Tuesday night is garbage eve at our house and that means time to search the fridge for any inappropriate food expiration dates.
In bachelor days the food under my jurisdiction benefited from a more permissive attitude, particularly if it was just a couple of days past the expiration date. Leftovers and aging fruit knew they'd get a sympathetic hearing from me. What's a few days and little bacteria between a bachelor and his food supply?
Legend has it that some of the missing children on the milk cartons in my fridge had grown up and had missing children of their own by the time I took the last swig of milk.
My spouse takes a more hard-line approach to questionable food. Spare the garbage can and spoil the food is her guiding principle. If you are a carton of milk or a head of lettuce in my wife's refrigerator you had better look, smell and act fresh if you want to see the fridge light bulb go on and off one more time. There is no wilting or curdling on her watch. Even the canned goods in the pantry start to get nervous at our house on garbage eve.
Early in our fridge-sharing days I tried to argue that those dates on the food packages were "sell by" dates not "consume by" dates but I fear my arguments couldn't be heard over the sound of expired food getting tossed into a plastic garbage bag.
Fortunately, I can adapt to most any philosophy, so I quickly fell in line with the new refrigerator regime.
So when I spotted a brown pizza carton in the refrigerator one night I thought I'd identified a prime candidate for the garbage can. I opened it up and found that it was empty. We were merely refrigerating the empty cardboard box.
On a hunch, I interrogated the 11-year-old in our house.
"Did you put the empty pizza box back in the fridge?" I asked.
"No," she said with an innocent look on her face. "I never took the box out of the fridge."
Well, she had me on a technicality. She had removed the last piece of pizza from the carton without actually taking the box out of the refrigerator. The letter of the law is alive and well in the O'Rourke household.
When the pizza perpetrator reaches the teen years a lot more precision is going to have to go into how questions to her are phrased.
"Surprise, surprise, surprise," as television's Gomer Pyle used to say. Ty Inc. may not discontinue its popular line of Beanie Babies after all.
Just before Christmas, the manufacturer of the soft, bean bag creatures said it would "retire" its incredibly successful line of stuffed toys. This is the company that has somehow convinced its consumers that these little toys will appreciate tremendously in value in the coming years. Many of the Beanie Babies fanatics talk about their little creatures' value as if they were stuffed with diamonds instead of beans.
Ty Inc. later amended the decision to retire the stuffed toys and decided to allow the toys' fans to vote on whether production should continue. Well, the on-line election results are in and 91 percent of the consumers wanted the toys' production to continue.
Toy analyst Chris Byrne summed it up best.
"It's the spirit of P.T. Barnum, still alive," he said. "How do you milk even more publicity out of a 4-inch stuffed toy."
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