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Copyright 2005 Tara K. Harper.  All rights reserved.

Tara K. Harper
January 12, 2005

In Which TKH Is Blinded by Exploding Peaches...


Yes, I know, you think I'm joking, but actually I'm not.  A week before Christmas, a can of peaches exploded in my face, bare inches away from my eyes, and I seem to have taken some permanent damage.  The worst thing is, I can't help but laugh about it as I write this, because, how typical this is for my life.  I mean, why wait for old age to need glasses?  Why wait until you have to explain to your friends in the typical way, oh yes, I started needing reading glasses when I was 45...  No, if you plan ahead, you can have something spectacular, or interesting, or just plain odd happen to you, so that you have a much better story to tell.  

This, though, has got to be one of the more idiotic things that's ever happened to me.   I was restocking and rotating the pantry -- you know, moving the cans in the back to the front, and filling in from behind so that nothing gets too old.  I was on the last cupboard our in the garage, high above the laundry area, on the top of a 7-foot ladder (try replacing one of those, by the way; you can't get anything but 6's and 8's these days).

As I started in on the top shelf, I noticed a black, tarlike substance on the bottoms of some cans in the front.  Great, I thought.  Something's leaking.  So I cleaned back to the the Evil Can, taking out the others as I went, until the Evil One was alone in the cupboard.  It squatted there in the near-dark, a massive toad, blackened an inch up from the bottom with residue and glaring at me with its rotting, pitted-peach picture.  I touched it.  That's all I did.  I barely touched the top of the can thinking that, if I did it carefully enough, I wouldn't have much mess to clean.  Instead --

It exploded.

The bottom blew off.  Streams of -- yes -- peaches blasted into my eyes.  It was like getting hit with a tiny fire hose.  No shrapnel hit my eyes; just the atomized fruit, but the pressure was so great when the can burst, that the highly pressurized streams blinded and deformed my eyes.  I reacted instinctively -- my one thought to get away -- and leaped off the top of the ladder.  Of course, it couldn't be a simple jump to safety.  It was a blind , frantic leap down by survival memory, over the pinball machine, between the washer and cutting table and heavy bag, between the laundry basket and the sacks of cans that hadn't yet been put away, in an attempt to land in a narrow L-shaped aisle where far too many things had been temporarily stored.  It wasn't perhaps the smartest thing to do, but frankly, the whole being blinded thing was a bit unnerving.

And there was liquid fruit everywhere:  on the pinball, the freezer, the washer, the other half of the pantry, the quilts, the laundry and the carpet.  God has a great sense of humor.  I landed like something out of an action movie, exactly in that nice, narrow, L-shaped aisle and didn't strain, sprain, or break anything.  Not only that, but my hair was up in my chef's hat since I'd been cooking, so I didn't have to wash it before going to the emergency (talk about having a problem with priorities).  All I had to worry about was being blinded by bad produce and a double dose of botulism.

So I'm seeing things differently now, and I owe it all to Elberta peaches.  I can't wait for the CSI guys to show up at the crime scene and do the peach-splatter thing by the pantry.  Or perhaps some local detective called to the scene of the crime:  "Oh, officer, thank God, you're here."  "How did it happen, ma'am?"  "It was the author in the pantry with a peach."

By the way, odd things do not happen just to me.  Recently, a few days after the attack of the killer peaches, one of my friends fell into a shoe and ended up needing major surgery.  On the whole, I'm feeling rather lucky.

Copyright 2005 Tara K. Harper

All rights reserved.  It is illegal to reproduce or transmit in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, any part of this copyrighted file without permission in writing from Tara K. Harper.  Permission to download this file for personal use only is hereby granted by Tara K. Harper.

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