A blowout at ‘Taste of Suffolk’

Published 10:21 pm Saturday, September 11, 2010

I get injured doing the silliest things.

I can climb boulders in the mountains, ride horseback through lodgepole pine forests in Montana, brave tropical storm-whipped surf on the Outer Banks and even tease my wife about her family without a nod to the dangers. Walk down Main Street on a beautiful late-summer day, though, and there’s a pretty decent chance I’ll come away with a limp.

It happened last spring as I was exploring geocaches for a Suffolk Living Magazine article. I stepped off the curb, felt something catch in my back and spent the better part of the following week unable to check the right-side blind spot in my car.

Something similar happened on Saturday.

Now let me just say that as one of the two men who create “The Two Fat Guys Food Page” on a (roughly) weekly basis, I had a professional interest in Taste of Suffolk. My friend Troy Cooper might be the poster boy for foodies in Suffolk, but he’s only half of the Two Fat Guys. I believed I needed to get the feel — and, especially, the taste — of the event firsthand if I really wanted to be respected for my contributions to the Suffolk News-Herald’s important food coverage.

So on Saturday afternoon, my wife met me at the office, and we walked over to North Main Street, me with camera in hand to photograph the event for the newspaper. My mind, though, was on the Asian barbecued rib that Troy had recommended, and I wasn’t thinking clearly as I squatted to take a photo of a little boy dancing in front of the main stage.

When I realized the pops cracks, and tears I was hearing weren’t coming from the speakers, but from my knee, I understood the reason for the sudden, excruciating pain, and I knew that both my coverage and enjoyment of the Taste of Suffolk event were going to suffer. Sure, I’d be able to hobble over to the booth for a rib — I AM a professional, after all — but I was pretty certain I wouldn’t be able to endure the physical pain of chasing the boy down to get his name.

Everything changed in those moments of squatting to take that photo. Instead of the joy I expected to feel among the barbecue sandwiches, ice cream cakes, chicken wings and other culinary delights, all I could think about was how badly I wanted someone to carry me home. Suddenly, North Main Street seemed about four miles long, and every painful step I took toward another vendor’s tent was one more step I’d have to struggle through on the way back to the office.

The wings and the barbecue and the ribs all had lost a bit of their allure.

As I hobbled back into my office, Troy looked at me and asked what had happened. “Injured myself at Taste of Suffolk,” I said. “See, I’ll bet you forgot to stretch before you went out there,” he replied.

Sometimes I think I’m just learning at the feet of a master foodie. I’ll be ready next year, Taste of Suffolk.

res spears is the editor of the Suffolk News-Herald. He can be reached at 757.934.9616 or at res.spears@suffolknewsherald.com.