Sam and Ella, or Lessons Unlearned

[Warning: There is no inner-realization, finding of one’s self, or character building in this blog entry. It is just a recounting of some uneventful happenings. No wisdom is passed on. No truths are discovered. You should probably stop reading now.]

I don’t think life lessons usually get learned unless someone has experienced loss or suffering. Obviously, we learn the biggest lessons when we miss great opportunities, when someone close to us dies, or when we make huge mistakes. If we survive, we tend to emerge somewhat damaged but significantly wiser. Our hindsight and regret help shape our future decisions and allow us to grow as individuals.

But what about the little lessons? There are loads of bite-sized morals that we learn every day, and yet we repeat the same mistakes over and over again. For example:

  • Eating too much Halloween candy will make me sick
  • Not rinsing the blender right after use will make it impossible to clean
  • Drinking water right before bed means waking up in the middle of the night to pee
  • Facebook arguments lead nowhere and only make me miserable
  • Etc., ad nauseum, and on and on, et al,  ibid., x1000000000000000.

This weekend I went grocery shopping and somehow managed to forget one bag in the trunk of my car overnight. I didn’t worry too much, though, since the bag contained cereal, gluten-free bread, and canned tuna.

Oh, and one family-sized package of deli roast turkey.

The weather’s been rather cool recently, holding steady in the single digits (Celsius) during the day, and dipping below freezing at night. That’s almost like a refrigerator. Normally, I wouldn’t have given it another thought, except that the next morning the temperature had risen to 11, and by the time I discovered the missing bag, it had gotten up to a balmy 15. Any sane person would have thrown that package of turkey out right away, so of course I opened it up, peeled off a slice, ate it, and waited.


Nothing happened. 24 hours later, I was still fine. I have since eaten a sandwich containing the same turkey slices, and so far, so good. (We’ll see if I have to edit this later.)

I do NOT recommend that you try this the next time you leave perishables out by mistake. I know better than to do what I did. I’d completely freak out if I saw either of my kids try it. I fully deserve to have food poisoning right now, and yet I’ve been spared the agonies of a good bout of gastro thanks to dumb luck and possibly some unpronounceable preservative ingredients.

Everything I know about hygiene, bacteria, health risks, not to mention my own disgust with cooties and germs, ought to have been enough to make me throw it away, and yet my unwillingness to get rid of a brand-new, family-sized (that’s at least twice the normal size, y’all) unopened food product led to me making a risky decision that fortunately turned out okay. Will I be so lucky next time?

Wait, “next time”? I’m doing this again, am I? I think we all know that the answer to that is probably. If this ever happens in the future, I’ll most likely do the same thing until the day I actually get salmonella and find myself on the “Both Ends” diet. Then perhaps I’ll have learned my lesson and rethink my frugal ways. Until then, who knows what other crazy food risks I’ll take? I’ve got some questionable Brie and Coutances in my fridge. If cheese is already a mold, is moldy cheese really that bad?

I’m kidding, I’m kidding. (Sort of.)

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