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March 2001 - Smell of Chips

I have to admit that this particular edition of Comment has crept up on me from behind and given me a rather nasty surprise. That's the reason why it's got a very good chance of being even more disjointed than usual and totally lacking in any form of organisation.

You see, I've just realised that it has to go up in a couple of days and it isn't even written yet.

Towards the end of last year, I'd got myself sorted out and was making sure I had at least a couple of Comments "in the can" as it were, ready well in advance to go up on the appointed day.

Having written a huge batch at the end of November and early December, I've been lazily sitting back doing nothing but loading them onto the correct pages on the correct day.

Imagine my horror, earlier this evening, when I looked for the next one to be loaded and found, rather like in the nursery rhyme, that the cupboard was bare.

So here I am, with only a couple of days to go till the magic month which appears at the head of this frame, staring at a beautiful pale blue sea of blankness. Well, the next bit's still blank anyway.

Actually, I seem to have accidentally stumbled on a very good way of disproving my own point haven't I?

For with every word and phrase I use to describe the blankness of the page before me, I considerably lessen the expanse of blankness which is there for me to worry about filling. Perhaps if I continue to describe the blankness, I'll solve my own problem.

It's just that I have a rather funny feeling that if that's all I was to do for a whole edition, you might just get a tiny bit bored with it; and it could send my viewing figures plummeting to the depths of that pale blue sea I was describing.

Which brings me to a discussion of the subject for in-depth analysis in this month's exciting episode of Nick Harvey's Comment.

Indeed, I think a discussion on that subject would be an excellent idea. At least a discussion might just bring forward an idea or two. It's just that I have to admit to not actually having a subject as yet.

It's quite possible that one may appear, as if from aforementioned pale blue sea, as I sit here sort-of doodling with the keyboard before me, but as yet, I'm not too sure.

I mean, we could do something ever so exciting like investigating why the blueberries in blueberry muffins are actually an odd purple colour couldn't we? Or why is it that the blueberry muffin comes in its own little paper container thing; but the apple doughnut is all alone on a bit of plastic sheet?

Yes madam, I'm so late writing this that I'm eating my tea as I write.

The trouble is, that I'm none too sure I could manage over fifty paragraphs on blueberry muffins and the like. I mean, there has to be a limit to the intrinsic interest generated by your average muffin hasn't there?

Anyway, I've finished eating it now, so there's little more I can say about it, or the apple doughnut, really.

I wouldn't have bored you with them in the first place if it hadn't have been for the lady on the pharmacy counter in Safeway. I reckon she's employed specially to drum up business for the rest of the store.

I doubt you're all that interested really, but far be it from me to miss a glorious opportunity for a nice bit of serious digression.

I'd finally had this tooth out, you see; the one that had been falling to pieces and causing me problems on and off for months.

I'd popped into Safeway to get a prescription for some antibiotics filled, but then had to twiddle my thumbs while the chappie at the back fiddled about with his bottles.

Sometimes I think she's a robot on that pharmacy counter. All she can say is "He's a little bit busy at the moment, can you come back in ten minutes?".

Well, you stand there for a bit, then the smells from the bakery counter come wafting over don't they? You seem to have little or no control over your legs as you wander in the direction of the smell.

It's the fresh bread smell that first attracts you, but it's the cakes in the front of the display cabinet which finally get you hooked. So now you know how it was that I just happened to be in possession of a blueberry muffin and an apple doughnut for my tea.

I actually prefer the chocolate chip muffins, but unfortunately they'd sold out of those.

Now there's a subject for discussion isn't there? I wonder why your nose and brain always want to play this somewhat disconnected smell association game with you all the time?

There you are intently watching Mr Pharmacist mixing his multi-coloured potions when Mr Left Nostril says to Mr Right Nostril "Oi mate, is that the smell of freshly baked bread?".

After a few moments of discussion, the assembled Misters Nostril decide to tell Mr Brain about it all. Now, why doesn't Mr Brain just be satisfied in the knowledge that freshly baked bread is in the general vicinity, but there's plenty of the stuff at home, so no particular actions on the matter are required?

Mr Brain doesn't work like that!

Mr Brain insists on wandering off on this smell association game and then starts sending nasty rumours in a downward direction via Mr Neck and Mr Spine, which eventually reach Messrs L and R Leg.

Next thing you know, the dear old Leg brothers are off in search of chocolate chip muffins which were never mentioned by anyone in the first place.

The fact that they never entered into the original nasal discussion is proved conclusively when the Eye twins eventually get to scan the cool cabinet and confirm the existence of every kind of muffin in the world, except chocolate chip.

It's at this point that you purchase a couple of blueberry muffins and an apple doughnut; none of which you ever intended to do.

Having returned to the pharmacy department and collected your little parcel of pills, you then drive home extremely disappointed that you couldn't get hold of anything with chocolate chips in.

Mr Brain is quietly chuckling to himself because you're feeling all unhappy and disappointed, but HE knows that you never went out to buy cakes in the first place.

Still, it all seems to have worked out okay in the end. At least I've already managed to successfully blow the muffin and doughnut crumbs out of the keyboard.

Had I NOT purchased a few cakes to eat for tonight's tea and then realised, as I did, that I hadn't got a Comment written, I'd now be sitting here trying to extract stew and dumplings from the keyboard.

Mind you, having mentioned it, I now seem to be getting a craving for the stew and dumplings as well. I wonder if 'er indoors is still in the mood for cooking?

Actually, it must have been a craving that originally led me from the pharmacy counter to the bakery cabinet. Do you think I ought to worry about getting all these odd cravings?

No, I think I must be all right. I mean, I don't remember feeling sick in the mornings or anything like that, so it must be okay. I know Mr Stomach has been getting a bit bigger of late, but I expect it's only a passing phase.

In fact, it isn't the enlarged tummy which is causing the cravings, it's most definitely the opposite way round!

And it's not the chips in the chocolate chip muffins which are causing it, it's the chips of the other persuasion which go in the fryer and come out and sit there, begging to be consumed with lots of salt.

Perhaps the moral of this whole story is that I ought to go on a diet. My goodness, that's a depressing thought isn't it?

I think it's time to finish this load of old rubbish, before the keyboard gets filled up with tears. I'll be back with some more in April and I'll try to have a subject ready in advance for that one.

In the meantime, make sure you keep total control over the Leg brothers, as they can get you into all sorts of trouble. Right, I'm off, where's me ball and chain?

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