How could I know that butter would be my undoing?
Our days are so often filled with those seemingly inconsequential decisions dictated to us by heritage, DNA, and the chemistry of our own evolution from hagfish, that precipitate the unanticipated cascade of events that taken together form the framework of our lives—roads less traveled and all of that mush. I have no idea what that last sentence means. I blame my mouthy Irish ancestors for its very existence.
What can I say? I like butter on crackers—a lot of butter. I blame my love of oily spreads on my socialistic Danish ancestors and their love affair with lard.
Having been lured to America by wild tales of endless opportunity and vast bottomless vats of cheap, available bacon fat, my fair skinned people left their native fiords and quaint fishing villages in Scandinavia and with little more than two nickels in their pockets and a lot of recipes calling for large amounts of grease, they came. They came, and they settled in Chicago where they immediately went to work, played accordions, and smeared butter on crackers.
Passing their Danish butter-loving heritage down to their children and grand children they taught us to think of butter on crackers as a viable alternative to junk food—junk food not having been invented yet, and so I like great globs of butter on crackers; it comforts me, which horrifies my McDonald’s hamburger swilling children.
Buying butter is in my blood—so to speak.
Which is why I almost died at Walmart in front of the dairy case where they store tubs of, you guessed it, butter, butter substitutes, or vegetable oil spreads.
In a brilliant scheme for sopping up spills, floods, drips, and leaks Walmart now uses sausage shaped bags of absorbent beads about the size of guinea pigs—the bags not the beads; think, baby diapers for puddles. Unfortunately, like baby diapers, these soaker sausages have a carrying capacity and then they explode, forming a beady oil slick capable of launching battleships or dislocating a little old lady’s hip. When I hit the puddle of exploded greased beads and my legs slid to opposite legs of the store, I could feel my hips doing odd and uncomfortable things; I could also feel my throat screaming.
In that slow motion moment I had two thoughts:
1) Thank goodness I take Zumba (a Latin based exercise class requiring the frequent and even excessive use of one’s hips.)
2) Who should I ask about getting the security tape for download on YouTube?
Several people pointed at my screaming dilemma as I clung for my life to the lip of the butter case, straddle legged as a new born foal, and one employee came over to ask me if I was okay—also to blame corporate headquarters for their new policy of using the super soaker sausage beads.
No one thought to get a mop.
Later, as I reflected on that out of control cascade of consequences of having been raised a butter loving Dane, I realized that my whole life had passed before my eyes, and that a majority of said life has been spent buying vegetable oil spreads—also butter substitutes.
Frankly, the entire incident made my blood boil, a reaction I blame on my Native American heritage, a heritage typified by the hunting of large sharp fanged mammals for their grease, which my ancestors proceeded to rub into their own hair.
Linda (Woman Down in Dairy!) Zern