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Forget furry fridge friends

The inspired authors of the Bible intimately knew some underlying cyclical essence of human nature when they made the passage of any seven units of time the pretext for so many significant events.

Humans can delay gratification of things like the creation of the world, forgiveness of debts, the start of a new week, and cleaning out the refrigerator only for the count of seven. Greater postponement results in jumping the gun in a rush of expectation, or comatose complacency.

Noting that the latter threatened to blind me to necessity, I disinfected my icebox, seven years, roughly, since the last thorough wipe-down. In retrospect, I could have happily waited eight.

Beginning at the bottom, I removed items that came willingly. Then I cornered and coaxed a variety of specimens that had grown wild, some of which ran out on their own. Finally, I surgically extracted unidentifiable foods that, in touch with their Zen, but interfering with my chi, had become one with the refrigerator shelf; so much for harmonious living.

As I worked my way upward, sanitizing as I went, I realized that we didn't have as much food as I thought; at least not in an edible form. On the bottom three shelves, the remaining selections amounted to one apple, edible if someone sliced off the dark, mushy spot, half an onion, three eggs (questionable as to date of purchase, but not yet sulfuric), and a container of expired, but sealed, yogurt (I'm willing to take some chances).

Needless to say, it got hairy in there.

Along the way, I made several vital scientific discoveries, which I pictorially documented and intend to send to any journal of moldology that will accept my submission. For example, I cultivated a rare, putrid, black, spotty mold that grows only on broccoli casserole. The green bean casserole hosted grayish-blue fuzz, while the one piece of meatloaf wrapped tightly in aluminum foil oozed pink slime.

After I tossed, chased, scraped, and wiped, and safely disposed of possible combustibles, the HAZMAT team still refused to release my kitchen from quarantine.

When I started on the top shelf, I could at last see the light at the back of the refrigerator. By this time, however, the kids had come home from school, done their homework, eaten the good part of the half rotten apple, turned their noses up at the leftovers for dinner, taken baths and gone to bed. And I stood in the kitchen feeling deep remorse over ever embarking on the project at hand.

In a careless effort to finish the task before the break of another day, I haphazardly shifted things around to clean behind and under them, moving those designated for disposal to the fore. That'll teach me to slack.

A precariously placed plastic container of pasta sauce teetered on the edge and plummeted, in slow motion, bumping every sparkling, white surface on the way to the floor. Particles of purplish pulp posted on practically everything, including me. I shall spare you the details of what I said next.

After giving the splattered interior a cursory once-over, I slammed the door. My mother, wise beyond her years, was right when she told us kids not to stand there with the fridge open. Mom, I promise I won't do it anymore.

Needless to say, I didn't bother to peek into the freezer to assess the disarray. That can wait another seven years. Because neither I nor the Shadow knows what evil lurks in the heart of the Frigidaire.

And neither of us have the courage to find out.



Web posted on Thursday, April 21, 2005











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