As usual, I will begin by filling you all in on yet another of my family’s episodes – this one about Erik being on a diet because poor James Gandolfini died. Why? Because Brittany decided there are too many similarities between he and her father and she launched yet another campaign to make me the warden of his good health.
Me: “Hi Britt”
Britt: “MOM DID YOU HEAR THAT JAMES GANDOLFINI JUST DIED?”
Me: “Oh I know; isn’t that awful, poor thing and I feel terrible for his family and he was such a nice down to earth guy too.” (don’t ask me how I know this, we Esposito’s have a bizarre habit of talking about the celebs like we actually know them, meanwhile we do not know them, nor have we met any (except Erik, he is actually quite friendly with Hugh Jackman, but that’s a different story and Erik has no idea that Hugh Jackman is a celeb).
Britt: “MOM, DAD IS GOING TO KEEL OVER ONE DAY AND YOU DO NOT CARE.”
Me: “I do care, but why do you think that Dad is going to keel over because James Gandolfini died, Brittany?
Britt: ‘Really? Well he practically IS HIM! He smokes cigars, he is eats like it’s his job, he doesn’t exercise, he’s under so much stress and his belly is choking off his vital organs! Why don’t you stop cooking like you have a house full of people and stop giving him antipasti trays to snack on while you are cooking for 14 people when there are two of you there and you don’t even eat what you cook! And stop letting him smoke cigars! And why won’t you make him exercise? And give him a break with the shopping! And stop making him go to your family stuff – those trips to South Carolina freak him out!”
Me: Brittany Kate, the trips to SC do NOT freak him out, Dad is a grown man and should know better than to eat 10 meatballs, what should I do about the cigars, how would you suggest I “make” him exercise? I bought the elliptical and he used it twice, dressed in his pajamas and boat shoes, I do not want to have to see that more than twice. I am NOT giving him a break with the shopping – that is just crazy talk.”
Britt: “I will call you back.” Click.
10 minutes later Ring, ring….
Me: “Yes Britt?”
Chel: “MOM! Do you want to be alone for the rest of your life? Because that is what is going to happen when Dad goes over in a heap clutching the Amex bill and his autopsy shows meatballs, mozzarella and cigar smoke coursing through his blood and a heart that had never been exercised!”
Me: Oh for the love of sweet tea… “Okay girls, you are right, I am going to get Dad in better shape.”
Girls: “THANK YOU – DO YOU PROMISE? AND WE MEAN IT, WE ARE BRINGING A SCALE OVER ON SUNDAY TO WEIGH DAD IN AND IF HE ISN’T SHRINKING WE ARE GOING TO KNOW YOU ARE NOT DOING YOUR JOB.”
Me: “Okay, will I get fired from this job if I don’t do well (fingers crossed)? I’m not sure if you two have considered who we are dealing with here.”
Girls: “We are not kidding.”
So let me just go ahead and tell you that Erik has ZERO interest or patience for practicing a healthy lifestyle. He claims to have no time for these pursuits (he actually claims to have no time for anything, except for working, smoking cigars and eating apparently) and he says that he will never get the chance to retire anyway thanks to us so there is really no point in trying to live longer. As a bonus to his optimistic view on good health, he gets mad when we try to talk to him about it. But, I promised, so, I put a plan in place and…
Erik: “Hi Noon – what’s up?”
Me: “James Gandolfini died so you are now on a strict diet, you have to quit smoking cigars and you have to start exercising. I am heading to Whole Foods to get you a piece of fish for dinner. Do you have a preference?” If I talk fast enough, chances are he’ll just agree and this plan will work. This strategy has gotten me more than one pair of shoes and several new pieces of furniture.
Erik: “No, I‘ll have the rest of that bracciole with the escarole and the macaroni tonight, pick up some seeded bread.” Too late, I realized my mistake, I said the word “dinner”.
Me: “Also, do you think your friend Michael will want your office humidor with the rest of those cigars? If not, you should ask around on the jobs – a lot of those guys smoke cigars”.
Erik: “Yeah, I don’t know what the $%^& you are talking about, I am not giving up my cigars, or my humidor.”
Me: “I also signed you up for personal training with Drew – you remember him right? He trained me and the girls for a while?”
Erik: “What is wrong with you? I don’t have time for that. What do you think I do all day? I leave the *&^%$# house at 6am and I get home at 7pm to shove a meal down my throat and work some more until 10, 11 o’clock! You girls have too much time on your hands worrying about what I should eat and do to be healthier! What is wrong with you – I don’t need this; I have enough to worry about. If you and the girls want me to live longer why don’t you stop aggravating me? Stress and aggravation is what kills a man. I’m sure that poor guy had just gotten off the phone with someone who was telling how to live his life! Who is that anyway? Do I need to leave early for a wake?”