Containing her frustration

January 19, 2013 

Years ago, beloved humor columnist and author Erma Bombeck gave the perfect answer when, after an exhausting day of work, errands and laundry, her youngest child asked, “Mama, where do all the missing socks go?” Responded a weary and impatient Bombeck: “They went. To Live. With Jesus.” This explanation had worked very well for assorted dead hamsters, guinea pigs and goldfish in the past and, yes, it worked for socks, too.

Does this also explain the wacky abundance of mismatched plastic containers and lids in my kitchen cabinets? Did their mates go to live with Jesus? How is it possible that there are six square “bottoms” for sandwich keepers and only three square tops, none of which fits any one of the six bottoms?

I realize that there are more important matters to ponder, but, really, I can’t think of a single one right now.

Are they on vacation? Did they stop getting along and decide to divorce? Is there such a thing as a Gladware rapture in which the less worthy are left behind? (“Lid, you go live with Jesus; matching 4-cup batter bowl, not so fast …”)

No, no and no. I mean, that would be crazy, right?

So I find myself rooting around in the designated “plasticware” cabinet which is so named because it’s a hodgepodge of legit Tupperware, Gladware, Ziplock bowls and assorted Hillshire Farms lunch meat containers that USED TO HAVE matching lids. I’ve always imagined that the legit Tupperware didn’t like having to hang out in close quarters with the raggedy “came free with the meat” containers and, horrors, Country Crock tubs. (“People have to go to PARTIES just to buy me! You’re free with a lump of fake butter. Somebody get me out of here!”)

After foraging fruitlessly for a match, I ended up making do by pairing an “almost fits” lid on a “sorta matches” bottom and adding a big rubber band from the Sunday paper around it all so the lid wouldn’t pop off.

This never works, by the way.

The Princess, vexed as all get out because my “sorta fits” system resulted in mandarin orange juice forming a sticky sea in the bottom of her lunch box, asked: “Why didn’t you just use the ones that are meant to go together?”

Yes. Why didn’t I do that?

None of this kvetching solves the mystery, of course. Actually, one Rubbermaid mystery was solved when I discovered that the top had fallen onto the heating element in the bottom of the dishwasher and melted. I scraped it off the element with a spatula. So tiny, and now so flat.

Taken before its time.

Irrationally sad, I immediately put its mate into service holding paperclips, which, unlike containers, multiply throughout the night with abandon. Same with the twisty-ties from the bread and rolls.

Paperclips and twisty-ties are the sluts of the utility drawer, am I right? Oh, also whatever battery you DON’T need. There will be tons of those.

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