Pigs and Bananas

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A perfectly good cocktail hour was almost ruined for me by a banana.

I was at a couple of dress-up affairs recently and like any experienced, self-respecting degenerate looking to get his money’s worth, I attacked the cocktail hour as if that were the main event. If I were the President of the United States, I’d have pigs in a blanket at State Dinners. Talk about diplomacy — who doesn’t like pigs?  (Don’t go all poly-sci on me and tell me that pigs in a blanket would be an insult to some. I’m just trying to make a point here). 

Cocktail hours are the make-or-break of any affair. And all the better if they last more than an hour. You got your pigs, your cold drinks, everyone’s saying hello to each other, everybody’s psyched for a good time. It’s to ok interrupt — hold on, there’s a plate of Swedish meatballs passing by and you gotta grab one before they’re gone. 

The biggest challenge is balancing a bunch of little plates while holding a cocktail.  Before you know it, the plates are empty and you’ve gotta find a place to dump them because you don’t want to look like a pig without a blanket. As you look around for a place to dump and run, you curse because you’re still holding them as a waiter passes with toast and salmon and some other stuff you can’t identify but looks good.

The fastest hour in town is the cocktail hour. It’s like those old supermarket sweepstakes challenges. You get to keep whatever you can put in the wagon in five minutes.  The pressure is brutal. You’ve got work to do. But, of course, it’s the kind of work you love. 

Eat, drink, mingle, laugh with old friends. Repeat.

The countdown is in your head though. It’s going to wrap up before you've  had a chance to get some of those mozzarella sticks or those potato things. Damn, they should just keep this going. In a few minutes, everybody’s gonna be relegated to tables. You hope the music is going to be good. And not too loud. The last minute of cocktail hour has you wondering if you’re going to be seated too close to the speakers. You’re having such a good time, why are they stopping it?!

And what’s ahead? The usual choice of prime rib, filet of sole, or chicken. You’ll be at a table where maybe you can hear the person next to you but probably not across the table.  And, of course, there’ll be speeches. Scientific studies have shown that 94 percent of speeches are a buzzkill. As soon as somebody steps to the podium, you hope those cocktail hour drinks kick in and give you no choice but to visit the restroom. You just hope everyone else doesn’t have the same plan.

Sometimes you’re surprised, and the main event beats the cocktail hour. I’m pretty sure it’s about a 70-30 split in favor of the cocktail hour. But anything could sway things. Like bananas.

At one of these particular cocktail hours, I noticed a very ornate fruit arrangement you could help yourself to. But then, I noticed it included small bunches of bananas. I’m pretty sure no one has ever peeled and eaten a banana at a cocktail party. But I worry. I’m afraid the cocktail hour is gonna turn healthy. I think I hear someone say “I’m not gonna have the pigs in a blanket. I’m gonna have a banana.”

I’m like, what the — but someone tells me to take it easy. She said, “Banana Daiquiri.”

I’m not fully convinced. Ok, but if I see any raisin bran I’m starting a riot.

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