Mr. Charlton Goes for Tacos (Again)

I’ll try anything twice. Even if that means I’ll be eating my own words. A while back, you might have read about me heading to a Calgary taqueria called Native Tongues. And the first time I went, neither myself or Kat was impressed. I have a rule, though. If something is terrible, you always have to go back and see if it’s actually terrible. A place might have an off day. A place might have kids running the show on the weekend.

My friend took me out there, and I explained the situation. Which quickly turned into “You had a bad time? Then let’s go somewhere else”. I shook my head in true Mr. ¬†Charlton fashion. Which meant I was bobbing around like a Muppet under a Jim Henson’s hand.

“Ahhhhwwweee no no no no. ¬†We’re going to Native tongues for a rematch. The last time I went, it was bad. But people keeps telling me it’s good. So I’m going to keep going until it tastes better or that I’m sure everyone else is an idiot”.

My gripe last time was pretty straight forward. Even though they were pretty tasty, they weren’t worth the hefty price of $4 a taco, especially considering these seemed to be a lot smaller than the standard 6″ taco you normally get served. When I mentioned this in my last post, I had a few gourmand friends of mine call me out. “They are worth the $4”, they insisted. I wanted to believe I was right, but maybe living in Lethbridge for a year and a bit had turned me into a cheap skate.

So to my pleasant surprise, they lowered the price. All the way down to $3.50. You might think to yourself “Jeez, man, that’s not really a huge set of savings there”. But that $0.50 meant something. First, it’s a reduction of 12.5%, which is actually quite a bit for a restaurant. Secondly, it also meant the tour of tacos (every single taco on the menu) was going to run me $21 instead of $24. Thirdly, and most importantly, it meant I was right. I was right to call out this taco and its price. I need it to be known that on the subject of tacos, Mr. Charlton knows what he’s talking about.

Native-Tongues

This picture was taken from Yelp. Also, I know what the hell I’m talking about when it comes to Tacos.

The menu changed slightly as well. The last time I went, they had a beef tongue taco. It’s since been removed. I think this is a good call, as beef tongue tacos are pretty bland, to be frank. I thought about going through every single taco, giving it my personal review, but looking back on it, there’s only word going through my mind when I think about these tacos.

“Fresh”

From the handmade corn tortilla, to the salsas, to the queso on both the veggie tacos, everything about this screamed fresh. On a bite sized taco, this makes all the difference in the world.

So what did we learn? That it never hurts to give something a second go. I think that statement can be applied to other people as well. After two tries, then it might be safe to say something is not engaging you on some level. The other important lesson is that quite often I’m right. Especially when it comes to food.

Just saying.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. I pretty sure the first time I went, they were just having an off day. I remember everything being pretty weak.

p.s.s. That’s not even close to the best meal I had when I was down in Calgary. Next up; 100 day aged steak.

p.s.s.s. It’s not even steak at this point anymore, people.

Mr. Charlton Learns to Deal With Grief (Alternatively, Mr. Charlton Punches Death in the Sack)

If you have just recently tuned into “From the Desk of the Illustrious Mr. Charlton”, you may have made the mistake that somehow I’ve become an obituary writer. Three of my last several posts have been about someone in my family dying. I’m not actually interested in writing about anyone pushing up daisies.

In the last four years, I’ve lost my father, two uncles, my aunt, my cousin, my dog, my grandparents, and a couple of my friends. Not everyone on the list was especially close to me, but everyone was family. Although I can’t always grieve with you, my heart can always go out to you, ’cause I know what it’s like to lose someone you love.

The silver lining is I’m become somewhat an expert on grieving. Ever since my old man died, people have remarked how well I deal with people kicking the bucket, and today I’m going to treat you folks to a handy little guide that will help you navigate the rough seas of loss.

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Why don’t you suck an egg, Death?

  1. You are going to be sad, and that’s perfectly okay. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to hug people like you’ve never hugged people before. Don’t try and fight the sadness. Let it out of your body, or else it’ll stay there and start to rot you from the inside.
  2. You are going to have people tell you how they think you should feel, and that’s not okay. After my dad died, I had a lot of people asking me if I was angry. When I mentioned I wasn’t, they said “Well, you will be”. Who the hell was I supposed to be mad at? My dad, for dying in an accident? Was I going to be mad at Scuba Diving, which is one of the safest sports in the world? Was I going to pick a fight with the sea where he drowned? Thanks skips. I’m angry now, but I’m angry at you for telling me what I should be going through.
  3. Treat yourself and be nice to yourself. Before Pookie passed away, me and Kat had been on a strict diet. We’re now sorta back on it, but for two weeks we basically ate ice cream and takeout. We took a trip to Calgary and stayed with friends. I ate a lot of tacos. You can get back on the workout regime once you’ve grieved.
  4. Accept that not everyone is going to grieve along side you. In the same way you can’t morn for every dying person on the planet, you can’t expect everyone to join you on the sorrow train. You can only feel so much sadness for someone you don’t know. With that said…
  5. There’s only so much sadness you can experience. Being miserable takes a lot of energy, and your body can only do so much of it. Remember tip number #1? The faster you let the grief flow out of you, the faster you will heal. But…
  6. You’re always going to be a little sad. There’s going to be a little spot in your heart that’s blank now, and there’s not a thing on planet earth that will fill it. That’s part of life.
  7. Death is part of life. The very end of it, to be exact. Everyone is going to pass that gate eventually. And it’s not as bad as people would make it out. Sure, it’s hard to say goodbye to friends and family, but what would happen if people stopped dying? We’d have too many people, and life would be like a crappy club with jerks shoulder to shoulder. People say life is short, but my life will be the longest thing I’ll ever do. Fifty to a hundred years is plenty.

With that all said, there’s only one way to give Death the middle finger. If you lost someone close to you, spite the Grim Reaper by living life. Have a cocktail, learn a new language, go back to school, try stand up comedy, paint a picture, go for a bike ride, jump out a plane, dry age a cut of beef for 100 days and get your friends together to eat it. I’d be damn upset if my funeral is a bunch of mopey wads sitting around crying a bunch.

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Hey Death? I’m growing LIFE on my patio! How do you like them apples?

With this in mind, and baring decently laws (you might have to hold my funeral in international waters), here’s my plan for my wake. There will be a nice spread of food and spirits. I’m probably going to want a bunch of animals stuffed inside other animals then smoked for a good long time. The main attraction will be a large circus cannon setup in the middle, with a large target set none too far away. I want my limp corpse stuff inside, and then guests can take turns firing my body at the target in exchange for prizes.

With a funeral like that, how could anyone walk away upset?

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. To all my family out there grieving, you have my love.

p.s.s. I keep bringing up this fantastic idea with my mother and my girlfriend, but apparently firing my dead body at a giant target would be traumatizing for some. WHAT ABOUT MY NEEDS?

p.s.s.s. I also tend to be pretty stoic about things. That seems to help.

Mr. Charlton – Dog Owner Part II

May 19th was Pookie’s fourteenth birthday, and even though she’s a dog and the concept of birthdays is probably out her scope, me and Kat decided to celebrate it anyways with a little cake made of her favorite foods; Tuna, peas, and carrot peelings. We put it in a little bowl, got a candle, sang her happy birthday like idiots, and gave her the little dish. Something wasn’t quite right though. She didn’t finish it.

Pookie hadn’t been herself for the last week or so, actually. She was sleeping a lot more. She was having a hard time balancing. And now she wasn’t eating as much as she used to. Me and Kat decided that, after the long weekend, we’d take the doggle in for a checkup.

Unfortunately it was a really long weekend, and Pookie had stopped eating all-together. I took her in Tuesday morning, and the prognosis wasn’t good. The statement from the vet was “We’ll go as far as you’d like to go with this” which is coded words for “we can put her down right now if you don’t want to spend any more money”. I wanted to know what was wrong with her, and I knew Kat would sell everything we own for her little dog, so I signed off on some more tests.

I gave Kat a call, explained the situation, and told her we’d know by noon. So I picked her up from work and we drove to the vet in silence. On arrival, the vet sat us down and gave us the bad news.

Pookie had late stage kidney disease. Some of the tests they ran were so bad they were off the charts. She didn’t have a lot of time. They gave her some IV fluid to keep her going for a bit, but when we got home it hit us that we’d have to put down our little furball.

I’ve never owned a dog before. I wasn’t a dog person. When someone lost a dog, my only reaction was “Well, it was just a dog.” But after living with a dog for two years, after having her greet me everyday when I got home, getting pictures from Kat of Pookie waiting for me by the door, her running up to the kitchen every time I was peeling carrots in the hopes she’d get some, well, you get pretty attached to the little fluffer. I fell in love with that dog, and now I had to say goodbye.

It’s a strange pact you make with an animal. Unless you’re getting a turtle or a parrot, you’re going to outlive. The story when getting an animal almost always ends the same way; with grief. A dog only has a decade, maybe a decade and a half of life. You’ll watch it turn from an excited, wiggly puppy to an old dog that’s struggling to walk.

It hit me a lot harder than I thought it would. After Pookie passed I’ve been pretty miserable to be around. I’ve basically sat around like a goon, playing video games, and stuffing my face with ice cream. Both Kat and I have been doing everything in order to avoid hearing the sound of silence that’s now permeating our apartment. Every once and a while you find something that reminds you of Pookie and your eyes get all misty and you have to get yourself another bowl of ice cream.

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Look at this dog’s stupid little face!

But even though the doggle is gone, her dumb little spirit remains. We managed to get some of her paw prints cast before she left us, and we’re getting her paw prints tattooed next week. We’re already talking about what kind of dogs we’re going to get when we finally settle down. Even though her loss hurt me, I’m willing to try this dog experiment again.

I’ve now officially had a dog, and it’s come with the pain of losing a dog. Five years ago I would have never imagined, but Mr. Charlton is a dog person, and will own day be a dog owner again.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. Tomorrow, we’re going to talk about dealing with grief. ‘Cause I am now an expert on it.

Only the Good Die Young

My cousin, Richard Pruden, passed away in his sleep peacefully on May 18th, 2017. The people who knew Richard had this to say about the news.

“Richard Pruden? Died peacefully in his sleep? You must be mistaken. What you meant to say is Richard died trying to pull a double back flip on a dirt bike, while being set on fire, after a few tall ones. I’m certain his last words were ‘hold my beer’. That sounds more like Richard.”

Richard-and-Kori

About to go for a rip with his son Kori

Richard was a loud, boisterous, friendly, life of the party kind of guy. He wasn’t shy, wishy washy, or indirect. The few times I’ve met him he was usually handing me a beer, smiling a ridiculously large ear to ear grin, and telling me to lighten up. And even a sourpuss like me would have no choice but to lighten and smile right back. Richard oozed this positive energy that was infectious. It was impossible to have a bad time when he was around.

He’s the only person on Facebook who seemed to use it completely earnestly. He didn’t badger everyone with his political views, he wasn’t sharing memes, he wasn’t posting selfies; he was sharing what was going on in his life, and it was always hilarious. Camp stories, where he’s having to deal with neighbors who are masturbating too loudly, to tales of him and his children Kori and Kiyah (aka Chopper) fixing his bikes and getting into hijinks.

Richard-and-Chopper

Richard and Kiyah (aka Chopper)

Unfortunately for me, the only reason I knew Richard at all is because of Facebook. Besides that, I could probably count the number of times I actually hung out with the man on my hands. Yet he was so generous and open about his life that even though we only saw each other at weddings, I still felt I got to know him a little bit. And that’s a whole lot better than not knowing him at all.

When I found out the news, I didn’t really know how to react. The only thing I could do at the time was try to live like Richard did, and I did so by eating four burritos in one sitting. Still didn’t feel right. So after two and a half weeks of sitting on it, I finally got the nerve to right about a guy I hardly knew, but will still greatly miss.

The only consolation I can provide is that maybe, just maybe, you only get so much actual ‘life’ on this crazy ride, and when you live as passionately and earnestly as Richard did, you’ll end up using it all up. It’s not fair and it still hurts, but that’s the only explanation I can come up with from losing someone as great as Richard Pruden.

He was only 41 years old, and he’s survived by wife (Joann), son (Kori), daughter (Kiyah), father (Richard Sr), mother (Linda) and step father (Rene). Richard also has two paternal half brothers (Mark and Mike), and a maternal half brother and sister (Derek and Ashley). My heart goes out to each and every one of them.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. If you can use up life by having a good time, then I’m going to live forever.

p.s.s. Heaven is probably going to have to tap a few more kegs.