Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Leveling the Jello

Few people in the world have been charged with the responsibility that I have. I am in charge of leveling the Jello at my house.

Why, you ask, is that my responsibility?

It is because I am the proprietor of the level and the shims. And it is because I have a keen eye and once worked in a refrigerator factory.

Every Fourth of July, my wife and I are invited by dear friends to their house for an Independence Day party. My wife makes a delicious desert that isn’t too fattening. It consists of Jell-o and all kinds of other goodies such as fruit, and it is made up of three layers of red, white and you guessed it, blue.

There are few refrigerators in the world whose trays are exactly level. If there are, we have never had one. It seems that when one puts a heavy glass tray on a shelf, it deflects. Thus, the first, second and third layers of Jello in my wife’s desert can never be level, because the glass tray in which they are cooled, tilts to the front. That’s where I come in.

With a practiced eye and the proper tools, I am able to insert shims under the glass tray while it is on a refrigerator shelf, so that it is almost perfectly level. And all three layers of my wife’s delicious are of the same thickness in every direction.

Well, you say, anybody can do that. And perhaps you are right, with enough practice. One of the main problems is that there is never enough room inside a refrigerator to place a level in two positions that are right angles to each other. Once you have knocked over a carton of milk, or a jar of pickles, you will understand. To make matters worse, shims are usually too long, so that once the desired even-ness is obtained, the refrigerator door will not close because the shims are in the way.

And if all other problems are overcome, the job takes too long and the refrigerator warms and food spoils.

Leveling the Jello is not a responsibility to be taken lightly.

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