Today's Lesson: Hot Things Are Dangerous / by Courtney Mehlhaff

I'm telling the following story for only one purpose:  I'd like you to conjure this image whenever you're feeling a little down or uncoordinated, because I guarantee you'll feel better about yourself afterward.

So tonight I got home from work and decided to make supper.  Something easy, something that I could split up into individual portions and take to work for the rest of the week.  I settled on goulash and spaghetti, both lovely midwestern dishes whose recipes start (as every good dinner should) with 1 lb. of hamburger.

I was cooking away quite successfully, using three of four burners.  I'm not bragging.  On the back burner I had my goulash noodles, hamburger, onions, and tomato soup simmering, and on the front I had my spaghetti sauce warming up.  I reached over the sauce to add some cheese to the goulash, and right as my arm passed over the front pot, the molten blob of Prego inside decided to bubble up and explode.

Now, I'm not sure what went through my mind in that split second when the sauce hit my skin, but I think I may have assumed I'd been rudely assaulted in some fashion, or perhaps that an invisible cowboy ninja had stabbed me with a tiny branding iron.  The point is this -- whatever fired between my synapses, it directed my body to spasm violently backward, my outstretched and sizzling arm jerking up, hand contracting.

It's important to note that in that hand was an open bag of shredded cheese.

What resulted was a veritable downpour of monterey jack.  No, more like a snowstorm.  Except instead of the 10" currently falling outside, this one was in my kitchen, and there was no way my landlord was going to come shovel it for me.

After the explosion, I pulled myself together enough to realize what had happened, turned down the burner, and stuck my arm under the faucet.  When I looked up to find a wall covered in sauce and a floor covered in cheese, I wished as I have never wished before that, like an updated Nixon, I secretly videotaped my apartment, so that I could review the previous two minutes in slow motion. Oh, Rose Mary Woods, what treasures slipped through your fingers back in the day?

We'll never know.  All I know is that I now have a dime-sized burn glowing on my wrist, courtesy of nobody but me.  And Prego.  And that invisible cowboy ninja.