Swelled cans... it's more than just the highly anticipated effect of a bust enhancement cream.*

It could be a life-threatening bacterial invasion of your earthly flesh.

It could be... BOTULISM!!

Why am I providing this public service messsage?

You see, kids, in high school, I was in Honors Biology. I had a teacher (possibly even a lesbian now that I think back on her button down men's oxford shirts, utter lack of makeup or a purse, cords, and short 'n fringy haircut even in the Big Dallas Hair era of the '80s). She went by the name of Ms. McFarland (names have been changed to protect the scientific). She had one class rule: respect.

So anyway, she taught us that we should always be on the lookout for swelled or dented cans, because they could be harboring seething hordes of BOTulism!!! We needed to worry about this because botulism causes a horrible death, you see, paralyzing bits of you until you die of death. A fatal dose of this powerful nerve toxin is ONE MICROGRAM, easily contained within a germ-ridden green bean or a single orange carrot disc. This, of course, became a standard high school catch phrase as my geek friends and I roamed the halls of our high school shouting, "BOTulism!!" in Python-esque fashion.

Little did we know that these japes would soon turn deadly for one unlucky freshman....

(Wait. That never happened. So I'll just go on.)

While one would not likely eat the contents from an obviously swollen and distended can of veg, the more hidden danger lay in DENTED cans. Dented cans could hide tiny perforations, she lectured, into which botulism would creep and wreak its deathly havoc within your spaghettios. By the time you'd had lunch, it would be too late, and for the privilege of getting 7 cents off at the Dented Can Clearance, you'd pay dearly -- with your LIFE.

Nowadays, of course, we actually USE botulism bacteria for such vain pursuits as poisoning and puffing wrinkles away via Botox, and, if we're of the unscrupulous warmongering ilk, for germ warfare.

Yet do I still check every blessed can, on every grocery store trip???

I do, good people. I do.

* -- Feel like I'm channeling LBB for some reason...


Dana said…
I had a teacher preach about botulism, too. Your post made me smile to remember. I enjoy your style.

By the way, i was really disappointed to learn of the e-Bay value of your typewriter. I have one almost exactly like it. Of course, I had though my grandson might someday sell it for a college education. It won't happen.

I came across your blog by chance and enjoyed the visit. Thanks for writing.
Violet said…
Thanks for the heads up... I'm always one for a good public service announcement.

I recall the same fear of swollen and/or dented cans. Although, when I read the first sentence of your post, I was thinking that perhaps swollen "cans" were a symptom of a busty woman who had been infected by botulism.
Ari said…
Thanks for the kind words, Dana, and thanks for visiting! I'm glad to know we're both safe from foodborne botulism. I was rather disappointed at the typewriter's value too.

I guess I've always like PSAs too, Violet. I made fake ones when I was a kid and apparently I'm still making them now.
Amandarama said…
Yeah, I don't pretend I understand why people shoot that junk into their faces. These are generally the people that deserve to have their dermatologist "miss" and fire it right into their brains. Never seems to happen though.

Say, if I shot Botox into my cans, would I still need a sports bra?
My mom always told me: if it's dented, fine. If there's a bulge, DON'T eat it!
Steven Novak said…
While that's very informative I would have reather read a post about large swelled boobs. ;)

Ari said…
I am unqualified to answer that question, Amanda, as sports bras no longer do it for me. Due to midlife sag, I require a wire.

Are you saying I should trust your mom over a high school biology teacher, LBB? You're probably right.

Steve, I would've thought it would be a tossup between boobs and something festering and icky for you.
Helga von porno said…
Hey, I tried to comment on your last post and failed. the word verification box was dented and swollen so I fled. I was incredibly good in bed it turns out which I knew anyway. Someone is clearly trying to poison our relationship. Perhaps for no better reason than to try out some new cyber germ warfare. PS, never knew that about botulism = botox. Interesting.
Ari said…
"the word verification box was dented and swollen so I fled"

Oh, how I giggled at this, Helga. No one shall poison our newly forged alliance, with botulins or aliens or otherwise. No way.
BrideOfPorkins said…
I remember watching an episode of Quincy when I was very young, and not only did I learn about BOTulism, I learned that I probably should never drink from water fountains because people have probably dumped tomato sauce in all of them at one time.

I've actually grabbed dented cans out of people's hands at the store with a shrill, "Oh wait, that one's dented!"

I grab people's cans at the store. OMG, what am I turning into?x
raeann said…
LOL brideofporkins, I saw that same episode as a kid.

I think it was tainted chili dumped into a utility sink which somehow made it's unlikely way into the system of pipes.

That poor, poor maintenance worker. All he wanted was a cool, refreshing drink from a water fountain, and instead he wound up with a cool refreshing drink of death.

Never liked dented cans, used to work at Wild Oats in grocery, and we saved the dented ones for employees to buy at a reduced price. That was the first I'd ever heard of it. I always wondered if maybe they were trying to off us by encouraging us to purchase outdated goods and dented cans, enticing us with a drastically reduced price.
Ari said…
Raeann, thanks for commenting on this post. You made me laugh with the Quincy description (as BoP did a while back). I'm sure it's filed away somewhere in my brain... I watched more than my share of Quincy as a kid, too.

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