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golden iced lolly

Filed Under , on May 30th, 2015

Perishable Relics

By Seth Kabala

The explorer burst into the temple at a run, breathing hard from the exertion. She skidded to a stop and scanned around, willing her eyes to adjust quickly to the dim light. The ancient guardians of the temple were fast on her heels, their heavy footballs echoing off the ancient stone, growing louder every second. Any moment now they would overtake her, reclaim their sacred relic, and kill her.

But she held the trump card: she had deciphered the scroll, the key to unlocking the invisible vault. The footfalls were now thunderous, ringing in her ears like a klaxon blast. Storing the relic would give her time for things to settle down, figure out her next move, and retrieve the relic when she had studied its uses. But there was that warning about it leaving the grasp of its new possessor too soon. What was the  exact wording? No time. She found the vault, stashed the relic, and dashed out of the temple.

A year later, she returned to the invisible vault. Inside was nothing but ash.

* * *

We’re always after our children to finish their food when they sit down to the table, or when they take said food out to the porch, down to the sidewalk, around the back of the house, over into the neighbor’s yard, and any other place it might travel at our behest. (If you have figured out a way to keep your kids at the dinner table for the whole meal without resorting to threats that would have made a Cold War Soviet general proud, please let me know.)

I’ve come to accept (have lost resolve, preferring to devote my passionate arguments to defending issues of merit, such as the supremacy of generic toaster pastries over brand-name Pop Tarts) that it is a fruitless battle to try to confine all eating to the prescribed meal and snack times. Leniency is required.

Now, this doesn’t mean I ascribe to the notion that all meals should be buffet style or shove-it-in-and-shove-on-out, as in a competitive eating contest. What it means is I’ve realized the “starving children in Africa,” “mold growth,” and, most notably, “errant, hungry falcon jetting through our dining room” arguments for motivating my kids to eat quickly and remain stationary while doing so are full of logical holes, which my kids readily identify and, to my chagrin, exploit.  Alas, the unfortunate side effects of having intelligent offspring. Tough to maintain KGB-level respect/fear when the authoritative body underlying your arguments is revealed to be the thespianic concept of Hyperbole and his oft-sighted companion Desperation, or, as Stephen King said in his novel Duma Key, your parenting prowess shows the structural re-bar skeleton of “hum a few bars and I’ll fake it.”

This produces the realization that the location of eating and duration spent therein pales in comparison to THAT eating, sufficiently nutritious and voluminous, is taking place. My kids have yet to blow away when a strong gust of wind whips across our porch. When I look up in the sky and remark on the remarkable resemblance yonder kite has to a human, and upon closer inspection, realize my child is aloft, I’ll worry about said child’s weight. But if that occurs, equally likely is the possibility that said child will solve the equation to overcome gravity, rendering any response from me unnecessary.

I still abhor the wasting of food. I’ve stopped short of requiring the grinding of couch cushion refuse into a soup base, but we can bring this back to committee discussion, if necessary. There are, however, times when food is wasted not as the result of wanton carelessness, but because of simple ignorance, hilariously so, of scientific principles coupled with the capabilities of modern appliances and the scope of their intended functions.

Case in point: a refrigerator is an inappropriate place to store an uneaten popsicle. I know this. I think it’s fairly plausible to assume that you know this. But my three-year-old daughter, Ella, is blissfully ignorant of this.

Ella didn’t finish her after-dinner popsicle, so she put it in the fridge for later. The fridge. In the morning, I found a puddle.

Take pains to keep your treasure close and enjoy its efficacy while you can.

Science (or magic) may take it away without warning.

Ash makes for a poor after-dinner snack.

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Seth Kabala

About: Seth Kabala
Seth is an entrepreneur, writer, musician, family man, and juggler of balls--big ones. He lives with his wife and three children in Portland, OR.

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