Crackers

Crackers: (n) thin, crisp biscuits

 I think I was forty years old before I discovered crackers.

I was well aware they existed—as a boy we would buy a box, and I’d see my parents nibbling on the little pieces of crunch-crunch. I remember trying one and nearly spitting it out because of its lack of…Well, its lack of everything—flavor, texture, color, will…

The only time I ever ate crackers before the age of forty was when I had an upset stomach and people said to me, “You should try eating some soda crackers. They’ll settle your stomach.”funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

So I did exactly that. I tried eating soda crackers.

The queasy stomach passed before I was able to eat more than two. Crackers have a great similarity to carbon dioxide—they are colorless, odorless and tasteless. Matter of fact, we once kept a box in our cupboard for so long without eating them that they turned green with mold—which is difficult to achieve since they have no yeast to promote such a misadventure.

Then one day, shortly after my fortieth birthday, someone brought over a delicious dip. It was in that era when everyone was trying to outdo each other with the number of layers in their concoction. They started out with five, and then there were nine. On this particular night, I think it was an eleven-layer dip.

There were no potato chips available and the bringer of the multi-layer phenomenon had only provided crackers. I thought I might be considered a little bit gauche if I sunk only my fingers in the dip to gain the flavor.

So I tried the crackers.

It was astounding how well they worked and how good they tasted under the circumstances of being completely mounted and controlled by the dip.

I learned a lot that night.

I guess I could sum it up best by saying that even “crackers” seem to have value when you have enough “dips” hanging around them.


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Clench

Clench: (n) a contraction or tightening of part of the body.

Most of the time, things work the way they’re supposed to. Just stop for a second and think about that.

Even though we might want to portray that life is bumpy, it’s really more like a pothole every hundred miles.

In our everyday existence, food goes into the mouth, is enjoyed, digested and gradually finds a normal exit. Yet every once in a while, the system is disrupted. A
little bit of chicken is left out too long. A jar of mayonnaise welcomes in unfriendly microbes.

For whatever reason, our stomachs suddenly become very upset. (Huh. I guess that’s why they call it an “upset stomach.”) At that point the human gut is single-minded: “Whatever is in me needs to get the hell out as quickly as possible.”

As you well know, there is a northern route for this process and a southern route. Sometimes it’s better to go north. Yes, regurgitation is very unnatural but very quick, and produces some immediate relief. If not, you will wait a little longer for the bowels to become completely possessed.

Now, as a typical person, I have found myself driving a car, sitting among friends or nowhere near a bathroom when one of these fits and contortions decides to invade.

At that point, I clench my buttocks.

In more merciful moments, the body sends a notice that “there is a flood coming to Johnstown, Pennsylvania,” but relents to the clenching, disappearing for a few minutes, hopefully providing enough time for me to get to an appropriate disposal.

But every once in a great while, the body has absolutely no willingness to be clenched. I guess it would be accurate to say that the bowels suddenly have a mind of their own. The brain sends an urgent message: “The dam is about to break–protect all women and children!”

If you are willing to heed the warning, you might make it to the toilet of your choice.

But if you don’t listen and you think one more clench should do it, you more than likely will find yourself religiously sitting in your own “pugh.”

 

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