Self-Appointed Master of Ceremonies

Over the holidays many of us are hosting or otherwise attending dinners and parties with family, friends, and colleagues. While we often look forward to these gatherings, the festivities can turn dull with a dreaded guest. (To lighten the meal, as well as the mood, check out the Turkish Carrot Spread recipe!)

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Issa is a wonderful guest. He’s handsome— eye candy for everyone, he’s traveled everywhere— most recently Bhutan, a successful gynecologist turned screenwriter, and… he’s a motor-mouth. 

Everyone knows it, no one seems to care. “Oh do shut up, Issac,” says his wife Patti. “Heard that one a million times. Give peach a chance.” We all laugh and Isaac rambles on, fun to drool over end if you stop listening to him.

“Where’s Patti?” I say upon greeting Isaac and a recent holiday party for eight. “So Sorry, Ray, she’s come down with a stomach bug, poor baby.” 

We’ve noticed even with some quiet types— “reserved” we call them as opposed to “shy”, how they loosen up with proper lubrication. 

“I can’t stand it,” forever says our pal Ralph, “when somebody doesn’t participate any the table. Give good guest, I say. It’s a matter of manners. You don’t simply let everybody else’s be responsible for keeping the festivity flowing.”

Fine, but what happens in the reverse, when a person like Isaac assumes front-and-center at the table talk and Patti isn’t there to give him the evil eye, or lip?

Cocktail hour is no problem. There is never one conversation to dominate. But here we are around the table and, minus Patti, there’s more elbow room for Isaac than ever. 

I decide to take the bull— figuratively in this case, already flowing from Isaac on home fellow travelers in Bhutan were blithely drinking with their All-American pump/filter devices although yaks were grazing but twenty feet upstream— by the horns and once folks are seated I say: 

“How about we go around the table and say where in the world we’d most loved to visit— not necessarily as adventurous as Bhutan?” 

Issac forces a smile and lifts his glass, the first of course to propose a toast to the chef and his splendid idea.

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