The only time I’m not reading, writing or thinking deeply about something is when I’m fishing or sitting on the back porch at the end of a long work day.
During these times, when my wife asks me what I’m thinking, and I say, “Nothing,” I’m not hiding anything. I’ve shut down and zoned out for a while.
I can’t do that just anywhere, which is why I can’t stand sitting in a doctor’s office. The reading material there is limited to boring medical journals and women’s magazines. They never have Field & Stream or Outdoor Life. I do recall one magazine article, though, in which so-called medical experts called for Congress to require warning labels on foods.
I can relate to that, but not for the reasons these quacks wanted government intervention. Their concern was about the fat content in fast-food fries and hamburgers, or what they called “heart attack on a plate” regarding an Italian restaurant chain’s chicken alfredo. I don’t worry about stuff like that. As I’ve said before, all things in moderation (except brussels sprouts, avocados and rutabagas).
When I think about warning labels, I’m thinking like the lady who discovered the hard way that a certain burger chain’s hot coffee really is hot. My label would simply tack onto the Truth in Advertising Act.
Several years ago, my son-in-law introduced me to a Texas-based hot sauce that he referred to as “butt burner” sauce. He said it was hot, but hot is one of those relative words.
After slashing several dashes of this special sauce in some Mexican-style black-eyed-pea soup that my daughter made, I found out this sauce is capable of burning you twice. The sauce bottle should have a warning label that explains you’re going to feel a little heat now and a lot of heat later.
I know I’m not the only guy who’s chomped down on a slice of piping-hot pizza only to have his tongue and roof of his mouth melt instantly and become one with the lava-like cheese dripping from the slice. Pizza should be served with warning labels, or at least with microphones and loud speakers so my wife’s warning, “It’s hot!” can be heard above the rumblings of my stomach as it urges me to take that near-fatal bite.
Last year, we were having pizza in Fayetteville, N.C., with my son and his wife. My son and I grabbed slices just as my wife and daughter-in-law’s passive warnings simultaneously echoed, “It’s hot!” Due to stomach rumblings and the fact that our noses and taste buds were blocking our hearing, my son and I chomped down on our pizza. My hearing cleared up right away, and I was able to hear my daughter-in-law say she understood where her husband (my son) “got it” from. A simple written warning might have saved us several minutes of embarrassment and a few days of blistered misery.
My wife would tell you that fish should come with warning labels. Even if it’s a fish stick straight from the box, my wife will find fish bones, usually when one pokes her in the gums or roof of her mouth. For years, I encouraged her to order fillets, only to hear her complaint that whoever prepared the fish failed to remove all the bones. My insistence that she wasn’t supposed to eat the bones was heard as clearly as her warnings to me about pizza.
Whenever she cooked fish that I caught, they had to be carefully filleted. To me, this wasted a lot of the fish, so I taught her how to eat fish cooked with the bone in.
“Just reached here and pinch off a chunk of fish meat between the top and bottom fins,” I told her. “If you do it right, you won’t get any bones.”
She tried it, and then got pretty good at it. Now I have to catch more fish than I used to because she’s eating more fish. She still prefers her fish be a fillet, though.
I think she’d still like that warning label to remind her about the bones she’ll inevitably find again soon.
Email Murray at email@example.com.