Jerry Zezima, a Newsday assistant editor who writes a nationally syndicated humor column for his hometown paper, The Show More
If Hollywood wants to make another "Home Alone" movie, this time with the Macaulay Culkin character all grown up but no more mature than he was as an 8-year-old in the 1990 original, I would be happy to take the role.
That's because I was recently left home alone for the weekend.
My wife, Sue, without whom I would have starved to death long ago, went out of town, leaving me to my own devices. Fortunately, the devices included a corkscrew, if I wanted some wine, and a bottle opener, if I wanted some beer. I had both, though not at the same time because even I know that if you go too crazy on the libations while you are home alone, and happen to lock yourself outside or start a kitchen fire and can't find the phone to call 911, or realize, as the house burns to the ground, that you forgot to buy marshmallows, there is no one there to help you.
In fact, there is no one there to do anything with you. Dismiss the notion that you will have a wild party. When the cat's away, the mice will not play. I am a man, not a mouse, and the only creature that kept me any company was our cat, Bernice, who is -- I say this with great affection -- a total moron.
To make sure I wasn't bored, Sue left me a list of things to do, including the crucially important chore of watering the garden.
"Did you remember to do that?" she asked when she called, presumably to see if I was still alive.
"Yes," I told her proudly. "I was so excited, I wet my plants."
I could hear Sue's eyes roll in their sockets on the other end of the phone.
Still, I wanted a little time to myself, which wasn't difficult since I was alone anyway, so I drove into town to buy a cigar.
When I got to the cigar store, I asked the owner, Julio, if his wife had ever left him home alone.
"Yes," he said.
"What did you do?" I wondered.
"I took out the garbage and watched a lot of sports on TV," said Julio, who will celebrate his 20th wedding anniversary in October.
"That's a biggie," I noted. "Don't forget it."
"I did forget our anniversary once and my wife wasn't happy," Julio said. "Now I write it down on the calendar. If I forget it again, she might leave me home for good."
Outside, I met Frank and Denise, who have been married for 28 years.
"Has your wife ever left you home alone?" I asked Frank.
"Once," he said.
"What did you do?" I asked.
"I went to Puerto Rico," Frank answered.
"What a swell idea!" I exclaimed. "But I don't have time. My wife will be home tomorrow."
"Make sure you clean up after yourself," Denise advised. "You don't want your wife coming home to a mess."
"I've been making messes for the 37 years we have been married," I said. "But I'll try to make sure the house is nice and neat."
When I got home, I went outside, climbed into a hammock with a beer and a cigar, and enjoyed some quality time with myself.
Afterward, I heard the familiar strains of the neighborhood ice cream truck. I went around front and bought a toasted almond bar from Chris, who has been on the same route since the 1970s.
"Does your wife ever leave you home alone?" I asked.
"Yes," replied Chris, who has been married for 48 years.
"What do you do?" I inquired.
"Eat, work and sleep," he said. "Some guys fool around."
"Not me," I said.
"Me, either," said Chris, who admitted that he doesn't do household chores while his wife is away.
"I do," I said. "In fact, I have to go inside and do them before my wife gets back. But I'll tell you this: The next time she leaves me home alone, I'm going to Puerto Rico."