And each incident occurred while standing in front of the refrigerator when the freezer door fell open.
The last time was less than a week ago, while I was looking for my water bottle. One minute, I was poised in the soft glow of the refrigerator light satisfying my thirst; the next minute I was buried beneath chicken drumsticks, hamburger patties, fruit-flavored Popsicles, and a frozen Tofurkey left over from our healthy food kick back in the late 1990s.
The reason for these recurring disasters is simple. Even though before shopping I measure the cubic inches available in our freezer, and factor in the rate of ice build-up in relation to our rate of consumption, it’s impossible to pass up a sale on things like pre-breaded, microwavable okra sticks. As a result, I return from the grocery store and try to defy the laws of physics by stuffing what amounts to an entire side of beef into a freezer roughly the size of Barbie’s Winnebago.
So, after recently purchasing a full-sized, stand-up freezer, I immediately began measuring and calculating the dimensions of our new storage capacity. Needless to say, my conclusion was that we needed more stuff.
However, before embarking into the frozen food section of the grocery store, it was necessary to embark into the frozen tundra of our existing freezer — a job that required a blow torch, an ice pick, and more than one call to the Centers for Disease Control. Though avalanches had emptied out most of our freezer’s contents over time, in its farthest reaches were a number of unlabeled Zip-lock bags that had been lying dormant since the unit’s first ice age. These items were no longer be recognizable as animal, vegetable or mineral.
(For our friends who will be joining us for dinner this weekend, disregard that last paragraph.)
In the end, the sum total of our tiny freezer required only one shelf in the new unit, leaving a cavernous void of unoccupied space. I felt obligated to fill this void with pork, chicken, jalapeño poppers, shoe-string potatos, a cow, assorted sea creatures, all members of the dairy family, 16 different kinds of bread, two kinds of waffles, one Zip-lock bag of unknown origin, and an entire case of pre-breaded, microwavable okra sticks.
As I stood admiring my handiwork I suddenly realized there was a problem: our smaller freezer was now empty. So I went back to the store.
For my neighbors who heard that terrible rumbling sound this morning, don’t worry; I’m alright.
And by the way, you can now make that 24 avalanches.
(Ned is syndicated with News Media Corporation. His first book, Humor at the Speed of Life, will be released this December from Port Hole Books. Write to Ned at firstname.lastname@example.org.)