When Campbell's Chunky Attacks

Alphabet that spelled trouble.... Minestrone with a mission to destroy... Or chicken noodle with some hate on...

The type of soup matters little. It's legacy lives today, in a scar for the world to see.

I know now that my doom was inevitable. See, I love soup. From bisque to beef barley, I slurp them all down with equal lunchtime gusto...

It was just a question of when the right elements would conspire to seal my fate.

Like the microwave at work-- one of those super-high-powered jobbies, where you put something in for 20 seconds and it comes out glowing green and you need to handle it with tongs.

Or the newfangled style of plastic wrap, called Press 'N' Seal. Which never states that once pressed... 'n' sealed... the wrap is rigidly unwilling to reconsider any later reassignment of its duties.

Or me, just having things other than 131 degree soup on my mind.

I'm not sure how precisely it happened. A time set too long, followed by a too-enthused tug of the Press 'n' Seal, I suppose. But in an instant, soup cascaded over my screaming hand...

Soup slid down the leg of my jeans like lava. Soup was on the floor, the cabinets, the countertops. And I shrieked like a citizen fleeing Pompei, and ran to the sink.

One of my coworkers-- we'll call him Ted-- eyed the scene with the placid observation of an old man rocking on a New England porch. "That's some hot soup," he said helpfully. "Maybe you put it in the microwave too long."

I resisted telling him what he could do with his Pepperidge Farm commentary.

Meanwhile, my friend "The Knave" came rushing in to see if I was dying, and to help clean up the soup. That moment, I even forgave him for making me listen to William Shatner sing Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds during our commute. Of course, that's another story.

Together, we looked at my poor right hand, red and unnaturally shiny in the kitchenette light.

"That doesn't look good," murmured The Knave with a frown.

"Aw, the skin hasn't sloughed off," Ted replied with a wave of his own-non scalded digits.

"Hasn't sloughed off?!" I found myself saying shrilly.

The Knave may have had to hold me back, I don't remember anymore.

Now, because I'm me, the giantest nerd in all of Nerddom, I thought for some reason that I would not only finish out the work day, but I really should try to eat the rest of my soup.

To my surprise, I discovered I no longer had a taste for it. Once you've been attacked by your edibles, the magic is gone.

Within the hour, I was radiating heat like Joan of Arc on bonfire day-- and developing nice big blisters the size of grandma's button earrings. And that's when I realized, my red right hand was a ticket to anywhere I wanted to go.

A wave of the red right hand at my boss? "I'm going to leave for the day and go to the doctor's..."

"G-ah!! Go, go, go!"

A wave of the red right hand at the doctor's office receptionist? "I don't have an appointment, but can someone fit me in?"

"Ohmigawd! OH. MY. GAWD. This way! This way!"

Second degree burns.

I don't think this was quite what Nick Cave had in mind with his wickedly eerie song, somehow. But the power of the red right hand-- if not the pain-- is one I'll kind of miss.

Today, the hand is just de-pigmented to a bisque white and tans badly, giving me a spotty leprosy of sorts every summer. It's the only thing that makes me wish Michael Jackson could actually swing that comeback he's been talking about. I wouldn't mind having an excuse for a single glove.

I've finally gone back on soup, as well. Yet every now and then, when my Campbell's Chunky Chicken and Dumplings is bubbling just right, steam squeaking melodically through the Saran... if I listen very carefully I swear... I can just make out this vague haunting refrain...

You're one tiny victim
of that catastrophic can...
Burned and deflected with
a red right hand

Or, maybe it's the wind.

OH, AND BEFORE YOU GO TODAY.... Just a quick order of business-- You may have noticed, Of Cabbages and Kings now has a brand new URL of its own! Huzzah!! The blog is now officially at http://www.cabbagesnkings.net . So for folks who are kind enough to link to Cabbages, if you could take a moment to update your links, I'd be mightily obliged.

Thanks folks, and have a super (not souper) weekend!



Daisy said...

Too bad Souperman was not there to save you from the evil soup!

Unknown said...

Daisy- Ah, so THAT's what Souperman's job is! I should have known-- they do call him "The Man of Teflon," don't they? :)

Marvel Goose said...

WOW. Marked for life by soup.

You silly thing, a proper lady does not get suntanned. She wears a big floppy hat, a blouse with long sleeves, and carries a parasol.

Sounds like it is a few years late, but you really should have just put your hand in ice or ice water as it would draw the heat out of your tissues and lessen any blistering.

Or just stuck it to the freezer wall if your ice trays at work are like mine: full of evaporated ice.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Don't you hate the "event-downplayer"? You could accidentally cut your foot off with a chainsaw and the E-D would just say, "Ah, c'mon, it's not even your good foot."

Unknown said...

Marvel- It was one lunch that left a lasting impression. I will invest in a parasol and big hat forthwith! :)

Shawn- Yeah, I guess there's one in every group, isn't there? He was not particularly my favorite person that day. :)

Anonymous said...

Speaking as someone who is often the "down-player" (though apparently not that day) the trick is to make those comments while, y'know, helping out. Takes the edge off, I find.

Unknown said...

Dave- Heh- I don't remember if you were in there when he said the skin-sloughing comment-- but somehow I don't quite think that one would have been your style anyway. :)

Da Old Man said...

Microwaves are evil. Don't blame the soup, as it only did what it was commanded to do by its nefarious overlord.

Meg said...

You might be safer in the future buying soup from the Soup Nazi.

Unknown said...

Da Old Man- Oh, and to think I'd had such a good relationship with microwaves up to this point, too-- and now I learn they have a nefarious agenda. Crumbs!

Meg- You know, we now have a branch of the Soup Nazi's restaurant here in Pittsburgh? I haven't gotten to try it yet. It seemed ideal to me, to have a place that was just soup. (And that was AFTER the soup accident, too!) :)

Christopher Jones said...

This is why I eat home made stew instead of canned soup. I find the big chunks of meat and potatoes have a way of trapping the heat till you bite into them.

Also, burying it in a sea of room temperature crackers doesn't hurt either.

Anonymous said...

The mark of a good writer.

That was brilliantly written,a whole story from what the average person would describe as "FUCK!".

Good job!

Unknown said...

C.B. Jones- Mmm, homemmade stew and crackers-- see, this just got me hungry!

Mike- Well, I can't say that word wasn't uttered at least once or so. ... Particularly as I spent the next several weeks trying not to bang my poor ugly hand on things. :)

Jen said...

Great story, aside from the whole burning your hand off thing. Don't worry in a few years the age spots will even out the hand. Something to look forward to eh? Geez, I sound Canadian.

Unknown said...

Jen- All right! Age spots-- woo-hoo! Go age spots, go age spots... :)

Matt said...

I suppose that's why I eat out for lunch...if they spill it on me, I always have the option to sue.

Anonymous said...

I bet you didn't plunge your hand instantly into ice cold water and keep it there for five minutes straight, did ya? Apparently, that works really well!

That sounded really painful. I'm glad you healed OK!

I actually didn't mind William Shatner singing 'Lucy in the sky with Diamonds'. Although I have to say I prefer Brent Spiner singing 'Carolina in the Morning'. Tee hee.

Unknown said...

Matt- I see you've really thought this through. :)

Jay- I did run it under cold water, and also put some ice in a paper towel on it. But there isn't really anything to soak one's hand in at the office. I mean, a coffee cup just won't cut it. :)

Brent Spiner SINGS? Data?!

Skye said...

See, now this is why I'm a cook by trade. When I'm ready for my break, I just cook myself up whatever I'm hungry for, and voila, no exploding soup from the microwave :D.

However, to be fair, about all I'm hungry for by the time I do get a break is perhaps 1 slice of toast!

Suzanne said...

"And that's when I realized, my red right hand was a ticket to anywhere I wanted to go."

LOL!! The lengths that we will go to leave work.

Congrats on the new URL! Looks good.

Unknown said...

Oh you poor baby! That sounds painful. Although the down player would have been in much more pain after he received the rest of that soup in his lap, but that's just me. ;)

Unknown said...

Skye- I can imagine that. I often wondered if chefs actually wanted to even see food once the day was done.

Sue- Heh, well, in this case, it kinda was a necessity. I'm one of those people that have to be on death's door to not be at work. I did enjoy, though, that the flaming look of the thing was a very indisputable get-out-of-jail-free card. :)

Ettarose- I have to say, I was CLOSE to doing that. I had to remind myself that he was never Mr. Social Skills under even the best of occasions.

Anonymous said...

I did read your post...soup, burned hand, ouch...glad you're still alive to tell the tale, yadda, yadda, yadda. ;) But real question is why the change to .net? I saw Don over at Beyond Left Field did the same. What's bringing this on? Is this something I need to do? Will I lose readers? Will I gain readers? ARGH! Now you've got me thinking about all this when I was having a pleasant Saturday. Dang it! ;)

Anonymous said...

"Pepperidge Farm commentary", ha. I love that.

What an awful incident. Having survived the last six months without a microwave, I've recently downgraded my opinion of them. The worst part of their ability to heat things is that about 45 seconds AFTER it scalded you, it probably needed to be reheated...again. On the other hand, I don't understand how I've survived so long without a toaster oven.

Congratulations on the URL shift, I'll try to update my links list soon! I'm curious, too, about your URL change - what brought this on?

Unknown said...

Unfinished Dude and Gregoire-
The reason for the sudden URL shift is that having your own URL (beyond the Blogspot/typepad/wordpress address) is beneficial in a couple of ways.

You can get a higher page rank than you would being under the Blogger/Typepad/Wordpress umbrella, and more search engine traffic, as well.

It tends to help with credibility, as well.

I would have done this long ago, but Blogger recently made it very easy to have your own URL integrated, while still being hosted on Blogspot. So the sudden change was one of our fellow humor bloggers figuring out how EASY it was, and showing the rest how to do it.

Don and I both went with .Net because .Coms weren't available in the URLs we wanted. .Nets are still credible URL extensions.

I wanted to have this in place because I'm planning on sending more fiction out to publishers. I wanted to get my online presence set up nicely before I did that.

Nooter said...

oh i HATE it when your prey turns on you. i hear the sandwiches in the vending machine are a little easier to subdue, you might give that a try.

Unknown said...

Nooter- It's a dog eat dog world out there... Er... sorry...

Chaotically Calm said...

Oh my the workers comp adjuster that lives inside of me wants you to file a claim in case for some reason you hand develops some type of residual thinger that's more expensive than anticipated.

Soup can be so dangerous...my tongue tells me this when I am too enthusiatic about slurping.

Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings said...

What a tragedy. The loss of that soup!

Oh. And your hand of course.