Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Not-So-Silent After-Spring, by Not Rachel Carson

Remember when I was fairly sure that Genius was slowly poisoning himself with film developer chemicals his fingers left around the edge of the quart of pink lemonade he commandeered from me?

The saga continues. Genius was only here for the day. He left that half-full jug of pink lemonade on the cutting block. That Monday morning, as I was getting The Pony's lunch ready at 5:00 a.m., I smelled the film developer. At first I though it was just a left-over smell in the kitchen. But every time I moved near the cutting block, it was stronger. I saw that lemonade, and sniffed the white plastic lid. OH YEAH! The poison was strong on that one. I grabbed a paper towel so as not to contaminate The Pony's lunch, and then grabbed that evil lemonade jug and dropped it in the trash, the paper towel following it.

The next morning I noticed the smell again. Huh. Right around the cutting block. Darn that Genius! He must have had his hands all over it, and must have set his jugs of chemicals over there, too. Every morning it was the same thing. I'd get a whiff. Strong. Near the cutting block. Poor Pony. Now I was slowly poisoning him by putting his metal water bottle on the cutting block to add ice, and compounding the crime by setting his sandwich container there just before inserting it into his lunch bag. Not to mention his mini bag of Cheetos that I tossed onto the cutting block from the pantry until time to pack the lunch bag.

Short of sanding that six-inch-thick slab of butcher block until it was a mere sheet of laminate, then sealing it with a clear coat, I don't think there's a way to get film developer chemicals out of a thick wooden cutting block.

Yesterday morning, as I packed The Pony's Cheetos, a wave of guilt washed over me like the very strong whiff of film developer chemicals. Huh. Funny how it was so much stronger now, even after a couple weeks went by. I sniffed that Cheeto bag. WHEW! That was almost overpowering. I got a damp paper towel and wiped it. I really had to get to the bottom of this. I leaned over to where the Cheetos had been laying. Maybe I could cover up that area so food didn't come in contact with it. That's when I saw it.


Somehow, I had received a free sample of Perk in the mail, in a small manilla envelope. I never ordered it. I let that envelope languish on the kitchen counter by my purse for a week or two. I thought Genius had ordered some tiny gadget. Then The Pony said, "Uh. It's addressed to YOU, Mom!" So I let him open it, and it was the car vent air freshener little plastic thingy, in shrink wrap on cardboard, about the size of a quarter. You know. Suitable for hooking onto your car vent.

When Genius was here for the day, I asked him if he wanted the air freshener thingy for his truck. "Oh!" Genius loves free stuff, now that he has to pay. He opened it and sniffed it. "No. You can have it." He laid it back on the cutting block, among the paper towel holder, The Pony's comb, two mini plastic bats full of gum that he didn't want, a bag of tortilla chips, and a college recruiting postcard for The Pony.

Last night, Genius called to ask if I would pay for a new magical graphing calculator that will prevent him from doing calculus or some advanced brainy math stuff by hand. Since he has his tuition and room and board covered with scholarships and his RA deal, and owed $-1,843.00 this semester, I agreed. I told him how I was glad he was still able to function after imbibing all those film developer chemicals.

"WHAT? I didn't drink them!"

"I think you did. You should have smelled the lid on that lemonade."

"You're ridiculous!"

"I even had to pick up the jug with a paper towel and throw it away so I could quit poisoning The Pony every morning when I made his lunch."

"Heh, heh. Now THAT'S funny. Poisoning The Pony."

"Well, he's fine. But you'll never guess what I figured out this morning. It was the air freshener thing you opened and left on the cutting block!"

"Heh, heh! I knew I didn't get chemicals all over the cutting block."

"You must have touched that air freshener when you opened it, and had it on your hands when you drank the lemonade. That smell was strong!"

"Yeah, well. I like how you were poisoning The Pony!"

At least that made him happy. Genius had his nose out of joint because I did not write enough about his visit. It's not like he still lives here and can compete with his dad for my material.

No wonder he didn't want that air freshener!


  1. I thought I was the last person alive who knew who Rachel Carson was...

    If your family's love of chemicals is genetic, you'd better sop up any puddles of antifreeze from the garage as soon as they happen.

    Otherwise, who knows what kind of thirst that colorful liquid could attract...

  2. Whaty kind of air freshener smells like poisen? Eue de Joisey?

  3. That air freshener thingy sounds like the LSD laden tattoos of the 60's. Be careful, be very careful.

  4. I'm having difficulty imaging what this thing smelled like. It's been a lifetime since I fooled around with developing chemicals. Pretty bad, I imagine.

  5. Sioux,
    Being all sciency and stuff, I know of Rachel Carson. Never read that book, but I get the gist of it.

    The chemical possible poisoning is purely accidental. We never even needed Mr. Yuk when Genius was a toddler. He steered clear of those tempting bottles under the sink in favor of peeling the labels off 1,087 videotapes.

    I think you've got it! And I bet it's made right there in Jersey!

    Since I didn't have any LSD tattoos laying about my crib, I am not experienced in the psychedelic culture. I will learn at your knee, and take heed.

    Those chemicals had what I would call a chemically smell. Hope that cleared things up for you. OR, you can go buy yourself that free Perk: Absolute Zero car vent air freshener, and you'll know for certain. Use that lottery money I sent you in the mail!

  6. Good thing you didn't put it in your car!

  7. Kathy,
    You ain't a-woofin'! I can still smell it now, all the way down in my dark basement lair, just thinking about those fumes.