Skip to content

Robert St. John

Restaurateur, author, enthusiastic traveler, & world-class eater.

A Sticky Subject

June 21, 2016

I have two teenagers on the household payroll who think I am absolutely clueless. I feel like I’m fairly “plugged in” when it comes to modern culture. Though, it’s likely that the actual problem lies within the previous sentence. People who are hip and cool today would never use the term “plugged in.” For that matter, they would never use the words “hip” or “cool.”

When it comes to clothes, I freely admit that I am baffled by many of today’s fashion trends. I am a 54-year old man and don’t wear clothes meant for a 21-year old kid— or, as a British friend once stated, clothes that make one appear to be “Mutton trying to look like lamb.” I’m not a guy who lives on the cutting edge of fashion, and I am perfectly OK with that. But I’m also not the old guy with a date-stamped wardrobe, either.

Everyone knows that guy with the date-stamped wardrobe. My mom used to date one. He was a nice fellow, but he had stopped buying new clothes in 1973 and his entire wardrobe was filled with huge-collared shirts, polyester bellbottoms, and big stack-heeled shoes— 20 years later.

I go for the basics when it comes to fashion and like to think that my “fashion sense” is casual, classic, and timeless. Jeans and t-shirts have served me well for over half of a century. Converse tennis shoes were a staple for me in the 1960s, and they still are today.

When it comes to music I might be better than most when it comes to on-par listening with my teenagers. My daughter and I are on the same page with newer alternative music and classic Willie, Hank Sr. and Waylon tunes, but she loses me when she ventures into bro country. My son and I both share a love for rock music through the ages whether it’s Led Zeppelin or the Red Hot Chili Peppers. However, he leaves me in the alley on the hip-hop end of the spectrum. My overall grade on the sliding scale of teenage music-connectivity and on-par listening would be a B-. If a curve were added for advanced-age consideration, I would probably wind up with a solid B.

Some of today’s pop culture components leave me clueless. There are things I just don’t get, and they’re not just teenage-specific things either. For instance, I still have no clue why anyone would spend $600.00 on a Yeti ice chest, and then buy the Yeti baseball cap, and the Yeti t-shirt. Though when I break that down, I am actually envious of the marketing genius that was able to create such fervor over a heretofore-boring product. People even put ice chest stickers on their truck windows.

While we are on vehicle window stickers, I need to make a confession before this column moves any further. Until last week, I had no clue what the 26.2 and 13.1 stickers on the backs of people’s windshields meant. I never really paid close enough attention as those stickers started showing up. I probably subconsciously assumed it was some touristy thing like the 30A stickers I see on some automobiles— lots to say about those in a future column.

So I was with the kids in my truck the other day— not listening to bro country or hip-hop— and the car in front of us at the traffic light had a couple of those stickers on it. I asked, “What’s the deal with the 26.2 and 13.1 stickers?”

“Those are for marathons and half marathons, dad,” one of them replied with that don’t-you-know-anything tone in their voice.

“Do I look like someone who would know anything about a marathon or half marathon? I get tired driving 26 miles, much less jogging.”

From the backseat one of them mumbled, “He’s got a point.”

Have the 26.2 and 13.1 window stickers always been around?

In my area there are a lot of kids who play baseball and soccer whose parents fill their back windshield with jersey numbers, baseballs, bats, and soccer balls. Those don’t need an explanation. I get it. I’ve seen the honor roll kid stickers, too. I have no opinion on any of those things that I would openly state in a newspaper column.

We are all proud of our kids, or we hope to be. I am chief among the sinners when it comes to bragging on mine— though not on my vehicle’s windshield— so I won’t throw the first stone.

This number thing baffled me though. I certainly don’t intend to diminish such an accomplishment. Jogging for distance is something I have never been able to do, and I admire anyone who sets fitness goals and achieves them. I have a friend whose wife ran a double marathon a while back. She would need a 52.4 sticker, that’s even more impressive, and she’s planning on running in some type of 100-mile race in the future. If I did something like that— hell, if I could even complete a 5K— I would figure out some way to get the word out to absolutely everyone I had ever known.

Though where does it end with the stickers? It seems a little discriminatory against us non-participatory sports types. Where are my stickers? And what would they be?

I can finish a large pizza in one sitting. That’s quite a feat, not everyone can finish an entire pizza. Do they make little round pepperoni pizza window decals? If they did, I’d buy one. It might look cool on the back window of my truck. Unfortunately, after a few months, I wouldn’t be able to see through the window for all of the pizza decals and I would have to start jogging.

In high school I once ate 14 Krystal burgers. I could stick 14 little Krystal burger box decals on my rear window like one of those stick families. That might be an accomplishment others could appreciate.

I can name all of the Beatles albums in order and name most of the tracks on each of the albums. I’d love to have a windshield full of Beatles album covers. I am really good at all sorts of trivia, too. Maybe I could put a “trivial honor roll” bumper sticker on my truck.

In the end, I probably won’t do any of that. I am just too lazy. Which is even more reason I am impressed with anyone who can run 26.2 miles in a time period shorter than what I have been clocked at— which at this writing is— 54 years and ticking.


Grilled Ruby Red Shrimp Salad

A grill screen works best for cooking the shrimp


2 1/2 pounds ruby red shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/4 cup no-stick grilling marinade for shrimp

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp old bay seasoning

1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper

1 cup mayonnaise

2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

1 Tbl capers, rinsed and chopped fine

1/2 tsp Lawry’s season salt

1 TBSP Dijon mustard

1 Tbl sweet pickle relish

1/2 cup minced celery

2 Tbl minced red onion

1 tsp lemon juice

1/8teaspoon ground black pepper

1 Tbl Parsley, chopped

1 Tbl Chives, chopped


Using a pastry brush, coat the shrimp with the no-stick marinade. Allow shrimp to marinate for 30 minutes. Sprinkle the shrimp with the salt, Old Bay seasoning and pepper.

Place the grill screen over direct high heat and allow it to preheat. Place shrimp on the hot grill screen and cook 6-8 minutes, turning once. Remove the shrimp and allow to cool down completely.

In a mixing bowl, combine the remaining ingredients except for the chives. Roughly chop the chilled shrimp and fold into the mayonnaise mixture.

Cover and store refrigerated until ready to serve. Garnish with the chopped chives before serving.

Yield: 6 servings

Recent Posts

For the Love of Fish

This month kicked off my 44th year in the restaurant business. The first seven years were spent working for other…

Read more

Big Apple Birthdays

BROOKLYN— Growing up I had relatives in New York. My maternal grandmother and grandfather lived here for 10 years or…

Read more

Simply the Best

For the 26-plus years this column has been in existence I have typed over 1,000 words a week, every week,…

Read more