn’t seen in a few years, and mentioned that I was learning to cook.

You? Are learning to cook?’ he repeated, incredulity lining every word like down in a puffy vest. ‘But all you ever eat is Rice-A-Roni!’

And I was not offended, because he was not wrong.

Several years later, I am still learning to cook. I have figured out what one does with gourd, and how to keep eggplant from turning out bitter, but I still cannot slice or chop anything very well, and every time I make eggs or pancakes they turn out unfortunate somehow; a different type of unfortunate each time, too.

I am trying, but the bottom line is that I am not very comfortable cooking, and a lot of the time the stuff I make does not turn out very well.

Because I enjoy curtailing my activities to those things I exhibit a natural skill for, (not), next week I am leading a team of volunteers in cooking and serving dinner to ninety Portland people experiencing homelessness.

Every time I think about it I break out in a cold sweat on my eyebrow and upper lip hairs and I have an urge nearly as involuntary as vomiting to smoke a pack of cigarettes.

If any of you are praying people, I would appreciate a word on behalf of my efforts in the ear of your deity; the rest of you please cross your damn fingers.

Do it for the homeless. The fate of their dinner rests in my incapable hands.

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