Jesse Tise

I always think of Hillsboro as an extension of Portland, until I go there. Within minutes of arrival at Friday night’s taco party, I overheard someone’s conversation about moving to Oklahoma... on purpose. Other choice moving destinations included such bustling Shangri-Las as Arizona, Bend, and Medford. It probably doesn’t need to be said, but I’ll say it since I’m being paid by the word: Every man in the house had a beard and a baseball cap. And yes, the baseball caps were worn indoors and backwards for the duration of the party.

It was an intimate dinner party with a cornucopia of taco fixins. There were steak, pork, and chicken options, as well as the ubiquitous vegetarian, which is any of the other choices with the fun taken out. The vegan option took it a step further and subtracted all reason to live. I, of course, tried every option on both corn and flour tortillas, concluding my gluttony with a mega taco, created by wrapping every available filling in a corn tortilla wrapped in a flour tortilla, seasoned with my own tears of shame and satisfaction.

The dining room table was, in proper fashion, arrayed with liquor: a selection of tequilas of varying quality, vodka, beer, and Fireball.

I was the only single attendee, which meant I was the target of two toddlers plotting both destruction and self-harm. One had assumed a canine persona, and went about growling and nibbling legs. Meanwhile, the other was the scheming mastermind type, with a suspiciously coy grin. They were, of course, both adorable psychopaths.

My favorite thing about toddlers is that they’re all funny looking. Show me a toddler and I’ll show you something resembling a possessed Troll Doll. Looking a toddler in the face gives you a good idea of what their perfectly put-together parents look like under all the makeup, facial hair, and pretense of knowing what we’re doing or why we exist. Toddlers are also dumb. Some may insist that toddlers are simply naive and adventurous. I will accept your rebuttal the first five times that a toddler runs headfirst into a table and then to their keeper weeping, but on the sixth time, I regret to inform you that your child is a dumdum. But there’s good news! All children from age birth to 11 are dumdums, and those age 12 through death aren’t much better.

Existentialism aside, in a bid for higher points, the homeowners invited a conspicuously gay shot sommelier. If ever a shot glass went empty, he wouldn’t stand for it. Tequila, Fireball, vodka and root beer, repeat; room spinning, stomach aching, conversation boring, children biting. The whole thing felt like a scene removed from Willy Wonka. In keeping with any suburban parent party, the time came for the dads to take turns toking in the garage, while wives drunkenly laugh about their partners’ sexual prowess.

The tacos and liquor alone earned this one 8 out of 10.