That Scene from Zoolander

It was a cold December morning in Albany, New York. The house was quiet—except for two screaming children and an 85-year-old Bahamian woman (Jason’s childhood nanny) mumbling something about wifey (wifi).

Ahhh, home for the holidays.

Jason was running some errands while I was getting the kids ready for a nice family dinner out on the town.

I went downstairs to look for Grady’s shoes and that’s when I smelled it. Gasoline. It was bad. It was strong. It was dangerous.

But not to worry. I’ve been around this family long enough to know that it’s perfectly normal for someone to accidentally leave the gas stove running for hours and hours (maybe days) at a time. So I checked all the knobs. Off. Off. Off. And off. The smell was not coming from the stove.

So I checked the basement. I checked the backyard. I checked the refrigerator. I checked the toilets. I checked the couch. I checked the ridiculous porcelain statue of a pastry chef that my father-in-law bought on a whim in France. NOTHING was leaking gas. But the smell was getting stronger.

Naturally, I panicked. I called for the kids to come downstairs immediately. I yelled to Liz (the 85-year-old nanny) to get out before the house blew up.

As I was about to call the fire department, I heard Jason shouting something from upstairs.

Me: Jason? Are you up there? I thought you were out?

Jason: I ran right past you in the kitchen! Didn’t you hear me saying I need new shoes and a coat?

Me: What? Why do you need new shoes and a coat? Just get down here with the kids. There’s a gas leak in the house. We have to get them out of here. I’m getting a headache. Hurry.

Jason: It’s not a gas leak. It’s me. I’m the gas leak!

Me: What? Not again. Are you serious?

Jason: It’s pretty bad this time. My dad’s new car smells like napalm. It’s all over my shoes and my coat.

You know that scene in Zoolander when the male models have a gasoline fight? That was a true story based on not one, not two but three times when my husband dowsed himself in gasoline while fueling up the car.

This time he had my father-in-law’s brand new Mercedes E300.

How does this happen, you ask? Well, when the pump reaches a certain price, Jason decides that’s enough. And instead of stopping the pump before removing it from the gasoline hole thingy, he just rips it out of the car and lets it fly. Voila. Zoolander. All over the place.

Needless to say, the Mercedes was undrive-able. Only someone without a nose (or Jason) could possibly sit behind the wheel.

So there we stood at the curb in Albany waiting for our Uber (aka Jason’s sister) to pick us up and take us to dinner. Me with my gasoline headache and Jason with his father’s penny loafers and double-breasted Chesterfield coat. Another classic Levine holiday.

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