Friday, April 24, 2009

Pasta with sausage and thoughts

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.

37 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. I'll be the first to go;

    contemplating
    death
    I chuckle to myself

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  3. Fear of pork? Try baconnaise - http://www.baconnaise.com/ There's no pork in it at all! And try all their other non-pork products: http://store.baconsalt.com/

    I can't guarantee, however, that you won't die of my WV: ropox.

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  4. I will no doubt die from bacterial food poisoning. My favorite food is day-old pizza, left out overnight on the kitchen table.

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  5. That Standford prof did not die that way. Did he?

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  6. I heard the same story, but the prof was from MIT. Which makes sense -- they're rivals.

    GG

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  7. "...when the jury calls."

    Ok, now that you've got a title, all you have to do is write the 21st Century Mickey Spillane novel to go with it.

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  8. I don't think I got past "business end of a bad wiener." I have to go back and read again.

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  9. Live dangerously! That's my motto. (Sort of.)

    I had a roommate who freaked out when I ate a cream cheese and fruit pizza that was left out overnight. Cream cheese is a milk product that already went through a transformation via some bacterial action. What's the worst thing that can happen?

    I want to go in old age in my sleep. Considering my family history it's not likely.

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  10. I had never heard of Baconaise but while riding the bus in Seattle (I usually use my iPod so I won't have to overhear conversations on the bus) I was treated to the entire history of Baconaise and Bacon Salt.

    Jon Stewart said it better than I ever could. 'it's for people who want heart disease but are too lazy to make the bacon'

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  11. There are worse ways to die than by bad Italian weenie. One could pass on from being struck on the head by a gallon sized can of Van Camp's Baked Beans falling from atop the refrigerator. Imagine hearing that repeated by the widow for each arriving mourner at the funeral. I challenge you to keep a straight face.

    comamyst (endless)

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  12. Speaking of bad Italian weenie, the WV here is "hydranti," which must be Italian for weenie.

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  13. Vanda, you and Susan live on the edge.

    Ms H, that's the spirit! Can of beans, I like it.

    Margaret -- legend has it.

    Bandit, I'm afraid to ask how.

    K, at least make it Raymond chandler

    Earl & Wayne, Tangent!

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  14. Thank goodness I am too lazy to go make my coffee ( or bacon for that matter) or it would be spewed all over my computer screen. I don't know where to begin . Business end of a bad weiner or maybe Italian weenie. Baconnaise is intriguing to southerners. It combines the best of both worlds. Thanks Mr. E. As for the sausage KB? Eat it. My motto is that if it's frozen all the bad things have died. And for those of you that worry about leaving stuff out overnight, I always figure if it were a buffet, the food sits out about that long and thousands don't die from attending wedding receptions.
    V
    V

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  15. batteries are safer

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  16. As the sages have said, "One person's tangent is another person's public service announcement."

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  17. Tangentially speaking, I got the quote slightly wrong, Stewart said 'for people who want heart disease but are too lazy........'

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  18. One quick question before I comment: Behind the humor was this piece cathartic too? I might be reading between the lines, but I don't think so.

    Mid-Town G

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  19. Miss Havisham, either you got that from Second City or great minds think alike. There's a Second City scene called "Funeral" where, as mourners arrive, the widow describes her husband's death: "He got his head stuck in a gallon can of Van Camp's pork 'n beans," she wails, in tears. She doesn't see the humor in it, but the funeral-goers can't keep from laughing.

    I want to go like Vanda wants to go. Not like she actually goes.

    WV: cactath--it's like I've got a hairball.

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  20. Hey, didn't Margaret blog about baconaise?

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  21. Midtown G, well, ultimately, we're never going to win at this game, and can't see the point of following the silly rules. But for some reason I'd like to be thought a good loser.

    And don't try to put anything past Petrea.

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  22. Petrea: Margaret wrote volumes about bacon, but I don't recall if she mentioned baconnaise. Sorry I missed the Great Bacon Caper Breakfast.

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  23. Well, everyone is fixated on the bacon and wieners but my thoughts are with the pasta. You can't go wrong with pasta. It's always there for you. Even when your wv is:

    bugnica

    Pasta bugnica. Delish.

    And Margaret, The Darwin Awards are rife with such tales.

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  24. Well, they used to be.

    wv snate

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  25. I tried to find the Stanford or MIT professor who died in such a way on Google, but I could not. I did find, however, an MIT Nobel Prize Winner who died taking under water photos in 6-10 feet of water. He was quite an environmentalist apparently, and was using a new kind of SCUBA gear that was "less wasteful." Unfortunately, he did not turn it on properly, and died from lack of oxygen. Did he not have a buddy near him who would have noticed he had passed out? Reminds me of that old joke that ends, "The smartest man in the world just took my backpack [instead of the parachute.]

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  26. Dear KB,

    Why, from laughter dear!

    '...For tommorrow...'

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  27. I've yet to laugh this much reading a post.
    (Hey, where is a picture!?!)
    A boyfriend in college got furious with me for eating raw bacon (not past expiration date). Seems that an uncle nearly died from that. In the old country, smoked bacon was a regular supper meal - sliced from the slab, with fresh bread and maybe a bit of real cottage cheese. I am making myself so hungry.

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  28. Meaty comments!
    Bandit, death by laughing, I love it and I'll sign up (if we have to sign up at all).
    Tash, don't old boyfriends make the best stories? And roommates. I had a roomie, former-Yugo-nation 2nd generation, who lightly steamed bacon, and served it pale and warm. You're right, it's delicious, and not lethal.

    Earl, Earl, Earl. I want to see that google string. But the reason I think this is true, it was told to me by a Stanford prof (who never lied) and backed up by another (always more sober one). The story was never leaked (leave it alone) to the press. Happened pre-internet.

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  29. Once again I bring back the subject of Dr Roy Walford. He wrote the book "The 120 Year Diet". I showed this tome to a surgeon friend of mine and I'll never forget his reaction, he said "if you have to live on that diet for 120 years, it will feel more like 200". Anyhow, Roy died as your mother did, before he expected to (from Lou Gehrig's disease).
    True Story

    Ramona is fearful also. When we traveled across country so Miss Springfield could attend her High School reunion, my father kept a supply of worry stones handy. Polished stones she could rub to calm her nerves. Even now I have to lie to her when we're in a car together and I plan on getting on a freeway.

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  30. This is the opening to a novel, right? Please say yes.

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  31. I love a good piece of bacon as much as anyone but lordy, the thought of raw, or warm and pale makes me want to expire!

    KB, this has been hilarious. Thanks for all the laughs!
    V

    PS I left a porkchop out last night.( Really!) I put it in the fridge this a.m., but I'm pitching it. Ya'll have taken all the fun out of living on the edge.

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  32. Last I checked, KB, it's still one death person. But there's always exceptions to the rules, and maybe I'll be it - 4 better or worse or 'til death do us part.

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  33. Per the professor: I always felt the most embarrassing way to die would be autoerotic asphixia -- there'd be no way to recover from that one very well! One could also call that the business end of a bad weiner.

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  34. Dear Altadena Hiker;
    Im blown a way reading your blog. Think I can hang around for a while and listen in to your insights and friends. Im an Altadena hiker, too. A new docent at Eaton Caynon, a grandmother, study piano music theory, and love to tea. Don't know bloggin from nothin. How does this work???

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  35. Please do hang out; you'll be our go-to music theorist. There are a couple of people here to be leery of -- just don't look them in the eye and you'll be ok.

    (Love Eaton Canyon. Will have to take your tour.)

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  36. That's why the AHiker wears sunglasses: so as not to look at the resta us indie I.

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