When I woke up this morning, I was uncharacteristically hungry. Typically, it takes an hour or two of finding my bearings and coming to terms with consciousness before I can put a really good hunger together. Multitasking is not something I can manage before noon; it’s one thing at a time for me, until all the neurons start firing. And that takes a while. Frankly, if I make it through a morning without impaling myself on the shower head or setting the dog on fire, I label that a ‘success’.
Usually, my ‘one thing’ in the morning is simple and instinctive. Like ‘Am I late for work already?‘ or ‘Wow, I really have to pee,‘ for instance. The tougher questions come later, like ‘How many sick months have I used already?‘ or ‘Did I remember to lift the seat?‘ or ‘Where did this mariachi band come from, and where the hell are my pants?‘
(A word to the wise regarding that last one — never bet a guy who works at a Burrito Barn that you can drink more tequila than he can. I’m pretty sure that under Mexican law, I’m married to the castanet player now.
Which is nowhere nearly as intriguing as it sounds, chivato.)
Today, my solitary waking thought was:
‘Boy, would I like some jam on toast.‘
Why? Who knows. I haven’t had jam on toast in ages; I rarely eat breakfast at all. Maybe I smelled the guy next door burning toast before I woke up. Or my wife sprayed ‘Eau de orange marmalade‘ in the bedroom. Or possibly, I had that dream about the stripper whose name reminds me of jam.
(Because with a name like ‘Smuckers’, she has to be good, right?)
Whatever the reason, I’m not one to fight my waking impulses. It takes way too much effort, and I’m likely to sprain something trying. So I hit the kitchen, in search of toast and jam.
“Call us back in a few hundred generations, when you’ve done something about those brow ridges, maybe.”
Bread, check. Toaster oven, check. The contraption and I have tussled before, so I know it’s incapable of producing a proper slice of toast, but it would have to do. It was either that or get out the acetylene torch again, and I just set the dog on fire yesterday morning, while ironing my shirt. I needed a ‘successful’ morning today.
WIth the bread simmering in the toaster, I dug through the fridge, in search of jam. Or jam-like substances, which is what I found, in two varieties:
The first was a half-full off-brand jar of ‘Grape Jelly’. It seemed innocent — and potentially delicious — enough, until I found the date on the jar. Apparently, the manufacturers suggest the product is: ‘Best If Used By 02/01/03‘.
Now, I’m no expert on the wide range of date formats out there in the world, and I know the Europeans in particular like to switch bits of the date around on us Yanks — but I couldn’t find any combination of numbers on that label that suggested the contents weren’t harboring an ecosystem of reasonably evolved organisms by now. I worried that if I opened the jar, something inside might send up a flare and the inhabitants would emerge to annex the vegetable crisper. I chucked the jar, unopened, into the trash. Better safe than sorry.
The second jar — found, disturbingly enough, behind the grape jam jar — was labelled ‘Strawberry Preserves, and was nearly full. It was in a nice name-brand glass bottle, with leaves and flowers on the label. Too fancy for us; probably a present from someone. Or stolen from a local Denny’s, perhaps.
I stood in the cold light of the open fridge for a full five minutes, twisting and turning the jar, looking for an expiration date. Finally, I had to admit that there was no date to be found. There were no markings whatsoever to indicate the age or probable toxicity of the spreadable fruity goodness within. So, I came to the only reasonable conclusion:
If there is no date on the jar, then the strawberry preserves can never go bad!
It makes perfect sense, of course. Despite the superficial similarities to the aged and undoubtedly spoiled grape ‘jam’, these were strawberry ‘preserves‘. So they’d be preserved, presumably, forever — immune to the ravages of germs, dust, molds, fungi, and any other unsavory critter that might happen by. A veritable marvel of modern strawberry processing, these preserves would survive a nuclear winter and still be around for the cockroaches to enjoy in the aftermath. Only the roaches wouldn’t get in, either, because the preserves are impervious to contamination.
Only humans — with our overdeveloped forebrains, opposable thumbs, and penchant for spreadable treats — are able to unlock the wonders of the unspoilable fancy strawberry preserves. Chimps, maybe, could sneak a taste. Or orangutans, but that’s it. Gibbons on down, and you’re out of luck. Call us back in a few hundred generations, when you’ve done something about those brow ridges, maybe.
So, when the toast was done, I dipped a knife into the magic jar, and heaped generous dollops of berrylicious preserves onto the bread. I spread it. And I ate it. Who knows when the stuff was jarred? Turn of the century? The Carter administration? During the Crimean War? Don’t know, don’t care. It was tangy, it was delicious, and it was ‘preserves‘, so what’s to worry about? One breakfast craving, successfully fulfilled. End of story.
Except… now, three hours later, I’m starting to hear voices that sound like Barry White on helium, and I’m having some really interesting hallucinatons involving Mrs. Buttersworth and the bag of baby carrots in the veggie crisper. The mariachi band is in on it, too — and my old stripper friend, Smuckers. Only now, she’s a six-foot tall pink Clydesdale, in a G-string and pasties. Also, I’m pretty sure my colon just exploded. That’s probably not good.
Hrm. Well, it must be a stomach virus, or something I ate last night. Because I know it couldn’t be the preserves. That’s just crazy talk. Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to have a nice lie-down in the fridge for a few hours. Mrs. B., hold my calls, please.Permalink | 2 Comments