For What It’s Worth

Not my fault…this time

In the nanosecond it took for the open mayonnaise jar to plunge to the kitchen tile floor from my hand, I absolved myself of all guilt, assigned said guilt to my wife, and absolutely banished to oblivion any expletive deleted that might have come to mind or, worse yet, escaped my lips.

To understand and fully appreciate this, you must have a bit more knowledge and context for my reaction to what had just happened when I reached into the refrigerator door, grasped the lid of the mayo jar, and lifted it from its spot in the crowded door shelving. As it turned out, the jar—thankfully plastic, not glass—was not securely attached to the lid. That is, the lid had not been properly and tightly screwed onto the three-quarters-or-more-full mayo jar.

Thus, as I swung my arm away from the fridge with my fingers firmly gripping the blue lid, the jar detached itself from the lid (a high-sounding way of saying the jar fell), hitting the floor quicker than you can say…well, whatever you would say in that instance. Probably 99 times out of 100, the jar would land at an angle or on its side and belch a glob, probably a good-sized one, out of the opening and onto the tile floor, where it would spread far less evenly than I would spread it on bread with a knife.

Not this time. No, sir or ma’am, I don’t have accidents in the ordinary way. That’s too easily done. Instead, the jar did a beautiful swan dive (score it 9 to 9.5) and landed upside down on the tile. And no bounce. Really. It landed so squarely on the mouth of the jar, that it stuck the dive perfectly and remained dead still in the upside down position. I couldn’t have squatted down and slammed the jar into that position any better. No spilled mayo around the jar, no even one small speck.

At least, not until I picked up the jar.

Please understand that it was lunch time; I was preparing to make a sandwich; and my sweet wife, who has agreed to continue in that position, was an arm’s length away from me awaiting her turn to extract something from the fridge. What, I don’t recall. Cheese or yogurt or something.

I looked at her and blurted out, “Not my fault! I didn’t use it last.” Not sure, but I think my exclamation was uttered and on record before the mayo jar hit the deck. Maybe I’m guilty so often that when I’m innocent I have to make it known emphatically and instantly, if not sooner.

For greater context in understanding my reaction, you should know that on occasion (actually, several occasions) Carol (my wife, you may know or have assumed) has cautioned me, “Please be sure the lid is all the way on and is straight.” Sometimes, the lid doesn’t go on the first try or is somewhat crooked and therefore lacking in holding power. I think her polite, though not very subtle, suggestion (directive?) is offered because I tend to pick up the jar by the lid. Don’t you?

For some reason, she has this crazy fear that the lid will come off and mayo will be spilled six ways to Sunday, making a slimy mess. Turns out that unfounded fear was founded.

So, in that fear-filled moment when lid and jar parted company, the first thought that entered my mind was that I had sinned and not made sure the lid was securely in place. But faster than light travels or neutrons rotate, my mind flashed back to the last time we had used the mayo and I recalled that I had not had a sandwich. Praise be! Hallelujah, I had not sinned. It had not been one of the times I put the mayo away in the refrigerator. She had made the mistake. It was an Alka Seltzer moment for me, you know, “what a relief it is.”

I’m not sure who was most relieved. Me, because I was innocent. Or, her, because no vocal outburst came from my mouth and no temper flashed. Actually, we just stared at one another for a moment and then burst out laughing before teaming up to clean up. I lifted the jar and it gurgled, leaving behind a blob of mayo. Carol pulled a spatula from the drawer and scooped up the blob sans only a shiny, slimy, paper thin layer, which was quickly cleaned up with a damp sponge.

The fact that I was innocent this time beat the odds, frankly. I, not Carol, was much more likely to have left the lid not firmly in place. (Being the sweet person she is, she silently allowed me my moment of professed innocence.) However, you can be confident that it will be a long time—make that l—o—n—g time—before I put the mayo jar back in the fridge with a loosely attached lid.

After all, how could I possible hope to duplicate the perfect upside-down landing? That’s at least a hundred-in-one shot.

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4 Responses to For What It’s Worth

  1. Cindy says:

    Did you take a picture of it? 🙂

  2. Donna says:

    So, you’re basing your claim of innocence on your memory alone? I admire your restraint in not letting fly any expletives. I also admire Mom’s restraint in not disagreeing with your innocence, though my guess is that she wanted to. You’re both showing the wisdom of your ages by deciding to enjoy the moment rather than adding to the problem. May I learn from that example!

    • Harry Hix says:

      You may be giving both of us, especially me, too much credit, but it is appreciated. More times than most people may think it is best to laugh at things and move on.

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