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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Today In My Refrigerator ...

I found a can of CheezWhiz in the frig door. I don't remember buying it, so it's probably pretty old. The can is dinged up and I can't find an expiration date, but I just have to try a quick squirt.

Damn, that's good ... not really good tasting, kinda like the rubber soles that peel off of really old sneakers. But good, like cool ... cool food.

There should be a "cool food" section in the supermarket and a corresponding "cool food" compartment in every refrigerator. At the store, this aisle or section should look like part of the U.S.S. Enterprise, with lots of metal, conduits, and pulsing lights. At home, even the most basic model of frig should have a stainless interior area with see-through doors and specialized cubbies and movable partitions.

And what would go here ... CheezeWhiz, squeezable condiments, GoGurt!, Dippin' Dots (freeze dried ice cream), that sqeezable peanut butter/jelly mix, nasty vegetable drinks that taste like delicious fruit, Magic Shell ice cream topping (because it is the essense of cool), aerosol whipped topping, spray-on salad dressing, and any other food with a unique delivery or storage system that I forgot.

I think this desire for uniquely-delivered edibles stems from my childhood fascination (okay, obsession) with aerosol cans. It started at an early age ... about four. Deodorants, hair sprays, air freshners ... if it had propellant I was into it. I was like an addict but, surprisingly, not once did I ever think about inhaling the products or trying to concentrate the fumes ... even when I was older and knew about that craze. I think I just enjoyed the action of pretending to spray things from my hands, kind of like Spider-Man. And the sound ... that sweet hissing sound that accompanied my aerosol play ... it was like pixies whispering in my ears to keep being naughty.

But my freaky hobby was not without its perils. Both my parents did not like the fact that household products kept disappearing or turning up empty after just being purchased. I remember one incident with my mother ... she worked part time and would walk to and from her job because it was only about six blocks away. She worked two evenings a week and one summer evening when I was probably seven, I couldn't fight the urge to share my passion with the tree that leaned up against our back steps. So after checking to see that my sibling babysitters were engrossed in whatever was on TV, I slipped through the back screen door armed with two nearly-full cans of Pledge. I distinctly recall my plan ... it was probably going to be about 20 minutes before my mother started for home, so I had nearly a half hour to "change the tree." I somehow got it into my head that by spraying the tree with the fruity-scented dusting product I was going to make the tree smell like that forever ... maybe even start growing fruit from its branches. So I found a knothole in the tree and just started spraying away in staggered strokes. I had almost emptied both cans when my mother, sounding like an enraged bull, came zooming out of the backyard darkness and ripped the cans from my grasp. It seemed she had left work a few minutes early and, about two blocks from our house, knew something was wrong because "the whole goddamn world smelled like lemons!!"

And then there was my father. Dad didn't really get involved in the whole aerosol crisis until it mutated to include his shaving cream. I must have thought I was exceptionally clever to build all those shaving cream shapes in the bathroom sink and him being none the wiser, as if he were eternally perplexed at how fast his stockpile of Colgate was being used up. I even decided to help out the family once by "waxing" the bathroom floor with his shaving products. He came looking for me that unfortunate day ... wearing socks, mind you ... and went from a searching vertical father to a painfully horizontal monster. I don't think I ever saw him that pissed the rest of his life!

When I was about eight, I invited my neighbor, nine-year-old Brad, into the inner sanctum of aerosol worshippers. And Brad had a pellet gun. Brad expanded my world through gunplay ... we would steal aerosol products from both our households, take them down to a creek near our primary school, float them in the water, and then shoot them. When a can was pierced, it was amazing and magical the way it would shoot through the water, sometimes spiraling up on land. Sometimes reversing and coming back toward us. We had our own little Kennedy Space Center where every launch was a spectacular failure. I miss Brad ... I think he eventually got interested in matches and my Mom called our friendship quits.

I don't think my parents sent me to a therapist for my spray-can fixation, but I think they may have found a more subtle form of mind control and applied it. As I look at my life, I notice that my cleaning shelf contains only dust "wipes" and multi-purpose cleaning "sheets." I use a gel deodorant and Glade Plug-Ins, and my shaving cream comes in a squeeze tube. I don't even use non-stick cooking sprays because I think they make food "taste funny."

So maybe the possibly-ancient CheezeWhiz I found actually tastes like gourmet cuisine ... it's just the hypnotic suggestions implanted long ago by my parents still hard at work.

POINT OF RANT: We all need to do our part to protect the ozone layer and the environment, even if it involves mind control.

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