This is literally my best blog post ever.

A friend of mine compared me to Rob Lowe the other day. I was initially thrilled – after all, he’s still considered eye candy by the ladies, right? Only she wasn’t referring to the man himself or his looks but, rather, to his character on Parks And Recreation, Chris Traeger.

First off, I have to say that Parks And Recreation has surpassed the aging-but-still-funny The Office as my favorite sitcom (though on any given day the ever-creative and witty How I Met Your Mother and the likably nutty Modern Family might also be in the running). Parks & Rec, though – week after week, it delivers huge laughs, thanks to its terrific ensemble cast of characters.

Rob Lowe’s Chris Traeger is cheerful, optimistic, and never has a bad thing to say about anybody or anything. Every meal is “literally” the best he’s ever tasted, and he’s so polite and friendly that his girlfriend didn’t even realize he’d broken up with her. Apparently, it is my penchant to wax enthusiastically over everything I try, do or see that has earned me this comparison. As much as I hate to admit it, my friend is right.

Rob Lowe Parks and Recreation

Parks And Recreation is literally the funniest show on television!

Take last week, for instance. I went to the movies to see Source Code. She asked me how it was, and I said, “Great movie! I loved it!”

“You loved Insidious last week,” she pointed out.

“Yes, yes! Another excellent film!”

“And the week before that, you were raving about Limitless.

Limitless was awesome!”

“One of these days,” she said, “You’re going to end up seeing a movie you don’tย love. I can’t wait until that happens.”

OK, first: whatever! Second – what can I say? I only go see movies that I think I’ll really enjoy in the first place. Then again, I’ve seen a lot of movies this year, thanks to unemployment + $5 Tuesdays at the local cineplex. And pretty much to a T, I’ve raved over every one of them. Except for The Rite, although I did go on and on about Anthony Hopkins’ brilliant performance.

And then, as if to underscore her point, I ordered a new pizza – the Combo Magnifique – from Papa Murphy’s last week, and when she asked how it was, I replied in my usual manner. “Oh my god, delicious! That was literally the best pizza I’ve ever had from Papa Murphy’s. My new favorite.”

Even though we were talking on the phone, she rolled her eyes. I know she did.

“There you go again,” she said. “It’s just like the movies. Every time you tell me about a meal you’ve eaten, you describe it as being ‘delicious’ and tell me how much you loved it. Don’t you ever eat anything you don’t like? Huh, Chris Traeger? Huh??”

The short answer is, of course! I don’t like everythingย that’s put down in front of me. Try to spoon Brussel’s sprouts onto my plate and you might just lose your hand! And yet, once again, I have to reluctantly agree that my friend is right, for the most part. I do tend to extol the virtues of pretty much every meal I eat, whether it’s homemade, or served to me in a restaurant, food cart, or drive-through window.

This trait does not run in the family. My brother, for instance, tends to be “choosier” (to put it diplomatically, since he’s probably reading). Less inclined to heap praise on an experience. He enjoys writing reviews on Yelp, and was telling me about all the times he has sent meals back in his life. This wasn’t really surprising to me; last year he came up for a visit, and we ordered the seasonal onion rings from Burgerville. They emerged from the kitchen a little blackened, and my brother was immediately up in arms over this. He complained to the staff and sent them back. Me? I ate them anyway, and enjoyed them immensely. They tasted great! The manager explained that late in the season the acid content in the onions changes and they tend to come out of the fryer a little darker than normal, an explanation that worked fine for me. I got to thinking about it, and I have never – not even once – sent back a meal in a restaurant because I didn’t enjoy it. One time I ordered steak and eggs for breakfast and the steak was served really rare. I like it pink inside, but this was red. And yet, I ate it anyway, and in fact marveled over the delicious hash browns that came with the meal. Hello, the name’s Chris Traeger. Nice to meet you.

Even my dad tried to “send back” the tri-tip roast my mom cooked for Easter dinner yesterday because it was slightly overdone. Sheesh. I, of course, praised it. Hey, the flavor was excellent. Turned out to be a really, really good meal.

She did once make an eggplant dish that I wasn’t fond of, though. Proving that even I have my limits. (Sorry, mom).

So, I don’t know if I’m just easy to please or really forgiving. Maybe I set the bar low. My ex would always say the meals she ordered in restaurants couldn’t match her home cooking and weren’t worth the expense, while I would be raving about my Caesar salad and pointing out the delicious, buttery crunch of my sole almondine.

Which was literally the best fish I’d ever had in my life…

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Categories: Food, Pop Culture

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28 replies

  1. And this is likely one of the best posts I have ever read! Yeah, I know–takes one to know one, right?
    Kathy

    Like

  2. Mark–
    LITERALLY, your best post. Totally.

    on the bright side…Optimists are winners. Duh.
    ๐Ÿ™‚

    glad to know another one.
    ๐Ÿ™‚
    best and blessings
    jane
    (and, literally, BEST! and BLESSINGS)

    Like

    • Wow! This is literally the best comment you have ever left for me, Jane! BTW, if you aren’t already watching it, you’d love Parks & Rec, too. They’re the ones that used “awesome sauce” to describe love in a recent episode, which of course totally made me think of you.

      Like

  3. You’re right, best blog you’ve ever written! For serial!

    Like

  4. You’re a combination of grateful and gracious. Very nice qualities. And that pizza sounds incredible.

    Like

  5. I think it’s GREAT that you’re this way, Mark!

    “So, I donโ€™t know if Iโ€™m just easy to please or really forgiving.”

    You’re both.

    There are SO MANY whiners and complainers in this world, that it’s wonderful to know someone like you, who can find the best in all things.

    I’m pretty much the same. In fact, people have accused me of being insincere because I will always compliment people. However, my feeling is that you can always find something positive to say.

    Oooops…except for the movie, Sex in the City 2.

    I was never so disappointed in a film in all my life.

    It sucked. TOTALLY! HA!

    Like

  6. Oh, Mark. You’re a breath of fresh air, you are.

    Like

  7. Mark…I have 2 comments:

    1. This quality you’ve described is totally charming. Don’t ever let the dark side consume you…

    2. Just discovered Parks & Rec…why the hell didn’t anyone tell me about that gem? So fun,
    and Rob Lowe’s character is the best!

    ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Like

  8. I was waiting for this to NOT be the best post ever… Alas, you rocked it, sir. You win blogging ๐Ÿ™‚

    Like

  9. Excellent Post! Thoroughly enjoyed it. You are so right about Parks and Rec. It’s a great show.
    The characters are great together. Have you seen The Big Bang Theory? Its another great light hearted show. If not give it a try.

    Like

  10. No wonder we enjoyed our lunch so much! Not only do I find joy in the little things, I’m easy to please! I’d much rather live that way than bitch about everything. Excellent post, sir!

    Like

  11. We have a friend who, like you, speaks in superlatives – everything is the best or the worst – and he really really means it every time and it doesn’t matter a bit that, taken all together, his statements would contradict each other somewhere along the line. But it’s part of his charm – why talk about something unless you think it’s really important, right?

    Like

  12. I’m not that way about everything, but I am about seasons. I once enthusiastically proclaimed to a dear friend, “I LOVE autumn!” There was a pause, followed by a deep sigh, after which he wearily said, “AND you love winter. And you love spring. And you love summer.”

    Like

  13. Someone once told me, “what you see is what you are”. No, it’s not a child’s insult… it’s a statement on people who tend to see the good in things. They are good. And this was a great post. Oh oh, did I just call myself great?

    Like

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