Once lemons, now lemonade

About this time two summers ago I witnessed an amazing feat. A former neighbor’s boyfriend cooked a few dozen hamburgers and hot dogs on the spokes of a bicycle tire. Sounds dumb, right? Well, first off, there wasn’t even a fire (this man was familiar with most all city ordinances). He didn’t have tin foil or a spatula, either. Just two citronella candles, lighter fluid and an iron will.

It was impressive. He knew it. The bloody apron he wore read, “No grill. No gas. No West Nile. NO PROBLEM!”

The best part was later in the evening when, ultimately satisfied with the feast and the make-shift way it was prepared, this guy made an empty challenge to the star of the popular syndicated television show, “MacGyver.”

“I’ll see the length of you’re hockey mullet Richard Dean Anderson, and raise you four inches more,” he said in a loud whisper, staring off into the distance with his arms wrapped around Dusty, his favorite girl.

What a moment.

Not long after that, sadly, Dusty’s man – my new hero from afar – had to go away for a while (turns out the barbecue bike tire – and the Huffy Hammer it was attached to – was stolen). But for all his faults, the moment he called-out MacGyver I can remember feeling like anything was possible.

I hadn’t thought about him or that day again until earlier this week when I received a mass e-mail from my cousin. In the message was a picture of a shopping cart being used as an outdoor grill. It had been pushed over a fire and resting on the grate inside was a pan of scrambled eggs and toast. Simple. Portable. Ingenious. The title was of the e-mail was, “Free B-B-Q,” and the note from the original sender stated, “I have found several stores (not just in the south) where you can get a FREE Bar-B-Q Grill! This is not a joke.” And it wasn’t. It was proof that people were still out there being creative (often using stolen property).

Inspired once more, over the last few days I’ve thought up ways to turn the lemons in my life into lemonade.

For instance, sometimes my occasional live-in gets an itch and I’ll have to head out for menthol cigarettes (mostly when we watch bowling Sundays on ESPN – reminds her of league night). Same old story, there either won’t be any scratch-offs left to cash-in or there isn’t a willing ride to the gas station. Through desperation, and its good friend imagination, I’ve found that if we smoke our Old Gold Light 100s immediately after eating two sleeves apiece of Girl Scout “Thin Mints,” those puppies taste just like Newports. Crisis averted. Smiles abound. Note: If you’re still waiting on a cookie order, rub your teeth and tongue with most any flavor of Crest’s “Nature’s Expression” toothpaste just prior to lighting up.

That’s not all. I’ve also found a way to cool the house down with Freeze-Pops, mow the lawn with gasoline and get premium cable without paying or breaking the law (don’t ask). It just takes a little elbow grease, regular grease and a can-do attitude.

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