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DAVE BARRY Turkeys in the Kitchen A country syndicated columnist based in ~ the Miami Herald, Dave Barry was bom in Amtonk, new York, in 1 947. He concerned his current career together a humorist after functioning as a reporter and business composing consultant. He has actually won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary and also pub- lished a number of humor collections. As do many of his pieces, “ Turkeys in the Kitchen" counts for its humor and also its insights on monitoring of day-to-day life and the stereo- typical actions observed therein. Much of the feeling in this piece comes in ~ the expense of Barry and also his other men, who behave abominably but, at the very least in Barry’s case, establish it. “I establish this is awful, " Barry can- didly admits the his behavior and also turns self-knowledge right into self-mocking humor. Guys are still usually scum as soon as it involves helping the end in the kitchen. This is one of two insights I had last Thanksgiving, the other one being the Thanksgiving night must be the slowest night that the year in terms of human being sexual activity. Nobody desires to interact in human sexual task with somebody that smells vaguely favor yams and also is covered with a slim layer of turkey grease, which explains pretty much everybody in the United says on Thanksgiving other than the Detroit Lions, who traditionally pat football that day and also would because of this be as well tired. But that, as far as I can tell, is not my point. My point is that in spite of all that has been stated in the past 20 years or so around sex- ual equality, most guys make themselves together useful about the kitchen together ill-trained Labrador retrievers. This is not simply my opin- ion: it is a scientific finding based on an exhaustive research of what taken place last Thanksgiving once my family members had dinner in ~ the home of friends named Arlene and Gene. Photo a typical Thanks- giving scene: top top the floor, three tiny children and also a dog that long back had her brain eaten by fleas space running as fast as they can straight into things, make the efforts to injure themselves. Top top the tele- 72 TURKEYS IN THE KITCHEN 73 vision, the Detroit Lions room doing pretty much the exact same thing. In the kitchen, Arlene, a prosecuting lawyer responsible because that a huge staff, is law something v those repulsive organs the are placed in tiny surprise packets within turkeys, apparently as a joke. Bordering Arlene room thousands of steaming cooking con- tainers. I would certainly no an ext enter the kitchen 보다 I would certainly attempt to park a nuclear aircraft carrier, yet my wife, that runs her very own business, glides in an extremely casually and picks up precisely the right kitchen implement and also starts doing precisely the right thing with- the end receiving any kind of instructions whatsoever. She easily becomes enshrouded in steam. Therefore Gene and I, feeling choose the scum us are, ultimately bumble over and ask what we have the right to do come help, and from behind the vapor comes Arlene s patience voice asking us to please keep an eye on the chil- dren. I beg your pardon we shot to do. Yet there is a famed law of physics the goes: “You can not watch tiny children and also the Detroit Lions at the exact same time, and lets challenge it, the Detroit Lions are much more inter- esting.” So us would begin out city hall the children, and then among us would sneak a emergence at the TV and also say, “Hey! Look at this tackle! and also then we’d need to watch for a while to view the replay and also find the end whether the tackled human was dead or simply perma- nently disabled. By climate the children would have succeeded in injuring themselves or the dog, and also this voice indigenous behind the kitchen vapor would call, really patiently, "Gene, you re welcome watch the children.” ns realize this is awful. Ns realize this sounds just like Ozzie and Harriet. I likewise realize the there space some males out there, through hyphenated critical names, who have advanced much farther than Gene and also I have, who room not fear to stay home full time and also get coated with baby vomit while their wives job-related as check pilots, and also who get in the kitchen top top a day-to-day basis come prepare food for other people, as opposed come going in over there to obtain a beer and maybe some peanut butter top top a spoon. However I think Gene and I are fairly typi- cal. I think most males rarely prepare food because that others, and when castle do, they have their one specialty food (spaghetti, in my case) that they prepare possibly twice a year in a very elaborate produc- tion, because that which they expect to it is in praised together if they had actually developed, appropriate there in the kitchen, a cure because that heart disease. In defense that men, let me speak this: Women execute not make it straightforward 5 come learn. Stop say a mrs is in the kitchen, working away after 74 DAVE BARRY having been at her project all day, and also the man, emotion guilty, lastly shuffles in and offers to help. So the woman claims something like: "Well, friend can cut up the turnips.” currently to the woman, who had actually all this sexist Home business economics training back in the pre-feminism era, this is a very simple instruction. That is the absolute simplest t hing she deserve to think of. But to the man, who acquired his maintain in Shop Class, discovering things he would never ever need to recognize for the rest of his life, such as exactly how to do “dado” joints, this instruc- tion raises many troubling questions: 1. I beg your pardon ones room the turnips? 2. Do you have to wash them first? 3. Execute you have to peel them? (Then why go you simply wash them!?) What execute you peel them with? 4. Execute you reduced them right into strips? Cubes? little round pieces? perform you usage the exact same thing friend peeled them with? This is just a partial perform of the concerns that I, for one, would have if someone asked me come “cut up the turnips.” for this reason what the man does is he sort of fumbles approximately for a while and finally he picks up something (which is later identified as a zucchini) and also approaches the sink v it, and also the woman snatches that from his hands and says, very patiently (much too patiently), "That"s every right. I’ll do it.” and also off that slinks. One much more example: If i ever, for any reason, attempt to heat water in a pot, mine wife will certainly saunter by, and, an extremely quietly, without making a fuss, she’ll adjust the water come some various other size pot. It provides no difference what size pot I start with: she will readjust it, based upon her thousands of hours of kitchen experiences and sex- ist training, and also I will continue to feel choose the Kitchen Bozo. I asked my mam to read this and tell me what she thought. This is what she said: She said before Women’s Liberation, men took treatment of the cars and women took treatment of the kitchen, whereas now that we have Women’s Liberation, males no longer feel obligated come take care of the cars. This appeared pretty precise to me, so I assumed I’d just tack the on to the finish here, if she makes waffles. Because that Discussion and also Writing 1 . Recognize the stereotypes about the genders to which Barry refers. 2. Barry’s tone here is comic. How does his use of humor relate to his to compare of men and also women? Does that refute stereotypes around the differences in between men and women or confirm them? TURKEYS IN THE KITCHEN 75 3. Relationships Compare Barry"s use of humor to the of David Sedaris in A torment of Tics (p. 359). How is their humor similar and differ- ent, and also how go each use humor to do his point? 4.


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Think of different kinds of behavior you"ve noticed human being engaging in at vacation gatherings. Can you, as Barry does, make basic points around people native your specific observations of these behaviors?