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Meals and utensils and straws, oh my!

Bluely rinsed on October 7, 2012.

This past Monday, Wikipedia informed me that “meals occur primarily at homes, restaurants, and cafeterias, but may occur anywhere.” I wondered if a meal had ever occurred inside a can of spray paint before, or perhaps inside a propane tank. Had a meal ever been served on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, or the bed of the Nile River? Had one ever been eaten on the point of a sharpened pencil, or off the nose of a clown? Or beneath the tail of a cat, or atop the hinge of a door? Or on the thorax of a butterfly, or in a crack in a sidewalk? Wikipedia provided no answers; I was left wondering—and wonder I did.

The Wikipedia article went on to explain the origin and meaning of the inscrutable phrase “from soup to nuts.” Up until right then, I had never known what the hecklegroober that expression had meant—and I had never known where to ask, either. Forever grateful to the Wikipedian gods of editing, I resolved right there that I would express my gratitude later in the day by becoming a prolific Wikipedia editor myself, improving every article that I came across to include a mention of the evil Fendippitous Eggmen, my oatmeal cookies and their spies, and/or my unending devotion to Monica Lewinski’s feet. Based on nothing other than my own keen intuitions, I knew that at least 35% of Wikipedia articles could be improved by a mention of at least one of these topics. And for the remaining 65%, there was the squirrel-fox-dingo.

Sufficiently enlightened by the “Meals” article, I moved on, next reading Wikipedia’s extensive article entitled “List of eating utensils,” a gripping tail from chopsticks to trongs, by way of sporks, spifes, and even the rare knorks. The article listed every form of cracker known to mankind: The nut cracker, the crab cracker, the cookie cracker, and even the rare cracker cracker. I did know that the spork had been invented by Benjamin Franklin in 1647, but I was astounded to learn that an instrument known as a “knuffel” had been briefly popular in northern Europe between 1979 and 2006. Composed of three metal tines bent to form a triple helix, surrounded by two serrated blades each of which ended in a small ceramic bowl, the knuffel had gone out of fashion only in 2006 due to its unfortunate connection to a disastrous pie-eating contest held in Bermuda that year.

Wikipedia is so full of wonderful new facts, factlets, and factoids! I smiled, sated with knowledge. I again moved on to another article to read and absorb with my sponge-like mind. And now I wanted a crab cracker.

Wait!” I gasped, clicking the back button before the “Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo” article could load fully. I realized, aghast, that something was missing from Wikipedia! I scanned the exhaustive list of eating utensils again, and sure enough, I was right: It was missing!

Grinning devilishly, I clicked “edit” and… waited. And waited… and, yes! Unlike the last time, when I was locked out by the distant and malevolent gods of Wikipedian editing, this time I would actually be able to modify the article! I squeed with near-orgasmic glee and set about feverishly clicking and clacking on my keyboard at flunce!

A few relatively lengthy minutes later, my new entry was complete. “It will be glorious…” I whispered, in awe of the pile of letters, numbers, punctuation, accent marks, and other symbols which I had so eloquently amassed into words, clauses, sentences, and things purporting to be paragraphs… and which I was about to mercilessly unleash upon the teeming hordes of Wikipedia readers the whole world over. My finger hovered over the button to save my new article…

“Wait…” I paused in mid-inhale. I pondered, pensively. My brow furrowed. My fat, bony finger continued to hover, millismoots above the enter key’s glossy beige surface. My piscine lips frowned. “A speculum isn’t an eating utensil! Oh, shazbut!” My latest gaffe wasn’t as embarrassing as that time I had thought Nicki Minaj’s “Come on a Cone” was about her straddling a traffic cone, but it did come close. (Did come close… on a cone.)

More agug than aghast now, I sheepishly closed the editing form without submitting it, and turned to another article for further amusement and enlightenment. “Special:Random” was my friend today—my special:friend. In the article that loaded, also utensil-related, Wikipedia blithely informed me that “a ‘crazy’ straw is hard, transparent or translucent plastic and has a number of twists and turns at the top. When liquid is sucked through the straw, it quickly flows through the winding path, creating a mildly interesting spectacle.” I wondered what this mildly interesting spectacle was, and if it compared to the spectacle of blasting SIM cards out one’s anus or tooting the Popeye theme song from the selfsame orifice. After much rumination, I concluded that it didn’t compare at all. Did the spectacle compare to a speculum? I suspect not!

Reaching the end of that fateful “Drinking straw” article, I found myself suddenly enmeshed and enmoozled in a truly perpeleptic fit of granfalloonerous laughter, when I learned that there exists a socio-political movement in the United Spates to persuade people and businesses to stop using disposable plastic drinking straws. The silliness of it all didn’t quite reach the levels of Mrs. Farnston’s recent petition to ban women from wearing flip-flops in the presence of minors, but it sure was close.

I guffawed merrily for sixteen whole minutes, which segued into a cheerful bout of giggling, tittering, and—dare I say it—sniggering for another twenty-three. Finally I howled like a hyena for eight more minutes as I scrolled down the anti-straw site’s homepage and saw that a whole three businesses and forty individual humans had signed the group’s pledge to abstain from disposable plastic drinkery utensilry.

I was only snapped out of my ubblabumptuous grumnuttery when my doorbell hooted for attention. Chuckling still, I rose from my chair and mooblesauntered to the downstairs center front door. I opened it. Ugh: Fate must’ve been in a truly sadistic mood today, for it was Mrs. Farnston again, with a clipboard in her hands and a scowl on her wrinkled face that could kill merrymaking from miles away. The last bits of mirth bubbling up from my bosom died in my throat. I was thankful self-control had returned, lest I give the old blue-hair an excuse to start once again circulating her petition to ban mirth anywhere within the city limits.

“Why, good day to you, Mrs. Farnston!” I affected a style of speech appropriate to the century she still thought she lived in. “What seems to have brought you to darken my doorstep this wond’rous afternoon?”

“Sign this,” the old crone croaked in her old-ladiest voice. She thrust the clipboard in my face. It was a petition condemning Mayor Julian Rhoodie’s recent support for same-goat marriage and demanding that the city government only recognize one-man, one-goat marriage licenses: That is, the only kind of marriage that was approved of by God (according to the local chapter of the Distemperance League, of which Mrs. Farnston was the chairwoman and longest-serving member).

“I’m sorry, Mrs. Farnston, but I can’t sign this petition either,” I replied, handing the petition back to her, “Some of my best friends are goats.” Her scowl deepened into a downright glower. I decided to change the subject: “My, Mrs. Farnston! That is a striking shade of blue you’ve made your hair today!” I wondered if the old biddy had made sure her curtains matched her drapes. I continued: “Now, does the whole brigade o’ blue-hairs in this town get together and have one big rinsing party, or is it sort of a contest between you old crones to see who can g—”

She harrumphed in her crabbiest of airs, turned, and stalked away with her katsikaphobic petition in tow. I smarmed a bit and retreated back into my palatial abode so that I could continue to browse Wikipedia and titter like a pigtailed schoolgirl.

Phillip Norbert Årp: 1. Ol’ Prudence Enid Farnston: 0.