My mom is the Queen of Expired Foods. Somehow, that gene skipped a generation and mutated. The Pony is the Prince of Damaged Goods.
Every week The Pony goes shopping with me. He doesn't have a choice. As I push the cart up and down the Walmart acreage, I send The Pony on missions for forgotten or far-flung items. He is quick and efficient and non-complaining. However...
Items chosen by The Pony have serious packaging flaws. I don't know how he does it. One would think that perhaps The Pony picks through the shelves for the least desirable unit, in order to end his weekly sentence in grocery shopping prison. That would be assuming that The Pony puts effort into anything other than computer game play and science fiction writing.
I have taken to inspecting objects The Pony brings before allowing him to place them in the cart. I always regret my lack of diligence when it comes time to put away the items at home. The Pony is an equal-food-group slacker. It doesn't even have to be food. Shampoo with a leaky top, Puffs With Aloe sporting a crunched corner, Tide trailing out of the box, National Enquirer with ripped cover or uneven center staples, spaghetti noodles box with an open flap, dented can of Cream of Chicken, flapping label white albacore tuna, bread loaf misshapen with a V in the side, Oreos cracked in half...The Pony has selected them all over perfectly sound specimens. It's like a sixth sense with him.
The Pony is a picky eater. He is not one for vegetables other than a baked potato, or carrots in a roast. He will, however, consume fruit such as strawberries, grapes, apples, bananas, and canned pineapple chunks. I sent him to grab a couple of pineapple cans off the shelf. We buy the kind in natural juices, so Hick can also indulge. The cans showed no dents or label rippage, so I put them in the cart. Imagine my surprise two days later when I went to open one and read, Pineapple Chunks in Heavy Syrup. I called The Pony to the kitchen.
"When your dad comes in, make sure you tell him not to eat the pineapple because it will kill him." Okay, maybe that was a bit dramatic, but I didn't want The Pony to forget. He hears Hick come in the front door, and I sometimes do not. It's a long way from my dark basement lair.
"I'll tell him."
"Why did you get the kind in heavy syrup?"
"It's all they had."
"I don't think so. I'm sure there were other brands. If you had told me, I could have gotten them at Save A Lot. Even though their cans aren't flip-top, and I have to give myself carpal tunnel with the can opener."
"I'll eat this kind. Next time we'll get some for Dad."
Later in the evening, I saw that The Pony had left about half of his chunks in the white coffee cup with a Christmas bear on it that he prefers for eating his pineapple. "Didn't your want your pineapple?"
"Not really. It's too sweet."
Sometimes, I want to pop him on the forehead with the heel of my hand, like that frowny little toddler girl does to her mom in the V8 commercial.
When The Pony sees how successful my proposed handbasket factory is, he might want to go into business with his grandma. Ye Olde Expired Food Shoppe and Beat to Crap Merchandise.
Maybe Hick can hook them up with some auction meat.