Dazed and confused? Not me. I’m just Lost in the Cheese Aisle.

Monday, June 22, 2015


If I am not for myself, who is for me?
And if I am only for myself, what am I?
And if not now, when?
- Hillel the Elder

If I cannot laugh at myself, everyone will laugh at me anyway.
- the Bard of Affliction

Every once in a while, Yours Truly will do something so boneheaded that I have to tell people about it... even if I am, so to speak, the butt of the joke.

So this morning I’m in the garage, screwing the refrigerator’s light bulbs back in. (Yes, we have an extra refrigerator in the garage. We also have one in the basement. Weird, but useful for storing all the crap that won’t fit in the main fridge.)

“Why are you monkeying with refrigerator light bulbs, Elisson?” Inquiring minds want to know, I am sure. Simple: I had unscrewed the bulbs so that Dee’s brother Aaron, who had been visiting us, would not violate the Sabbath.

Turning lights on and off is considered by observant Jews to be an unacceptable form of work on the Sabbath... and Aaron is observant. So unscrewing the bulbs would allow Aaron to raid the fridge between sundown Friday and sundown Saturday without causing the refrigerator lights to come on. (While not particularly observant myself, I nevertheless try to be knowledgeable about the Law so that I am at least aware of all the rules I may be breaking at any given time.)

But now it was time to put the bulbs back in operating mode, and there were a couple of bulbs that were located such that I had to back the car out of the garage to get to them. (They were tucked behind a drawer that cannot be removed unless the fridge door can be opened all the way, and when the car is parked in the garage it obstructs the door.)

So, with car backed out, I crouched down and removed the drawer. But as I reached for the bulbs, I was startled by the sound of the car horn in full alarm mode.


Startled is perhaps an understatement. I jumped three feet in the air, and in doing so dislodged one of the shelves from the refrigerator door. BANG. SMASH.

It was immediately obvious what had happened. No, nobody was trying to break into the car. When I had crouched down, I had somehow managed to activate the key fob’s panic button. A real Feckin’ Eejit move.

Alas, the shelf I had knocked down was loaded with various bottles of This ’n’ That. There were mason jars of moonshine and of various pickles - pickled garlic cloves, pickled Fresno peppers, et al.
There were various syrups and preserves. And they all survived... except for one bottle of Vietnamese fish sauce.

If you are not familiar with nước mắm, you should be. It’s a staple ingredient of Southeast Asian cuisine, similar to its Thai cousin nam pla, and is made by fermenting anchovies in brine in the fierce Southeast Asian sun. To call it fragrant is an understatement.

Dee and I spent a goodly amount of time sweeping up the broken glass, mopping the garage floor, and anointing it with bleach in an effort to eradicate the vile fishy stench. We have not, as of this writing, succeeded.

Our garage now smells - as Dee put it - like an Asian grocery store. I’m sure any number of other analogies will occur to my Esteemed Readers and Commenters. Have at it.


Kevin Kim said...

"A man may fish with the worm that hath eat of a king, and eat of the fish that hath fed of that worm."
—Hamlet, Act IV, Scene 3

And betimes doth the fish, thought departed, return in force to haunt thy days and nights.

leelu said...

"Hi, ladies. I'm home!"


LeeAnn said...

That's a much nicer description of fish sauce (which I love) aroma (not so much)than H gave me the other day while I was attempting again to cook using it: "It's like Jeffrey Dahmer started a home-based OB-GYN practice in July, got bored and move to Switzerland and left the windows closed. I'm going to get pizza."
Which is what I really wanted anyway, so fish sauce is a success in my book.

Oh and, sorta same topic, a recent bedside table read of mine introduced me to "garum", the fishy condiment originating in ancient Greece and nearby parts, from which, according to the book, ketchup descended. Rotted fish intestines was the base. I still flinch when I have french fries.