Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.

7/13/2006

Freshness Dates

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun,Personal,The Network Geek at Home,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:06 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

I’ve been cleaning up my house.

No, that’s not a metaphor for a damn thing. I’ve literally been cleaning up my house one room, one closet, at a time. A couple of weeks ago, I got down on my hands and knees and cleaned my bathroom floor right to the baseboards, getting every stray hair, human or dog. My fingers were pruney with bleach-based cleaner and my tile floor was white again.
I also cleaned my kitchen, but not quite with the same intensity as the bathroom. I still need to do the floor, but I did tackle the counters and refridgerator and pantry. It’s amazing to me that I’m still finding food left over from when I was married. Yes, that’s not a joke or an exageration. I lost count of the mystery items that I’ve thrown out of the freezer. And, the other day, I pitched some Slimfast and UltraSlimfast shake mixes. I know these weren’t mine, because, well, because they’re just not the sort of thing that I would think to buy for myself without a little “help”. They were chocolate and chocolate malt flavors and I was tempted to try them to see if they’d help me lose weight.
They smelled okay and were mostly still powdery, but the humidity had obviously not been good for them. I let them sit on the counter for a good three days before I made myself check the date on them. They stopped being “good” in 2003. I still let them sit on the counter for another couple of days before I threw them out. The whole time I was debating what to do with them, I could hear my mother and grandmother admonishing me not to waste food. I mean, they still smelled okay, right? And, Slimfast has got to be mostly chemicals anyway, so would they really go “bad”?

It was a game that finally got me to see the insanity of what I was doing and throw the cans out. As I opened one again to smell check it, and confirm the expired freshness date, my inner-eye flashed to a role-playing game I used to love called Gamma World. It’s a post-apocalyptic science-fantasy game filled with rogue robots and marauding mutants. There are countless dangers waiting to kill off unsuspecting and careless player-characters, not least of which was canned food. Yeah, old food from the time of Ancients, before the great wars that destroyed the Earth and made plants into deadly perils to be approached warily. Cans with no labels or unreadable freshness dates that could be a village’s salvation, or deadly poison that would kill everyone who ate it. Only a lucky roll of the dice would tell us for sure. But, intelligent characters stopped taking the risk.

I still have the original rules for that game upstairs on a shelf, but I threw out the Slimfast. Just in case.


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently."
   --Henry Ford

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