Tuesday, December 22, 2015


I live in a small town. There is one game in our town when it comes to grocery shopping and buying cheap fire ant killer. It’s a box store of highly recognizable signage. I shop there. After all, it’s the only game in town, and now that I’m older and closer to death, I find that driving to other towns to shop at their only game in town is a lot less interesting. 

I don’t waste time sorting my silverware either. I figure if the only way you can tell the difference between a fork and a spoon is to have them sorted into specially shaped plastic slots, I’m not sure I want you eating at my house anyway. 

The Walmart in my town keeps my family in cooking oil and silverware. Amazon and the Internet do the rest.

The problem is that I can’t seem to get out of the only-game-in-town without causing some kind of scene. I don’t know why. It’s like being the town dunce. I always wind up embarrassed and feeling like it would be better if I were sitting in a corner, wearing a pointy hat. 

I think it’s because I buy a lot of cooking oil. Because . . . well . . . I’m pretty sure that our government has sold all America’s surplus cooking oil to Iceland. I have no proof. But I really like home cooked fried chicken, so I worry, and I tend to stock up. I don’t buy good cooking oil, but I buy a lot.

And I drop it after I pay for it. Twice. It’s happened twice. 

The first time, cheap cooking oil, bottled in cheap plastic, slipped through my fingers like oily sand. Well . . . actually . . . the bottle dropped right out through one of those plastic shopping bags that had started to bio-degrade before I’d finished paying for the cheap crap in the bags.

The cheap green cap on the bottle of cheap cooking oil exploded off the top like a bullet, and oil glugged out onto the floor—everywhere. 

I screamed, “Hurry. It’s oil.” 

Walmart employees screamed, back, “Don’t touch it. Do. Not. Touch. It. Get back. Get back.”

They acted like I’d spilled a bottle of sarin gas. It made me wonder what they’re putting in the cooking oil at Walmart.

I just wanted to fry some chicken—not overthrow Iceland. 

Anyway . . . that was the first time.

Today, I did it again: same cheap oil, same crazy plastic cap bullet, same yowling employees acting like I’d just dropped a canister of mustard gas, same giant pool of spreading, smeary canola oil.

That’s it. I can’t take another oil bomb incident. 

I’ve got to look into Amazon’s cooking oil shipping policy or maybe Ali Baba. 

Linda (Fry Cook) Zern 

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