ON MY MIND: Choose your poison

On My Mind | Maureen Burns

“When they do my autopsy, they are going to say, ‘Well, he’s been poisoned many times.’” So said my husband on our drive home from dinner last night.

He was in the midst of telling me how he had finished the peaches that had been in the fridge in a glass jar. They had been there a long time — a very long time — too long, in fact. He said he had them at lunch and noticed they were white in places.

Immediately I thought, “Duh.” Peaches aren’t supposed to be white. Who eats white peaches? And then, of course, I know who, indeed.

He goes on. “Well, they had a bite to them. Maybe they’d been around too long.” ‘Maybe,’ I think?

We laugh over this discussion, but it is serious, I suppose. It has happened again and again in our long life together — the poisoning, that is.

About six weeks ago I made a huge pot of chili. I always think if you’re going to cook something like that, cook a gigantic amount. That way you can freeze it, gift it, eat it, whatever is needed. The work is almost the same to make a lot as a little — so why not do a lot at once. Don’t you agree?

So I made a load of chili. Turned out it was an overload by any standards. My husband cleaned up that night and put the left overs in empty yogurt containers. I don’t usually do that. I store it in Tupperware and then I know it isn’t yogurt.

Time went on, weeks actually. I thought we just hadn‘t been eating our yogurt fast enough as there was a lot in the fridge. One day I opened up a couple and saw that it was chili that had turned green. I tossed it. Little did I know there was still some left that I naively thought was yogurt.

Last week I came home and my husband told me how he had eaten chili for lunch and how tasty it has been. I was a bit puzzled as I knew there wasn’t any chili. At least I thought there wasn’t. He then said how he had loved it, but then when he cleaned up, he noticed the top to the container was all mold. So, he threw the rest out. He said, “I suppose my stomach will start to hurt any minute. Perhaps it will kill me, but it sure was delicious.” What’s a wife to do?

Many of you have had a bad case of food poisoning. You know the kind. You eat chicken or in my case, crab stuffed flounder (I still shudder at the memory). About five to seven hours later you feel not so good and shortly after that you have a long stint of praying to the porcelain God. It ain’t pretty and you likely stay away from that food for a long time. Personally, I really think hard before I order chicken out. Memories really do form the colors of my mind — at least when I am thinking of past food poisonings I have experienced.

My husband never gets poisoned badly. His is usually self-induced and borderline bad. He never prays to the porcelain god. He likely just has minor internal damage that lies dormant and builds on it’s nasty self. He may one day just keel over and people will wonder, heart attack? Nah, just years and years of iffy food choices.

I am not innocent in his possible upcoming demise. I have been guilty of serving him up some nasty left-overs and glossing them over with a bit of cheese. He is such a good man. He eats whatever I serve him without complaint. He is never like our kids who yell, “This is rotten!” They are so snotty and rude.

So, I am not sure where this will end. Will they really do an autopsy and arrest me for poisoning this good man for years and years? Will I find a good enough attorney to get me off? Son? Son? Can you help me?

Is it really my fault that he eats poison when I would clearly advise him not to do it? Can I find him a book of advice? One which says, “Do not eat white peaches. Do not eat chili that has turned green. Do not trust left-overs your wife has covered with cheese.” Not sure I have seen a book like this. Maybe I should write one. God knows my mate has given me enough material.

Choose your poison is an expression that is often referred to when using alcohol. However it can also be meant for other things. It is basically saying that one is faced with a decision between things that will ultimately kill you over use in the long run, ie. the liver damage from alcohol, the lung damage from cigarettes … or in the case of my husband, the damage from eating food gone bad over a period of a lifetime. I guess if the chili is hot enough and the bite from the peaches isn’t too nasty, perhaps this kind of poisoning isn’t that bad of a way to go. Choices, choices, so many choices. White peaches, anyone?

Maureen Burns, a Greenville resident, is a professional speaker and author. Her e-mail address ismaureenburns@maureenburns.com.

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