By Steve Barber
About fifteen years ago, my ex threw me out and I got to re-experience the joys of bachelorhood. You'd probably be surprised at how well I took care of myself. I did the whole nine yards--shopping, cooking, laundry. I got so good at it I could have given Heloise tips. A couple years later I met Hunny and things changed.
See, Hunny has no faith in me whatsoever. By that I mean she refuses to trust me for even the simplest tasks. For example, she's convinced I'm incapable of running the vacuum, making coffee or even filling an ice cube tray. “You'll do it wrong,” she says to me. Naturally, I do what I can to encourage that kind of thinking. That's why I was surprised the other day when she agreed to let me go grocery shopping.
Daughter # 1 and her brood were coming over to meet our new dog, and we figured a Sunday brunch would be in order. Unfortunately, we don't cook breakfast much anymore, so we were out of even the most basic staples. But I had some free time on Saturday and Hunny was busy pretending to work when what she was really doing was playing Bejeweled on the computer. So, much to my shock and dismay, she agreed I should go to the store. I considered feigning injury, but then thought, Wait a minute. This is only breakfast stuff. How hard can it be? We're talking about things like eggs, bacon and juice, right? Piece of cake. Besides, it's not like I've never been to the store before. So I sucked it up and headed out.
We needed maple syrup and I found the aisle right away. But the label on the first bottle said, “Contains High Fructose Corn Syrup.” That left me confused. Why would corn syrup be in a maple syrup bottle? I pawed through several other brands, but they were the same. I finally found one that claimed to be “Pure Maple Syrup,” but it cost more than the GDP of Denmark, so instead, I closed my eyes, grabbed one randomly and tossed it in the cart.
"Milk," I said to myself. "Milk will be easy." Little did I know milk was no longer just whole or skim. Now milk could be low fat, no fat, 2 %, ½ %, ultra pasteurized, soy, lactose-reduced or acidophiles. Does anyone even know what acidophiles means? By this time I was starting to hyperventilate.
Maybe I'd calm down in the orange juice aisle. How can they screw up OJ? I thought. The last time I'd bought orange juice there'd been two kinds--frozen and fresh. But as I stood there surveying my choices I saw before me low acid, high acid, low pulp, no pulp, double pulp, vitamin C, vitamin D, Organic and Calcium-added varieties. And guess what? Almost all of them had High Fructose Corn Syrup.
Right then, right there, I lost it.
Hunny had been right all along. I had no business in a grocery store anymore. So as I ran screaming out the door, I wondered how I was going to explain to my grandspawn why we'd be eating our pancakes at IHOP. Then I remembered they're both girls, so I figured they'd understand.
Steve Barber picks on Hunny a lot and some of it might even be deserved. The rest is all lies, of course, but what else would you expect from someone who's spent half of his adult life pretending to be an evil, undead Chihuahua? In his rare, lucid moments, Steve writes funny stuff and horror stuff because he doesn't see much difference between the two. You can check out his seldom updated blog at http://whatdoyoumeanishouldstartablog.blogspot.com/, and read his latest short horror story, Arkie Studabaker's Very Bad Day, in the anthology No Rest for the Wicked, (Rainstorm Press), which will be coming out any day now. A.n.y. d.a.y....