Sunday, October 12, 2008

Here comes the judge

Yesterday, we went to the International Bar-B-Que Cookers Association Cookoff held in a town a few miles from our house. I was excited to take in the sights and sounds (and tastes) of this yearly event. I figured that the public could probably buy barbeque at an inflated price, but I was willing to pay.

When we got to the location, the first thing I heard was, "Folks, we're going to need some judges for the cook off." Imagine being a little kid at Toys R Us at Christmas time and your parents saying to you, "Johnny, you've been such a good boy this year, here's our credit card. Pick out some things you like."

That comes close to the feeling I had. But then it seemed like the bubble of my dream was about to burst:

"We're looking for people to be judges in the ' best beans' category."

Beans? Beans??

"So when are you guys judging ribs?" I asked.
"Oh, that's not until tomorrow (Sunday) at 1:00 p.m."

Immediately I began to plot a strategy to get myself back to this location the next day in plenty of time to sign up to be a judge. I would go to church in the morning, making sure I sang all the praise songs loudly and confessed all my sins so that God would have favor on me. On the way home from church, I would promise my wife three straight days of alone time without the kids so that she would have favor on me. Then with all humility and pitifulness, I would ask her if she minded me going back to judge the ribs contest. "It's a great opportunity for me to be a witness for Jesus when I pray before scarfing down tasting the food."

My plan was foolproof...until my wife said, "Are you remembering we're having lunch with my parents tomorrow?"

[heavy sighs, biting my lips to hold back the tears]

"Oh yeah."

So I settled for judging in the finals of the "best beans" category. There were 19 finalists, so we had to pace ourselves.

If you ever thought to yourself, "I wonder what kind of people volunteer to be judges in the 'best beans' category at a bar-b-que cook off," I can give you the answer to that question. I sat across from a guy who must have been a veteran at this sport. The guy next to me looked as if he might eat beans right out of the can...and then eat the can.

"Howdy," I said warmly to my fellow judge across the table in the best Texas accent I could muster. He sat still as a statue and looked at me as if I had just called his mother an iguana. I figured I came across as too friendly; I decided to try a different approach with Mr. Tin Can.

"Hey," I said coolly as if I had just ridden a bucking bronco and was bored to tears to be judging a bean contest but only did so as a favor to my ailing grandma who lives for this day.

"Hey," he responded. (We must have the same grandmother.)

So I enjoyed my 20 minutes of fame as a judge in the finals of the 'Best Beans' category at the IBCA Cookoff. On the drive home, however, my wife was sorry that it was beans and not ribs that I had judged.


Pamela October 13, 2008 at 12:31 AM  

Brian, love the post, thanks for the laugh. :)

jnap October 13, 2008 at 9:04 PM  

I second that scentiment.

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