Thursday 08 Dec 2016

Samples
Jennifer Flaten

This past Wednesday I was engaged in my usual morning routine, which is slurping a diet Pepsi and perusing the morning newspaper.

As usual, I rifled through the food section, barely stopping to read the recipes and other food related articles.

Hey, that stuff is just filler. I was looking for something important; the comics, which I know, are in the back of the food section.

Yes, sticking the comics at the back of the food section is a bit weird but hey, I am just happy my town still has a daily newspaper-so I am not too particular about what is located where.

As I page through recipe upon recipe on my way to my daily snicker, a very long sidebar article catches my attention. Well, what do you know it is an article on good manners.

I stopped and read the list of Dos and Don'ts.

Hm, let's see according to the rules, you shouldn't cut in the line and you shouldn't push and shove-okay nothing brand new there.

These stunning pieces of mannerly advice are among about 15 other suggestions on how to comport yourself in a social situation.

Now, since this is the food section, and the list of rules included no shoving, you might assume that it is an article geared towards children. Perhaps, the goal of the article is to explain how to behave at a birthday party.

I mean the newspaper might be trying to entice younger readers-really younger readers-you gotta get circulation up somehow!

Sigh, I only wish it were that, or maybe a list of typical rules one might encounter at the local pool or kids play area.

I mean an adult, especially one that we could reasonably assume wasn't raised in a barn wouldn't have to be told not to cut in line and not to push and shove.

Ah, there's the rub. It is a list of rules for adults. Apparently, the local newspaper felt the population needed a primer course on how to behave at a tasting event.

Keep in mind this is a rather high end, strictly adult tasting.

No, I am not joking, the paper really published a list of things you should and should not do at the tasting.

I guess I should be glad (or maybe scared) that the list didn't insist on people wearing pants. I mean that says something right?

For the record, chewing with your mouth closed wasn't on the list. I feel certain sense of pride that the population seems to have mastered that.

I am proud that the denizens of my little city at least knows that they should dress for these occasions, even if we have to be told not to stand in front of the booth gobbling all the samples.

Okay, I admit we probably did need to be told that we shouldn't stand in front of one booth and eat everything they have on display, some people might confuse the event with an all you can eat buffet.

It also pointed out that you couldn't load all the samples into your pockets to take to your "friend". I picture some poor single guy swiping an entire tray of cocktail wienies and thinking, "alright I can eat for a week", after all Milwaukeeans are a pretty frugal group.

I want to assure everyone that even though we are Wisconsinites and the tasting did primarily feature beer and cheese we can be civilized.

Although I am beginning to wonder, the list also told people not to get mad if the vendors were out of samples.

I imagine the newspaper wanted to avoid a scenario where angry plastic fork wielding cheese lovers vault over the booth like the French peasants storming the Bastille.

The perceived need for this article might stem from a fiasco from a couple of years ago. A local group decided to hold an all you can drink martini event.

Yeah, you read that right for $40 you got all the martinis you could drink...and let me tell you the locals; they can drink a lot of martinis.

To make matters worse the event was at the local art museum. Yeah, occasionally we are all kinds of dumb here. You don't want to know what they did to the Michangelo, oh, go ahead, Google it.

So okay, maybe I can see why the paper ran the 'behave yourself at the tasting article.'

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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