Sixteenth Entry


(click photo to enlarge)


Thursday, April 2nd, 2020

Ethical guidelines for hospitals are about to kick in. They focus on “maximizing life,” at the same time I heard the word “lottery”. One point that made some sense to me was that doctors should not be deciding the fate of their patients.

The estimate of projected deaths in the US has stayed at 100 – 240,000 for days. It’s based on one model. Seems like a big range.

One of the positive aspects of quarantine has been to take stock of my larder—surely I am not the only one doing that. I usually buy dry beans—black or garbanzo. Spending time with younger people in their fast-paced world inspired me to buy more canned beans in recent years. Canned beans are certainly quicker to prepare, but really not that much easier, definitely more expensive, worse for the environment, and not as healthy.

Growing up we had a bomb shelter, radioactivity measuring devices, reserve food, water, and a big generator (my father was an electrical engineer). Perhaps, as a result, I have always kept enough food and canned goods to be able to eat and/or feed others for many days – but not weeks. As I stocked up on everything but toilet paper, it occurred to me that I should use what was in the back of the cupboard first.

Isn’t tinned food supposed to last forever, or at least a very long time? I tossed a tin of smoked oysters, packed in China that had “expired” more than five years ago. How about the kippered herring, packed in Maine, now 8 years past the “use by” date?

As a kid the only disease I feared was botulism. None of my cans had expanded. An oversized can of organic garbanzo beans lurking in the back was stamped: “Best by 2/2014”. I simply could not throw that whole can away.

Throwing stuff away has always been hard for me. I recycled all my glass from when I first moved to this city, back when used raw materials held some cash value. I remember a troop of girl scouts arriving annually at my loft, driven by someone’s father in a 1973 station wagon, to pick up bottles. They filed down to my dirt floor cellar and carried the damp boxes out, I was disappointed they were not in uniform.

Not to reminisce too much. I opened the garbanzo beans – boiled them, to be sure – and have been eating them for days. Certainly not the best I have had, but they seem not to have killed me.
One cannot live forever.