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Food for Naught

By Jerry Zezima

Refrigerators leave me cold. That’s because I can seldom find what I want to eat.

After moving around all the contents so I can locate the pickles or the pork chops or whatever I am looking for, I have to ask my wife, Sue, where the heck (not my exact phrasing) that particular item is.

She will shake her head and say, “It’s right in front of your nose.”

As a guy with a prominent proboscis, I have often used this as a feeble excuse for my pathetic inability to find anything in the fridge. But she’s always right. The pickles are right there on the second shelf, where even a person who is blindfolded, hooded and wrapped in bandages could instantly locate them.

Sometimes I think I need glasses — the prescription kind, not those that hold beer, which I could use after being baffled by the elusive food in my refrigerator.

So I went to my optometrist, Dr. Howard Weinberg, to see why I can’t see.

“It’s not your vision,” he said. “You have a bigger problem.”

I gulped and stammered, “What is it?”

“You’re a guy,” Dr. Weinberg responded. “I see it all the time,” he added, asking me to pardon the expression. “Men can’t find anything around the house. Your wife can tell you to go into a drawer for a screwdriver and it won’t be there.”

“I know exactly where to find a screwdriver,” I said. “In the liquor cabinet.”

“This is common in men,” Dr. Weinberg said about our inability to locate things. “Every guy I talk to says the same thing.”

“Can you find anything in your house?” I wondered.

“No,” the doctor said. “And I wear glasses, so you’d think I would be able to see where stuff is. They don’t help.”

Dr. Weinberg’s wife, Jill, the office manager, corroborated this alarming claim.

“It’s not a vision problem, it’s a man problem,” she told me. “Even before looking in the closet or the refrigerator, they’re asking where the thing is. They don’t even try.”

“My wife says the same about me,” I told Jill.

“My husband is no better,” she said. “And he’s an eye doctor.”

At least I found my car keys (they were in my right pocket, although I could have sworn I put them in the left one) so I could drive back to the house, which is filled with hidden treasures.

A cabinet, a drawer, a closet, a room, you name the place, it contains stuff I can’t put my finger on (I won’t say which finger) even though Sue tells me the thing I am looking for — a roll of tape, a bag of popcorn or, yes, a screwdriver — is definitely there.

Sometimes it is and I can’t find it even though it’s right in front of my nose. Other times it’s not because Sue moved it and didn’t tell me.

This is especially true of the food in the refrigerator. Compounding the problem is that we have two refrigerators, one in the kitchen and the other in the garage. Dollars to doughnuts, which I can’t find, either, whatever I am looking for is in the other fridge.

Or it’s in one of the freezers atop the refrigerators. I have to remove half the contents to find the sausage links (which of course are the missing links) that I want to cook with the eggs I plan to make for a big weekend breakfast.

When I take items out of the freezer, I sometimes fail to put all of them back, leaving at least one — frozen chicken, let’s say, because we have more chicken than Colonel Sanders — on the counter, where it starts to thaw and drips all over the place.

Sue, miffed at my carelessness, will put it back in the freezer. Or she’ll put it in the refrigerator, only to take it out again, cook it for dinner and put the leftovers in the fridge.

“Where’s the chicken?” I’ll plead the next day while looking for something to eat.

Sue will shake her head and say, “It’s right in front of your nose.”

It’s enough to make me rush back to the refrigerator for a beer. That’s the one thing I can always find.

— Jerry Zezima

Jerry Zezima writes a humor column for Tribune News Service, which distributes it to newspapers nationwide and abroad. He is also the author of six books, Leave It to BoomerThe Empty Nest ChroniclesGrandfather Knows BestNini and Poppie’s Excellent AdventuresEvery Day Is Saturday and One for the Ageless, all of which are “crimes against literature.” He has won seven awards from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists for his humorous writing.

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