Well, I just messed up another one of my nice dress shirts. This time, it was an exploding jalapeño that did the damage. Add that to the two other good shirts that were stained by splattered soy sauce and splashed gravy, and you can see why I'm afraid to wear nice clothes when there's food involved.
I don't know what's happened to my basic eating skills, but my fine dress shirts tell the story in full color. Every time I dress nicely, I end up spilling, spraying, dumping, or pouring some liquid on my shirt. I was eating at my favorite Chinese place when I dropped some fried delicacy into a bowl of soy sauce. Instantly, my yellow-and-white shirt - worn only three times - had big brown spots. I wasn't happy, but I chalked it up to my inability to manipulate chop sticks. However, when I subsequently bathed another nice shirt in brown gravy, I began to curse my luck and Newtonian physics. Why me? Why are my nice clean shirts being destroyed?
Isn't life cruel? I have some casual shirts that are fifteen years old and perfectly spotless. I could juggle open motor oil containers and not get a drop on them. But, when I put on a nice, new, long-sleeve dress shirt, I gather stains like a politician gathers life-long enemies.
The incident with the jalapeño was the final straw. I was at a cafeteria known for its free pickled peppers. I sat down at the table, put the tip of the hot pepper in my mouth, bit down, and sprayed a stream of neon-green liquid all over my fancy shirt. The pepper was just like a kid's water gun, spraying through a hole in its side. My wife ducked and missed most of the spray, but my shirt was soaked. I never knew jalapeños could hold that much fluid, but there was the proof, all over my shirt - the third one I'd stained in almost as many months.
If you see me out eating, don't expect me to be dolled up. Sure, I have nice dress shirts, but I'm keeping them at home, safe in my closet. And if you see me about to bite a pickled jalapeño, you should raise an umbrella in defense. I'm a menace to clean clothes everywhere, but I'm especially fond of destroying brand new dress shirts. Your shirt is just as good a target as mine.
David McCoy, a notorious storyteller and proud Yellow Jacket, lives in Conyers, Ga. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org