D. Eric Williams Online

Weird Jug
Copyright © 2008 D. Eric Williams

The fresh faced store employee smiled at me as I stepped toward the dairy case. I felt a little uncomfortable under his gaze as I opened the door to the outsized refrigerator and reached for a two-pack box of 2% milk. I hesitated:

The proper way to pour the new jug


"Jug's different" I mumbled.

Apparently that was his cue.

"Good afternoon sir" he began. "You may have noticed the new energy efficient shape of the milk container."

I glanced at him. He stood smiling with his head to one side, hands clasped before him. It seemed to me that his eyes were a little glassy. He continued:

"The new shape is not only more energy responsible, it also stores more easily in your refrigerator and" - he paused for emphasis - "it pours without difficulty."

I stood half in and half out of the refrigerator, unsure about how to respond. I occurred to me that any energy savings realized by the weird shaped jug would be lost if the fresh faced employee detained every customer he encountered as they were in the act of selecting a milk purchase. I grabbed a double pack of 2% and backed out of the cooler.

"Uh, how does the new shape save energy?" I muttered, stumbling into his trap.

He moved into my personal space to recite: "To begin with the uniform shape allows for more containers to be loaded on each truck, thereby reducing shipping traffic. It also transfers less heat energy and allows for a tighter pack in your home refrigerator!"

I shifted my feet so that the shrink-wrapped squarish two-pack was between the fresh faced employee and myself. I was certain that his pupils were dilated.

"That's great. Gotta go." I turned and hastily pushed my cart in the direction of the fruits and vegetables. The fresh faced employee trotted along beside me.

"And don't forget - it pours more easily!"

I quickened my pace and was able to outrun him by the time I reached the dog food section. Shaken, I sought out a German sausage sample and refreshed myself before I continued with my shopping.

A sense of foreboding hung over me as I finished shopping and drove home. My gut told me that the weird jug was merely the leading edge of a conspiracy to force the American public into accepting the radical ideas of the 1960's. "Think of it" I said to myself, "This is the richest nation on earth. Why would we need a milk jug that transfers less heat energy and why - " my flesh crawled as I glanced at the weird jug, "did the fresh faced employee have dilated eyes?"

The next morning we had oatmeal and I realized that it was time to try out the weird shaped jug. I pulled the container from the frig and set it on the counter.

"Weird shaped milk jug" my wife commented as I filled my bowl with healthful organic oatmeal.

"Uh-huh," My hands trembled as I tilted the jug toward my bowl of oatmeal, "But they save energy in a variety of ways" I recited mechanically, "and they're easy to..." a tidal wave of 2% cascaded from the mouth of the weird jug and overshot my bowl by several inches.

Thinking fast, I dumped my oatmeal on the counter and used a spoon to create a parameter around the flood.

"What are you doing?" my wife screamed.

"I don't want to waste the milk, Hon" I said as I placed the finishing touches on the oatmeal dam.

Then, selecting a bread knife from the cutlery block, I scraped the oatmeal into a tight circle; the milk lapped at the top of the retaining wall. Next, working with a precision and skill I hardly knew I possessed, I maneuvered the mass of milk and oatmeal toward the edge of the counter and back into my bowl. Hardly any of it landed on the floor.

I turned toward my wife with the dripping bowl, a note of triumph in my voice as I said, "I was right - a conspiracy! But they won't find it so simple to make a fool out of me - Ha Ha!" I pumped my fist a couple times as I raised my gaze to look at my wife. I was alarmed to see her expression. I don't remember what she said after that; I was busy balancing the bowl of oatmeal with one hand while I tried to protect my head with the other. I do recall that her eyes seemed to be dilated.





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