Tuesday, February 03, 2004

What have I done?

I've become hooked on the local .99 cent store. It's the worst possible place for an impulse shopper to go to, though. I have to drag myself out before I end up buying a ton of Vienna sausages or a dozen pairs of sunglasses & eight wall calendars. Seriously. Eight calendars. Every time I go.

I had been in the store one day & noticed that the little old lady in front of me was purchasing gallons of squeezable cheese. Literally. A while later, I was hungry for nachos. I don't know why. Subliminal messages from the Government? Aliens? It is possible - after all, I wasn't wearing my Aluminum Foil Deflector Beanie. Regardless of the origin of my nachos jonesing, I found myself back at the .99 cent store, with a bag of tortilla chips, a can of chili with a faded label (I'm hoping it was chili - they do sell Alpo there, too) & a bottle of nacho cheese flavored squeeze cheese. I resisted the urge to grab two bottles of the cheese & was grateful for that rare display of willpower later.

I got home, mouth watering in anticipation of the Mexican delicacy that I was about to partake of. I should've known something wasn't right when I removed the safety foil. I looked into the bottle, anticipating seeing a creamy, cheesy, artery clogging delight. Instead, I was greeted with by the sight of a substance with the consistency of bathtub caulking. Yellowy-orange bathtub caulking. With flecks of green & red. I was concerned, at this point, that I may have accidentally picked up the wrong bottle. I placed the squeeze top back on the bottle & put some of this substance of questionable edibility into a cup so that I could warm it up. I
thought that a little microwave action might make it a little softer.

Now, let me tell you a little something about me - I have a cast iron stomach & can stand a pretty high degree of grossness without getting queasy. And I'll eat just about anything. This is no exaggeration.

This stuff, however, put my intestinal fortitude to the test.

I squeezed the bottle. And squeezed the bottle. An shook the bottle. And squeezed the bottle again. Finally, the cheese started oozing out. What it looked like, Loyal Reader, was not something you'd want to put in your mouth. I'll not go into a description of what went through my mind, other than that I kept thinking "Oh my goodness, I'm going to be sick!"

My desire for nachos overrode my gag reflex, though. I mixed the cheese with a spoon, trying to make it look more appetizing. This, unfortunately, stirred up the smell of the cheese. This did not help matters. A glob of the cheese stuck to the spoon & I was unsure of how to get it into the cup without touching it. I tried shaking the spoon into the cup, tapping it on the rim, but no matter how hard I tried, the cheese/caulk mixture would not release it's grip on the spoon. My only other options were to scrape the concoction into the cup with my finger or to just lick the spoon off. The thought of consuming this stuff without irradiating it first was not a pleasant one. And, not wanting to touch it made scraping the spoon off less than desirable. But, I figured I could at least bleach my finger if I touched it. So, I commenced to trying to force the quickly hardening mixture into the cup, all the while holding my breath so as not to inhale any of the noxious fumes coming out of the cup.

I finally got the stuff into the microwave, still fighting the urge to gag & seriously thinking of just having chili & tortilla chips. But my hunger for nachos & a hope (misguided as it was) that the cheese would improve after I warmed it up kept my from discarding the dairy based horror that was currently being nuked. Oh, the things I'll do when I set my mind to something. Finally, it finished cooking. I took the cup from the microwave & attempted to pour it over the chili & chips. Note that I said "attempted." When I tilted the cup, the cheese would not budge. I kid you not, I think it actually crawled further back into the cup. What I feared would happen seemed to come true - I had inadvertently given the squeeze cheese/caulking compound sentiency by filling it with radiation. It was exhibiting signs of self-preservation!

I prodded the now self-aware cheese thing out of the cup & onto the chili & chips (I think it screamed at me at one point). It seemed that for every scoop that I took out of the cup two replaced it. Now, not only was it refusing to come out of the cup, it was also regenerating! I had a full blown Fifties B-grade horror flick in a coffee cup. At this point, I definitely did not want it to touch me.

Like in most Fifties sci-fi movies, something ended up killing the cheese/caulkmonster (I hoped). I don't know if it was exposure to th air or the chili or the fact that I'd stabbed it with the spoon a couple hundred times, but the thing quit moving & regenerating itself. I mixed the cheese/caulk-a-ma-jigger with the chili & started eating it. Amazingly, the chili managed to mask the cheese flavor. Unfortunately, there ended up being more cheese than chili, so I was left with a few globs of that foul stuff on my plate. I ate a bite or two of it with just a chip, but had to wash the rest down the sink. Even now, it may be mutating in the sewers of Yucaipa, biding it's time & regenerating until it's grown big enough to consume the whole city, making its way down into the valley, eating everything in its path! Oh my stars & garters...WHAT HAVE I UNLEASHED UPON THE WORLD?!?!?


So, the moral to this little story, Loyal Reader?

Just because something's only .99 cents, it doesn't mean it's a good idea to eat it.