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Michael Picarella: Dinner tab war wears on

Picarella Family Report

Posted: November 27, 2009 10:21 p.m.
Updated: November 28, 2009 4:55 a.m.
On Nov. 9, a family friend mailed my father an anonymous $70 check, enough to cover a dinner tab from 20 years earlier. The 1989 dinner, according to the family friend, was supposed to be his treat, not my father’s, but my father wouldn’t let him pay. “It was my idea to go to dinner in the first place,” the family friend said. “The fact that he would disguise a visit to the cashier for a trip to the restroom was low down.”

Analysts explained the kind gesture of paying the check clearly backfired when a feud over who’d pay for a few steak dinners at a neighborhood Sizzler turned into a war of silence that lasted two decades. “He’s a great friend,” my father said, “and I wanted to pay.” But now, after cashing an anonymous check he received in the mail for $70, my dad has suspicions. “If this is his idea of paying me back, I’ve got some news. I’ll give it back to the bank.” Some feuds, sources said, may never end.

Four cordless phones missing
My wife misplaced all four of our cordless phones earlier this month. While I searched for the phones, she called from work and asked if I could find her camera for an event she wanted to photograph that evening. “It’s in the office,” my wife said. I momentarily reported that it wasn’t in the office. “It’s in the laundry room,” she said. It wasn’t there either. At the time, I was speaking to my wife on the only phone I could find, which was plugged into the wall, and so each time I checked a spot for the camera, I had to set the phone down and search and come back.

Sources said I looked like I was playing Red Rover by myself, going back and forth. Later that day, my wife discovered this story to be fiction, and a poor attempt on my part to encourage her to be more careful about where she places things like her camera and our cordless phones. Studies show that a husband trying to encourage his wife to change her habits would have more luck making it out of Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza alive wearing a suit made of prize tickets.

Turkey shows up after Thanksgiving

A Thanksgiving turkey reported missing late Wednesday afternoon was found last night in a wash near the 27000 block of McBean Parkway. Authorities responded to my wife’s call on the eve of Thanksgiving about the missing bird. They searched our house for hours before extending the hunt into the surrounding neighborhoods. “That afternoon, I went to the refrigerator to get the turkey, and it was gone,” my wife said. “I’m not sure how it ended up across town in a wash.”

The bird seemed OK upon discovery, but was covered in dirt and appeared thinner than when picked up at a Vons market earlier in the week. Conspiracy theorists suspect angry vegetarians bird-napped the turkey and, before carrying out some sick plan against “animal killers,” abandoned the Butterball in the wash. No one, however, can be sure what really happened, which is why we’re offering a reward to anyone who comes forward with information so that my family can be at peace. Please contact me at with any details.

Father-in-law explains hearing loss
Early yesterday morning, while driving to the mall for Christmas shopping, my father-in-law realized that his deafness in his right ear might not have been the result of close gunfire while serving in the Navy during the Vietnam War. He now attributes his hearing loss to something much closer to home.

“I’m usually driving when my wife and I go anywhere,” he said, “and she’s usually sitting on my starboard side, trying to improve my driving. Any husband knows how I really went deaf in my right ear.” Asked if his wife could comment on the matter, my father-in-law said she wasn’t available. That’s his story and he’s sticking to it.

Michael Picarella is a Santa Clarita resident and a proud husband and father. His column reflects his own opinion, not necessarily that of The Signal. To contact Picarella or to read more stories, go to


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