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A Failed Bite - The Thin Edge of Dignity

Tomato Soup with Crackers
Tomato Soup with Crackers
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You sniff a steaming bowl of tomato soup. Its nose filling heat rises in your nostrils.  “Mm! Mm! Good!”  you think to yourself. Of course you do. It’s been sneaking into the subterranean of peoples’ minds  since the nineteen thirties when Campbell’s soup company broadcast its first radio commercial.

But what’s an Mm! Mm! Good! bowl of steaming soup without those crushed Nabisco Saltine crackers? Mm! Mm! Double Good!  And you can easily smash those salty delights – if you can get at them, safely protected from a crushing death by cellophane wrap. Easy unless your hand is handicapped like mine and you have no strength in your fingers and can’t curl them into a fist.

Each tempting package of glistening crystals of salt atop the alluringly speckled wafer is sealed away until the tiny sliver of paper on its right corner is pulled. Then the crackers sprinkle in the air, released from their transparent, protective cellophane, crushed into shreds and drizzled on the Mm! Mm! Good! liquefied and puréed tomatoes AND high fructose corn syrup, wheat flour, water,  salt, potassium chloride, flavoring, citric acid, lower sodium natural sea salt, ascorbic acid, monopotassium phosphate, and celery extract.  Oh yeah! That’s one slurpy, crunchy bowl of Americana!

What keeps me from that Nirvana?  My stiff, inflexible fingers can’t grasp the thin, slippery, plastic ribbon.  So, I try a different body part:  I use my teeth (Is that considered a singular body part or a plural “ parts?”)

I hold the package between my teeth, anticipating the crunchy crunch of the crushed crackers floating atop the Mm! Mm! Good! in the liquefied, pureed, and additive-laden water and tomato paste product out-of-the-can, called tomato soup.

Uh Oh! Despite my biting, the package won’t open. I try again, but this time, I gnash.   A sliver of cellophane lodges between my incisors. I tongue it forward, spit it out,  and re-gnash.  Another piece of the waxy stuff embeds itself in the slight space between my incisors.

I give up and ask a friend to open the package.

My disability won the battle. but not the war.

I can’t wait to try to unseal the plastic bag of potato chips with my next burger.

Dick Weinman is an AARP Oregon volunteer and our assisted living guru.

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