So I was cooking up some Italian sausage and happened to glance at the package. Three months past expiration date. Oh sure, I had kept it frozen – after all, I picked it up from Trader Joe's, and no doubt these sausage were ready to expire as soon as they dropped in my ecologically-dubious canvas bag.
But still, what if they hadn’t frozen properly? Or maybe you’re not supposed to freeze sausage. Pork products -- what an embarrassing way to die. You spend decades of your life on games of chance, tempting fate, loving, leaving, losing, weeping, laughing, sailing, exploring … and how does it all end? On the business end of a bad wiener.
If the rumor is true and we do all die (my jury’s still out on that one; please don’t talk or try to influence my jury), at least put that pig in a cashmere blanket.
The yardstick against which all embarrassing deaths must be measured allegedly rests, as so many records do, with Stanford. A physics professor built himself an elaborate auto-erotic device, a master nerve center with tentacles of wire and plugs, suction cups, and … oh, I don’t know, it’s a guy thing.
Anyway, one day proved very unlucky. A lightning storm, or maybe a power surge, hoisted the professor on his own petard, electrically speaking. He was found, still attached to those he loved.
My mother was terrified of death, which in turn made her terrified of danger of any kind. I trace my fear of pork products straight back to her.
We kids were always getting carted off the the doctor for sniffles, and told don’t jump or cross or dive or do any of the things we all ended up doing in spades. (If you really don’t want your children to take chances, tell them to take chances.) One time, off the coast of Corona Del Mar, I had my own private lifeguard rescue and when I got on the beach, Mom slapped me hard. She had frightened herself straight into fury.
And of course, there is no justice. Mom, who took the best, best care of her insides and outsides, ended up with an insidious hereditary disease and died young.
Hemingway was famous for his concept of a clean fine death. Or a nice clean death. Or something like that. If I have to go, I hope it's not a suburban drop – car crash, for example.
Probably doesn’t matter, may not be an issue, may never happen at all. As I said, the jury is still out on that one. Well, truth be told, I'm the one who's out when the jury calls.