by Cathy Allie
I commute to work, so I am in the car a minimum of 45 minutes a day, as Eddie Rabbitt would say, ‘Driving my life away’.
Sometimes I sing aloud at the top of my lungs to oldies, and practice my next karaoke solo (which shall be the topic of a full column another day). That’s generally on Fridays or only once a week, because I don’t want to get too good at singing and have to decide between my family and a life on the road.
Other days I catch up on phone calls. For you younger readers, that is the thing where two people converse with one another using their voices and not texts. I have a mental list of five minute all the way up to 20 minute phone call friends, who like me, actually like voice to voice contact.
Most days, I listen to the radio. Lately, I have heard some of the most bizarre stuff on talk radio, and it has me thinking with our unusually damp spring, that some people have indeed taken a little water on their brains. In fact, the whole world may be going mad.
On a recent morning drive, the first radio story was about turophobia, which is the fear of cheese. Turns out this is usually based on a childhood trauma with cheese as one of the main players.
I have had a couple of bad grilled cheese experiences, now that I think about it, where the cheese leaked out of the bread or I didn’t slather enough butter on the top slice, but nothing too memorable or scarring.
The talk show hosts shared that people who suffer from turophobia generally have the most aversion to parmesan and limburger cheeses, which have distinct smells, and the least aversion to mozzarella, which has a more neutral presence. Sadly, there was no mention of Colby-Jack, my personal cheese favorite, and also what I might have named a baby boy if I had married a rancher.
The impetus of the story was a young lady who had been fired from her job as a waitress for her unwillingness to deliver meals with cheese to her customers. Is it only obvious to me that maybe waitressing, or in fact anything to do with the food industry, might not have been her best career choice?
The hosts quoted the turophobic lady (look at me using my newly learned word) as saying that in extreme cases, where she encountered a block of cheese, she had such an adverse physical reaction that she would faint or become violently ill. I can’t help wondering what she eats with sausage and crackers or what her safe food is at a questionable potluck.
The hosts moved on to say that apparently turophobia extends to pets as well, as a related story they were sharing was about a dog who is scared of sliced cheese. His family found out about his malady when they were doing the Cheese Face Baby challenge, an Internet sensation from earlier this year.
For the challenge, people toss pieces of sliced cheese at baby’s faces to see how the baby reacts. Once this family gauged their baby’s reaction to having cheese thrown at him, apparently they moved on to their dog.
For the record, I would like to say I don’t think this family should even have a dog if they are throwing cheese at their baby. Or maybe they shouldn’t have a baby if they are throwing cheese at their dog. You decide.
On the same talk show later that same week, I heard a story about two female astronauts doing a spacewalk together outside the International Space Station. As the show hosts shared the story, they talked about the historical significance of the walk. I practically swelled with pride for my sisters in space.
But alas, the hosts said, the walk had to be postponed. “We will tell you why after the break,” they intoned, insuring I would be hanging on through the commercials.
My mind was racing. I bet they got in some kind of dumb cat fight about who was going to go first. Maybe they couldn’t properly accessorize the suits for photos or were having a collective bad hair day, I surmised. Maybe a recent 23andMe test had revealed they were twins and their mom put a stop to it, afraid of a space accident that would injure both of her newly-reunited daughters. I could hardly wait for the answer.
The hosts launched immediately back into the story, but cleverly took calls from listeners guessing why the women couldn’t make the walk. Men called and said tacky things like, “They probably had to get their nails done and couldn’t squeeze it in” or “The walk was too long and it would have made them late to pick up the kids from school” or “Maybe their therapist told them this was their husband’s job”.
After about ten minutes of nonsense, we found out NASA postponed the walk because they didn’t have two spacesuits that would fit the women, both size medium. I could hardly catch my breath after the big reveal. Didn’t they measure them before the mission? Is this a case of ‘Dude, you had ONE job?‘.
Turns out the women themselves problem-solved, and one astronaut who wore size medium and one woman who wore size large made the walk. Poor other size medium lady astronaut! She acted heroically in sacrificing her 15 minutes of fame for another female. Now I have a new reason not to diet. Turns out there wouldn’t be a spacesuit in my size.
The third item I heard may just be the one that takes the cake (or that may be something I did, since I am no longer worried about being a size medium…). Just like fashion comes out with new lines of clothes and new styles provided by designers, so too are there new lines of textiles and home décor, including items for bedrooms and bathrooms.
One online retailer really stepped up its game to provide customers with something truly unusual: a full line of linens that look like they have come from the scene of a horror movie, complete with bloody handprints.
The show hosts laughed, but I was repulsed. Bloody handprints? A company spokesperson said people like to decorate for occasions, and the recent bent has been more toward the ‘macabre’.
What Bed and Breakfast would be using these? I can hear their tag line now: “Come For a Romantic Weekend, and If You End Up Killing Each Other, We’ll Never Know!”
Originally marketed with the company’s Halloween line, the thread counts for the sheets is 800, and the design is washable on the delicate cycle and dryer safe. Why go to that much trouble? This is the stuff the rest of the free world is trying to get out with stain removers.
FYI: With a special order, you can also get the word REVENGE on the top sheet and HELP on the fitted one. The kicker? The set has sold out once and is on backorder.
This final story gave new meaning to the words of Poet Henry Brown who said, “This whole world has gone mad.” Apparently maniacs abound. I had really had about enough of talk radio for that day, so I switched over to the oldies station.
Playing at that exact moment was Misty Blue, by Dorothy Moore, and I was instantly flooded with fond memories, as it was the song to which I had my very first slow dance. I was in 7th grade, and I danced with Ben Horine, who as far as I know, had no aversions to cheese, and would have fit nicely at the time into a medium sized spacesuit.
Cathy is a retired public school English teacher and Public Information Officer.