M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Wednesday, April 02, 2003  

Urban Myth Ground Zero

Stop reading right now.

I’m not kidding.

Just stop.

No? Okay. I warned you.

There was a bug in my wife’s pudding this morning.

It’s still not too late to stop, you know.

Neither of us likes to get up early enough to eat a decent breakfast at home, so we tend to enjoy the most important meal of the day when we get to our respective desks in the morning. I’ll usually have a granola bar or two, and Trash has a little container of yogurt. Today she felt like supplementing it with a single-serving pudding cup (whose brand name I won’t mention pending possible litigation) because some days, one extruded plastic blister full of sweetened goo isn't enough.

So she got her plastic spoon and her pudding cup and she peeled the layer of laminated foil off the top, settling into enjoy a few minutes of smooth, creamy, chocolatey goodness. The advantage of mass-produced, store-bought pudding is that it’s so thoroughly mixed that you know you won’t find any lumps. But generally it isn’t mixed enough to render crunchy insect remains as smooth and creamy as their pudding medium. That’s pretty much the one thing to be grateful for in this situation.

And it’s not a situation where the bug saw an opportunity and leaped in, as once happened to me with an unattended can of root beer and a tremendous june bug that I nearly had to unhinge my jaw to spit out. One second Trash was holding a factory-sealed container, and the next she was looking at a dairy snack garnished with chitin.

She called me, in something of a state. She explained the situation.

“We’re rich!” I crowed.

“Shut up,” she snapped

You know how they say the only worse thing than finding a worm in your apple is finding half a worm? Trash couldn’t tell whether her uninvited breakfast guest was present in his entirety or not, since that would have involved carefully using pointed tweezers to fish out all the legs, antennae, bug guts, and bits of exoskeleton. Then she would have had to reassemble them on her desk, using pudding as the only available glue. Try as I might, I simply couldn’t convince her over the phone to perform this little experiment. Girls don’t like yucky stuff, I guess.

She wasn’t even able to tell what kind of bug it was. Now we’re going to have to throw away the other five containers in the six-pack, because who knows whether our little friend was a tiny creature who only contaminated one cup, or a beetle the size of a fist who is now scattered in pudding all over the Midwest?

I told you to stop reading.

Trash was already paranoid about accidentally eating bugs. I mean, even more than most non-Fear Factor contestants are. We had a small aphid problem in our kitchen a few years ago. Now that we store our sugar and flour in airtight plastic containers they’ve gone away, but Trash still won’t eat a bowl of cereal if the box has been out of her sight since she opened it. Now she’ll never eat pudding again. She’ll probably never eat chocolate again. She probably won’t eat anything at all for the rest of the week.

She immediately e-mailed the company, of course. If she’d had a scanner in her office, she probably would have dumped the contents out onto the platen as proof. To their credit, the company responded promptly, sincerely, and apologetically, letting her know they would get back to her soon with a more complete response. I imagine messages like that kick over quite the anthill of activity at food packaging companies. If you’ll pardon the expression. They’ve promised to make it up to her. I just hope they don’t try to make it up to her with a free crate of pudding. In the meantime, she has to hold on to the evidence.

Which means that tucked away in a dark corner of her office is an open pudding cup that contains all or part of a dismembered representative of the insect-American community. Trash is working very hard not to think about it. Perhaps now you are too.

If you’re thinking you might stop reading now, don’t bother. It’s way too late.

Bon appetit!

posted by M. Giant 3:22 PM 0 comments


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