Sound familiar? That’s my very loose paraphrase of a Joni Mitchell lyric. It came to me the other day (Sunday-but that really doesn’t matter) when I ran out of sriracha. I knew I needed more earlier, but I thought I could manage a few more weeks. And it was going great. Every time I used some-on eggs, potatoes, in ramen (which BTW, I learned how to make this year. Well worth the effort) – I always had some left, until the tell-tale SPLORCH-PLLLLH! Sound indicating that my luck had run out. How long did this streak last, I wondered? I couldn’t remember the last time I had bought some. The label was quite worn and faded, but upon careful examination, I was able to locate the best-before date.
July 2016. Wait! What!?
So apparently, the best-before date is just a serving suggestion. That stuff don’t go bad…That got me to thinking, “Why am I not sick?” No, actually I was thinking about what else we have that runs out when you least expect it.
- Propane tanks: When barbequing, you never really know what’s left-until you check on your burgers and they are half cooked. Don’t want to trade in a tank that still has some? Always have an extra tank.
- Plastic wrap: I looked at my roll and I thought that I needed some soon, so I bought the rolls x 3 at [insert name of favorite big box warehouse store]. That was years ago, and I’m still pulling out wrap from the old one.*
- Batteries: Stock up and forget about them, they’ll slowly lose charge until you need them, of course.
- Ice cubes: You always have too many until you don’t, and it’s always the slightly musty one in the ice tray.
- Lightbulbs: Why are there so many different kinds and why do I have everyone but the one I need?
- Dental floss: When do you know you’re out? When you pull out a piece about the length of your thumb and you hear the Ziiing!
- Toilet paper: There is always a roll underneath the sink, right? Please be right. If I could just reach…a…little…more…
- Change: Who carries change these days? But I need to pay for parking and I only have 2 quarters.
- Air: You know, like the stuff in your tires (OK, that one was a bit of a reach).
- Wine: Sometimes you just need a glass. Just not happenin’ today.
In regard to point #5-I’ll give you a moment to count-here is an apt Miniscules cartoon from earlier this year:
*At the time of writing, I was still extracting wrap, but two days ago I finally got to the end of the roll. The last few inches/centimeters/cubits turned out to be a foggy, semi-translucent, nom-clingy sheet, which I thought to be a little anti-climactic. There should be a prize, or at least a printed “TA-DAH!”
Leon Stevens is a composer, artist, and author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures, The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories, and Journeys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar