So, you know how in olden times, a king had royal food tasters, who would nibble at his food and sip his drinks first in case they were poisoned? Well, as a hypochondriac, my loved ones have become my own personal food tasters for the same reason. They just don’t know it.
And the thing is, I’m starting to feel really bad about it.
Do I actually believe that anybody is trying to poison me? Nah. I’m not that important (although, I have a freeze ray, blue prints and a glue-on mustache that will say different one day). But hypochondria is a funny thing. And when I say funny, I mean certifiably crazy. Hypochondriacs believe that every burp is going to be their last, because every burp is a symptom of something whacky like spontaneous combustion.
So, I’ve grown this absurd fear of food over the years. I treat every meatball, bottle of water and kumquat with suspicion (although never trust a kumquat).
If I think the cap of a bottle of orange juice didn’t twist off just right, I won’t drink it. If one chocolate chip cookie in an entire bag of chocolate chip cookies has four chips, and all the rest have five, I’ll convince myself that it’s been compromised. And if the employee who had packaged the cookies were near me, I’d have to interrogate him or her Jack Bauer-style until I was convinced without a doubt that nothing was wrong with it.
If a breakfast sausage isn’t the right shade of sausage, well, you get it.
It is important to note that I hate to waste food. I think it’s wrong. So, that’s where my loved ones come in, and it all gets so much more wrong.
It is hard for me to recount the first time I ever did this, because I’ve done it so many times.
One day, I was in my kitchen and grabbed one of those cranberry Nantucket Nectar juices from my refrigerator. I twisted off the cap. The pop rang out. So far so good. Hearing that pop only makes me thirstier. Then, I pressed the mouth of the bottle to my lips and took a sip.
Something was not quite right. The taste was different. It was small, but, I convinced myself in a sudden panic, there was something un-cranberry about it. Gasoline? Antifreeze? I couldn’t visibly freak out too much. My girlfriend at the time was sitting right on my living room couch. But something about this drink scared me. Was it arsenic? I wanted to drink the rest of it, but how was I to make sure it wouldn’t kill me?
“Hey, honey, want some of my juice?”
Okay, so I wasn’t that cold, but she did notice what I was drinking, and it just so happened to be one of her favorites.
“Can I have some of that?” she asked.
“Sure,” I responded, and watched her take a big swig from the bottle. Okay, so maybe that was still really cold.
But, don’t worry. She didn’t drop dead, and I was able to finish my juice just fine. We are even engaged today. But probably not after I publish this piece tomorrow.
I’ve done this with burgers, rice, cookies…everything. And friends, family and co-workers have all unknowingly made sure that my food isn’t lethal.
Just this morning, I wanted to make scrambled eggs, but as soon as I laid eyes upon the container, I became mistrustful. When I opened it, though, I saw that about five eggs were missing. Other people had already eaten some, and as far as I knew, none of them had become deceased.
Breakfast was back on!
I’m a horrible person, right? Will I never stop? I’m trying. But, more likely, I won’t, and I’ll just have to become king of something and be more obvious about it. At least then I’ll be entitled and not a cold-hearted whack job.