Memorial Day weekend is upon us. The actual Memorial Day was created as a remembrance for those who have died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. Of course, the history of Memorial Day is so fraught and controversial that there are multiple academic history centers devoted to it.
Beyond the original purpose of the holiday, Memorial Day is also seen as the unofficial start of summer vacation in the United States, and that means one thing. Grilling. So much grilling. With any activity with as much unearned bravado as grilling, there is bound to be stories of epic failure. We want to hear yours.
Since it is only fair when discussing failure to look inwards, I’ll start. My junior year of college, my roommates and I decided it would be a great idea to grill outside on our porch in a thunderstorm. Presumably this was motivated by the constant desire to meet other people, specifically the house of women across the street, and have delicious hamburgers. Did we prepare any form of barrier against the wind and the rain? Reader, we did not. Did we imbibe alcoholic beverages before starting to grill? Reader, we did. Did we use a tiny tailgate grill with the sturdiness of a termite infested wall and the weight of crushed aluminum can? Reader, you bet we did. Was one of us wearing slides because Crocs were not yet the most popular “dumb footwear that you regret wearing every time you see a picture of your younger self for years afterwards” of choice?
About twenty minutes into the affair, two of the women from across the street emerged from their house. We waved, foolishly believing that this was the setup for a college rom-com meet cute. A sudden gust of wind, that uncommon phenomenon in a thunderstorm, picked up the grill with four hamburgers and flung it sideways several feet into the yard. The lid, hamburgers, and coals went all over the (fortunately) wet grass. In a fit of brave stupidity, I chased after the grill down four stairs. As slides are not footwear with high traction, I slipped on the (still wet) grass, did a reverse Bobby Orr, and landed hard on my back next to a hamburger patty.
The women did not come over, and the hamburger patty was not salvageable.