...Wonder Bread, doo-doo and the lack of free air

by J. Jules Vitali

One thing I’ve been pondering this week is, "Where does an executive in an executive search firm look for work when he has been downsized?"

This brings me to "The Wonder Bread Quandary". The following is one of those famous quotes from the internet that comes from that mystical who-knows-where someplace in the ether that sounds so authoritatively quoted in earnest and then some schmuck like me thinks it’s dinkum so here I am cutting and pasting it where the world is free to view it. "American children carry traces of some common pesticides, industrial chemicals and other contaminants at levels twice as high as in adults, according to the largest study ever of human exposure to environmental chemicals." Do I worry about this...Naw, not really. It will be 50 percent countermanded in a week or so by some other high level agency and posted on the same internet news page where I got the first piece of garbage and I’ll feel better. It was acrylamide a month or so ago… does anyone remember acrylamide? Cancer and death by French fry? You probably don’t remember it… the headlines have been subsequently neutralized. Probably Mickey D’s or one of them places paid to have an honest study done and they found out it was all a big scientific misunderstanding… ahem. Oh, the Wonder Bread. My children, ages 8 and 10 had never had any Wonder Bread in their tender little lives. My wife and I talked about it once in awhile, but never actually bought any. It was on sale one day and half impulsively and half wanting to teach the kids about how bad this stuff was, we bought a loaf. Well, we might as well have sent our dear cherubs to heaven… they loved it! Hell, I fell in love with it again, myself. I can remember as a child and a teenager wadding the stuff up into these doughy balls and nibbling them to death. As fish bait, it stunk… ball it up, wrap it around your hook and it took about 17 seconds for it to lose its integrity and disintegrate. I think I don’t fish to this day because of my traumatic Wonder Bread bait experiences. And, who can forget those wet, soggy tuna sandwiches in school when mom had made the sandwiches four or five hours earlier. Nevertheless, and even with these memories renewed, we enjoyed that loaf to death …wadding balls, toasted with lots of butter, our favorite sandwiches …the whole nine yards.

It’s been about a year now since we’ve had it and the children talking it up again, and I’m ready. I don’t know what it is they put in that stuff, but it sure is good. It was that headline about industrial chemicals and stuff that brought Wonder Bread to mind. Let this be a lesson in the power of advertising. I haven’t even seen a Wonder Bread commercial in years and years and I still know that it helps build strong bodies twelve ways… The Doo Point.

Doo-doo sure is expensive where I live. Not like that run-of-the-mill crap from other towns. Wonder Bread in, Wonder Bread out. With the cost of groceries being what they are, droppings sure cost a lot to make, but in my hometown, I think they cost a heck of a lot a lot more to unmake. I was under the illusion that I was going to save a bundle by having a septic system when I first moved from a dwelling with a town sewer system to a place with a leach field system. The last time I had my 500 gallon tank pumped out, it cost me $75 to have it pumped into the honey wagon and then my town charges $165 to let the driver pump it out. $165. Now, maybe four years later, and now I have a 1,000 gallon tank (that cost me a fortune) and it’s time to pump it out again. I can only imagine what it’s gonna cost now. I don’t mind the sucking up part …it’s the spitting it back out that eggs me. The septic tank buried deep in my yard, at best, holds only 600 flushes from a toilet, probably less when you consider some of that water is from showers and doing the dishes and such, so we can cut that figure in half, or 300 flushes. On top of all this, we are one of those families that doesn’t flush every time because of our inane concern for the dwindling world water supply. Now, let’s drop the figure to 150 flushes, most of which has broken down in a properly maintained septic system, so now I’m going to cut that figure to 75 viable flushes. So then we can assume that it’s at least double the price to empty the septic tank to at least $330 because I’ve gone from a 500 gallon holding tank to 1,000 gallon holding tank. Phew! No matter how you flush out the math, it’s like throwing money down the toilet. $330 for 75 flushes. I don’t like to use exclamation marks, but I’m going to use one now! I know them folks in town that are on the public sewer line are getting a much better deal than this. It pi**es me off. Their toilets are costing them just pennies. Who devised this assessment system anyway? It all ends up in the same place.

Which brings up another philosophical point. Does the ever-escalating cost of disposal of this type of matter make it environmentally cleaner when it finally hits our world’s waterways? I’ll bet you it don’t.

I’ve been cursed of late to have developed a slow leak in one of the tires on my car. There’s no free air left on our poor planet. It’s all been bottled and tanked up with a coin slot in front of it now. My first attempt this winter to get air involved a pump that for 50 cents took air out of the tire instead of putting it back in. The next place I tried was in the next town. That pump didn’t do a thing… I was told a label had fallen off the pump that says I was supposed to heat the nozzle inside the car for a few minutes before using it. Another 50 cents down the tube. A few days later I go back to that pump that takes air our of the tire instead of putting it in, foolishly thinking it might be fixed. It cost me half a buck to take some more out. Total cost so far, $1.50… Total air pressure, 22 lbs. Thank gawd for the bicycle pump in my garage and Yankee ingenuity. I’ve got to go outside for a few minutes …now don’t look.

J. Jules Vitali is a sculptor and free thinking moral philosopher who lives in Freeport, Maine,