Cameron, Bruce W.
Updated: May 21, 2013 1:09PM
My insurance company loves to stick little informational pamphlets in with its bill so I won’t notice that I’m writing them a check. The topics usually boil down to how to avoid doing something that might cause you to file a claim which we would then reject because you’re supposed to be paying us money not the other way around.
The most recent mailing was a little flier cheerfully entitled “How to Keep Your Dinner Guests from Suing You!” Apparently my insurance company has heard about my cooking.
At any rate, the advice was broken down into three parts: (a) don’t invite anyone to dinner without asking them a series of questions, (b) don’t invite anyone to dinner who is known to file a lot of lawsuits, and (c) don’t invite anyone to dinner.
I’ve always thought it was a good idea to ask potential dinner guests questions about their eating habits, in case they turn out to be, say, cannibals.
But my insurance company alerted me to the idea of probing for other issues, such as Alektorophobia, which is a fear of chicken.
Me: Dinner tonight is poorly prepared chicken!
Guest: I’m afraid!
My (pat. pending) Dinner-Guest Questionnaire, which I plan to release soon as an ebook, is currently in “beta” stage, which is what software companies call products that don’t work. I’m willing to take (paid) suggestions for additional questions; please send them to me, along with a check for $10, which is what makes them “paid.”
Dear Potential Dinner Guest: My insurance company and I are looking forward to the pleasure of your company!
You may have heard the old expression, “Never arrive at a person’s house empty-handed.” A gift for the host, in other words. Of course, we’re old friends, so this is more applicable than ever.
I’m cooking one of my specialties tonight, a French dish called Que diable l’est? (Loosely translated as, “What the heck is it?”) Dinner will be served at 7:30 — arrive earlier if you want to enjoy the smoke.
I want to avoid any incidents like what happened the last time I cooked, when it turned out my guests were allergic to E.coli. So:
Are you able to eat red meat? What about meat that used to be red?
Are you on any medication that would induce side effects we might find amusing?
Are you either vegetarian or vulcan?
Can you explain why anyone would be afraid of chickens?
Are you allergic to (a) shellfish, (b) peanuts or (c) penicillin? Because the dish I’m making has all three.
Are you known to gamble foolishly and without regard to the odds of losing? If so, please bring a large amount of cash.
If you start choking, do you want me to perform the Heimlich maneuver? What if you are not choking?
(Men only) You’re not going to bring that same bimbo you brought last time, are you? (Disregard this question if you married her.)
(Women only) Can we not talk about (a) how hard it is to meet nice men and (b) all the cats you have, unless (c) you’re willing to admit a causal link between the two?
You know how a good host will tell a guest who has had a little too much to drink that it’s better for the guest to spend the night than to drive? Wouldn’t you say it’s easier if the guest just doesn’t drink too much?
I’ve been told that I tend to tell long, boring stories at dinner, tales so excruciatingly dull that it gets embarrassing for everyone. If you hear me getting started on one of these, please, for my sake and everyone else’s, listen politely.
If my dog stares at you during dinner, take it as a sign that somebody would like what I cooked.
Would it be awkward for you if you arrive and I’m not there? If this happens, please feel free to help yourselves and make dinner. You may need to buy some groceries — there’s a list on the refrigerator.
Also, while you’re out shopping, I need a couple pairs of pants and plane tickets to Hawaii.
Aren’t you glad that I invited you to dinner?
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