One of the most alarming things that can happen to someone is that of spilling food on their pants. This is particularly upsetting if the food happens to be of an amorphous nature, which is the case in today's example where the food was mashed potatoes. The pants were my father's.
Before I get into that, I have to explain how mysteriously things can get spilled on their way to one's mouth. It's a dangerous journey. I mean, just the other day at my sister's wedding reception I had a mishap of this type, and it wasn't even with the éclairs if you can believe it. I had been sent out to get chips and salsa from Los Hermanos by my brother Mike. He found me in the food preparation room minding my own business:
"Have you been in here the whole time? And what's that on your face?" he asked. I might add that his tone was a bit pretentious. I would've answered had not my mouth been obstructed by something. Actually two or three somethings to be more precise.
"That's chocolate! You've been into the éclairs, haven't you!? Those are saved!" My brother's deductive reasoning powers never cease to amaze me. I took the open éclair box off of my lap and put it back on the table to please him, but not before smuggling 2 more into my jacket pocket.
I still hadn't swallowed the last 1 and a quarter éclairs so I remained silent as he continued his somewhat critical speech.
"Alright, here's twenty dollars. Go get us all some chips and salsa. At least that'll keep you away from the éclairs."
By this time I had finished the éclairs hindering my vocal abilities. "Thanks," I said, taking the twenty dollars, "I won't let you down."
"Just don't eat any more éclairs. You can have what's left after the reception. Hey! What did I just say!?"
"I'm just taking half of one and that's it," I said in my defense.
"Okay, that's fine."
As I left for the chips I realized that I neglected to tell him that now we only had 2 boxes of éclairs left. Wait no, just one. I forgot about the one I stowed under the seat in our van. It shouldn't have been a problem though; I only ate about half of that last box anyway.
Later that night, several members of my family (myself included) were eating the chips and salsa in the back room. Although it was pretty crowded, no one seemed to want any chips from the bag I was holding.
"I have plenty of chips left," I offered. They looked at the bag of chips I was holding and then gave me that look you might give someone who has recently sprouted a tennis racquet from their forehead. You know that look.
My brother Dave was the first to respond, "Well, actually I'm getting pretty full. Thanks though." Everyone else then chimed in agreeing that this was a mutual feeling for all of them.
After briefly feeling my forehead for any abnormalities I replied, "Alright, that's fine. More for me, then. But if any of you change your mind there's plenty to go around." I can't say that I wasn't bummed that they hadn't noticed and taken advantage of my newly developed technique of conserving chips. It was actually really simple. I'd just hold the bag of chips under my mouth as I ate and the extra chip pieces would fly back into the bag. For me, this usually yielded at least half a bag of chips that otherwise would have been wasted. It's a shame my family overate and couldn't have some of my extra chips.
For a short while the room was silent except for the periodic crunching of my chip-eating and chip-conservation technique until my brother Dave spoke. "Wasn't there some bread outside?" He asked Mike.
"Yeah, I think so. Let's go, I'm starving." He answered.
The room was cleared except for me in about 15 seconds. Which is impressive because there was only one exit and about 20 people who had to get through it. I was pretty grateful for this because just then I looked down at my shirt and it had several salsa stains running down it. When did it happen? How did it happen? No one knows. And that's the mystery of the food stain.
I was reminded of this whole concept today after dinner when my dad happened to be the victim. Now you may say that this is nothing unique for him, and therefore not worth noting, and you'd be right. However, this time was a little bit different.
We had finished dinner without incident and my mom had gone to her room to take a nap. My dad and I were putting away the dishes when suddenly he started moving very quickly, mostly in a circular fashion.
"If you used some of that speed in doing these dishes we could finish a lot quicker." I commented. He was not amused.
"Get me a napkin, quick! There right behind you!" He can be pushy sometimes.
"Alright, alright." I handed him several napkins. He bent over and began to furiously wipe his left pant leg off. This didn't seem to be anything outside of our regular dinner routine so I thought nothing more of it until I glanced down and saw what he was trying to get off. Actually, it wasn't so much what he was wiping off (which was mashed potatoes as I said earlier) as how much there was.
"I'm going to need more napkins!" he said.
He was right. There must have been at least two or three potatoes in mashed form clinging to his pant leg! Undoubtedly they contained much ranch dressing in them as well (don't ask) which can stain horribly. Hence his desperation and maniacal behavior in trying to clean off his dress pants.
Just then, my mom jumped back into the kitchen with one of those greeting cards that when you open it it plays a low-quality version of some popular song. This one was Wild Thing by The Troggs. One of my mom's favorites. She opened it and began dancing around my father's hunkered body. Yeah, she's weird sometimes.
"I just love this card! This song is on of my favorites!" Told ya.
I must add that someone in my dad's sort of situation tends to lose all of their sense of humor for a short while. At least that's what I interpreted from the look he gave me when I tried to inform him of the humor attached to this experience of his. I didn't stop laughing on the inside.
After it was all over, I think it was a good experience for all of us. For one thing, I found out I have pretty good reflexes. Also, I'm sure my mom will start talking to my father any week now. The mashed potatoes weren't too hard to clean off the wall either. However, my mom's hair is a different story...