Sunday, February 8, 2009

'K' is for Knife

One day when I was a senior in high school (I think I was 16, but when you read what follows, you'll see it makes no difference if I was 16 or 17), I came home to an empty house. I don't remember why my mom wasn't there, but she left me a note:

There's a pork chop in the fridge. Heat it up in the microwave, but not too hot so you don't get burned. Cut it in small pieces and chew carefully so you don't choke.

It's a good thing she added that last sentence because I had other plans for that pork chop.

On first glance, it would seem that if she were that worried about me chewing carefully, she maybe shouldn't have left me unsupervised with knives. But she's savvy, my mama. Despite many successful dinners in which I cut and chewed my own meat without incident, she must have known I had been secretly biding my time...waiting to be left home alone with meat and cutlery.

My natural inclination is to swallow slabs of meat whole, just to see what happens. To be perfectly frank, I sometimes daydream what it would be like to be one of those snakes that can unhinge its jaws to eat its prey whole. But in this case, my burning desire not to chew my meat carefully (much less at all) was outweighed by my desire to heed my mama's warnings. I mean, how much trouble would I have been in if she came home and I was passed out on the kitchen floor with half a pork chop lodged in my gullet? Though tempting, it wouldn't be worth a week of phone restriction. Yes, it was a good thing she wrote that last sentence.

Nevertheless, I was still a little insulted by this note.

Did she *really* have to tell me not to make the pork chop too hot in the microwave? I'm pretty sure my survival instinct would have kept me from continuing to eat blazing hot meat after singeing my taste buds. In fact, while in a rush to get to class last week, I poured boiling water into my to-go cup with a tea bag. And when I burned myself trying to drink it too soon, I spit it right out. Right out. And I didn't try to drink it again for another hour.

So what was she worried about? I mean, the time I melted craft sponges in her food processor trying to make stuffing for a pillow was still 3 or 4 years away. And the time I cut half the fur off the tip of our dog's tail was easily 4 years behind us. Really, what did she think would happen leaving me home alone with a new pair of foldy scissors and a sleeping basset hound? How she thought my dad managed it while pushing her shopping cart, as I told her, I'll never know.

Anyway, I don't know why she left this note.

Still, I love my mama.