Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Bowl in the Back of the Fridge

There are some ancient horrors waiting to trap the unwary. In the cold of mid-winter the ancients would use the light of the sun with industry and sit next to their fires to fend off the demons of frost and dark. They faced fierce fang and claw, antler and hoof, placing meat before their families-keeping them warm and safe.

The dark did not change. The cold did not change. But as laziness is the mother of invention, our forebears looked for an easier way.

Electricity could make light without the smoke of oil, and without the danger of fire. Electricity could heat without the work of chopping wood or hauling coal.

Refrigeration meant that one could hunt one day and not have to throw away the meat that didn't cure well or get canned. Fruits of summer could be kept frozen for winter. Even daily food could be over prepared and saved for the next several days.

Less work, fewer fears.

Except the bowl in the back of the fridge.

It lies in the dark most of the time, out of sight, lost in forgetfulness. Only when the door is opened does the light shine and the vague recollection of conscience push at our awareness. Ofttimes the mind puts on an active burst after the head is on the pillow for night but before sleep.

A remembrance of the bowl. A promise to get to it in the morning.

But those last fleeting moments from where all the good, true, and noble ideas spring are lost in the forgetfulness of sleep.

Everyone has to face this fear of a new generation: a generation with electricity and refrigeration; a fear unknown to the farmers and hunters who lived off the land by the sweat of their brow. The fear that has no real name, but is known by its container, and its location:

The bowl in the back of the fridge.

It is a testament to our age. It is a vile smell to a conscience that should be more sensitive. It is the grotesque reminder of a gift wasted. It is the onerous and primal duty of the head of the house to clean:

The bowl in the back of the fridge.

But you know, sometimes they can be quite pretty.