Traditionally, guys have been the barbecue specialists. Maybe because a barbecue grille has wheels, breaths fire and leaves trails of smoke much in the way a supercharged race car does. Me? I’ve never had the inclination to cook with any contraption, no matter how manly it might be. Partial blame should go to living in NYC where I learned to order out very well. Add a side order of laziness and you have a recipe for not cooking at all.
Aside from that, I’m apprehensive about firing up the flame on the grille and watching the shrimps shrink on the ol’ barbie. Mainly because I don’t want to be a part of the show, going up in flames along with the franks.
Initially, my wariness dated back to college when Ricky, a fellow alumnus, went to serve up some rib-eye steaks and doused too much lighter fluid on the grille. Along with the rib-eyes were some of his eyebrows that had been singed off, rendering the the meal unsuitable even for starving college kids.
My deeper apprehension of barbecuing comes from being a former firefighter. First day of training, we were subjected to a series of videos which left an indelible impression. Two of the twenty clips showed the results of barbecues gone wild. Let’s just say it wasn’t a very appetizing start to my firefighting career…or to my barbecuing beyond.
My wife’s the master chef and grilling goddess. She cooks just the way I like it, so why argue with success? I do glance out there on occasion to make sure she’s got it under control, so I’m working. Sort of.
But hey, I help in other ways: I do the dishes when asked, I clean up the counter when reminded, and most importantly – I know exactly where the fire extinguisher is located. One needn’t ask or remind me where to find that.
So I’m not the bravest when it comes to barbecuing. I’ll always applaud a well done barbecue…I just don’t want to be well done along with it.
A native New Yorker without the accent, Tom Kramer's writing career began when his play, Caviar and Crumbcake was selected for a reading at the now defunct Circle Rep. Tom wishes to point out that ‘Crumbcake’ had nothing to do with the closing of the company.
He was eventually selected as one of three playwrights into the prestigious Playwrights Horizons Theatre Workshop, where three one-act plays of his were produced: Painfully Employed, followed by Headshots, and Dim Bulbs. Painfully Employed went on to receive a full production at the Harold Clurman Theatre where it launched the Playwrights Horizons Winterfest and later was voted the 15th best short play in the United States by Writer`s Digest. Painfully Employed has since been produced at the 76th Street Theatre in New York City.
Caviar and Crumbcake came back to enjoy a successful run at the Ensemble Studio Theater Summer Conference while his two-act comedy, Death Warmed Over appeared at The Neighborhood Playhouse. His one-act hit, Crime Coaching 101 was performed at the Ensemble Studio Theater Octoberfest, while his one-act comedy, Miss Prism’s Acting School for Wrestlers appeared at the Neighborhood Playhouse, and Rules Girl in Date Hell took center stage at the Princeton Alliance Theater.
In April of 2016, Tom was accepted as a writer for the Huffington Post, and is grateful to the staff and readers of HuffPost.
In 2017, Tom's Writer of the Wry® received official USPTO trademark status.
In March of 2019, Tom became a features writer for Pasadena Magazine.
In November of 2019, Tom was voted in as a member of the SAG-AFTRA Los Angeles Communications Committee, and a member of the Editing Subcommittee.
In front of the camera, Kramer has appeared as a principal performer or spokesman in numerous national commercials ranging from the Liquid Plumr man, to the Total Cereal man, to a Miller Beer man, while his roles on daytime dramas ran the gamut from a knife-wielding assassin, to a licorice-chewing detective, to a pencil-pushing accountant.
Characters portrayed Off-Off Broadway have included a knucklehead, a nerd, and a ne’er-do-well. He has also lent his voice to various voice-over spots and hopes to get said voice back one of these days.
In January 2021, Tom retired from the acting profession to concentrate on his writing projects, which include a novel and a screenplay.
In addition to having worked as an actor, dramatist and columnist, he researched and wrote for the award-winning PBS series, Nature. Subjects included: Cats, bats and horses. To this day, he’s allergic to two and still scared of one.
Tom Kramer – Writer of the Wry®
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