A brief distraction and a moment of forgetfulness turned my indulgent breakfast into a sticky horror show.
by Douglas Cootey
My nice meal of waffles with real maple syrup was just interrupted by Mother Nature's latest terraforming project. The shame is that I could have prevented the horror that happened in my mouth.
My 12-year-old, who I call “the Brownie,” wanted me to feed her, so I suggested we finish off the frozen waffles. This was met with jubilation. So, like the cool dad that I am, I tossed the frozen waffles into the toaster. Soon, warmish waffle-like objects were ready for consumption. I slathered on the syrup for the Brownie and sent her skipping off to the kitchen table. Then I pulled out the real maple syrup for me.
This authentic syrup from Vermont was the first bottle of real maple syrup I had ever had as an adult, so I kept it on the top shelf. It was dark, rich, and expensive. I didn’t want to waste it on kids who didn't like it anyway. I didn't have too many opportunities to use the syrup, so I savored these rare moments. I tilted the jug over my waffles in anticipation.
It poured out in clumps. Great, I thought, it's started to crystallize. I had never seen crystals that look like that before. I wondered if that's mold. I poked at the circular disks with my fork and determined that I'd need to search online what these maple crystals were before I ate them. Problem is, I walked past the computer, sat down, and began to eat my waffles. That's when I realized I had skipped a step.
A quick image search showed that my suspicions were correct. Those weren't crystals. Fortunately, the mold wasn’t harmful, so eating it didn’t kill me, but my stomach was put off by my new culinary experience. What was worse, there were no more waffles.
ADHD is hallmarked by these mental glitches. We move from one room to the next and forget why we are there. We put the cereal in the fridge and the milk in the cupboard. I found an opened can of clams in my pantry the other day. Between my 15-year-old daughter and me, it was a toss-up as to whose ADHD was responsible. Other people will say, "Hey! That's not so abnormal. I do that all the time." Yet people with ADHD, I think, are absentminded with greater flair and frequency.
How do you prevent events like my moldy syrup debacle from happening? First, read labels. Real maple syrup needs to be refrigerated. Whoops. However, the real tragedy came when I forgot to research the "crystals" before I popped the food in my mouth. How can we stop ourselves from forgetting?
Unless you are prepared to create endless detailed task lists on the fly for every mundane minute of your life, you will have to learn to deal with the absentmindedness. My remedy is to laugh and write about it. I launched the Path app — a private social network — on my iPhone and posted an update with an accompanying photo. It cross-posted to Twitter and Facebook. Social media is perfect for that sort of event.
I'm sure you have horror stories of your own. It's better to have a good chuckle over your mistakes rather than beat yourself up. When I got out from under my shock, I had a good laugh, rinsed out my mouth, and got busy with my day. I figured I'd eat again later when my stomach settled itself and my kids had stopped laughing at me.