“I was supposed to make chili this weekend to take to the office today. What can I do? It’s time to go to work — too late to cook now. They are counting on me, and there may not be enough chili without mine!”
Let me explain, the employees where I work had decided to have a “chili cook-off” at the office. Each unit would have one person cook a pot of chili and bring it
to the office for a chili potluck. Only because no one else from my section volunteered, I said I would do it.
I went home Friday and promptly forgot all about it until about 15 minutes before time to leave for work on Monday morning.
“Think I could call in sick? I can’t go empty handed. I don’t know what to do!”
“Could you buy some chili?”
“Where? There are no restaurants open at this hour of the morning. But… maybe I could go to the grocery store and buy a couple of cans of prepared chili. It will not be homemade, but I can put it in a dish and pretend that I made it.”
So, I did the only thing I could do. I headed for Wal-Mart; open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Not much business at 6:00 in the morning. Piles of boxes rolled down the aisles on carts. Stock boys crawled around on the floor around trying to restock the shelves. I rushed to where I thought the chili would be, daring anyone to get in my way, impatiently looking for what I needed.
I thought I knew exactly where it was, but it was not with the canned beans, not with soup, not with the ethnic foods. I was nearly frantic! I finally found it hiding out on the aisle with prepared foods. I grabbed several of the largest cans I could find and ran to the front of the store.
“I can take you here,” said a checker. Then I realized, no need to use the self-checkout lane. The regular checkout lanes were wide open. No waiting lines at this hour of the morning.
Finally, arriving at the office, I realized I hadn’t thought about how heavy this stuff would be. I had my crock-pot and electric can opener in one hand, and the
mammoth cans of chili in the other, not to mention my purse, which kept sliding off my shoulder. It’s only a block from the parking garage, but it seemed as though I trudged miles. My arms were dragging the ground by the time I got to the office.
I snuck into a vacant cubical, opened the cans of chili and put them in the pot. I wrapped up the empty cans in the plastic grocery bag and hid the evidence in the bottom of a trashcan.
“Well, that takes care of that! I only hope it doesn’t taste so bad that no one will eat it.”
Instead of voting, they decided that the boss would judge of the “cook-off”, eating a bit of each kind and deciding which was best.
So, the judge tried each pot. I waited for impended doom, praying she wouldn’t mention that one pot of chili tasted like a tin can. But she pointed to my pot and said, “That chili is the best.”
Wait! Oh, no! I decided I’d better just keep my mouth shut at this point and be a gracious winner. Fortunately, there was no prize so I didn’t have to feel too guilty about using canned chili instead of making my own.
Everyone had to try my chili to see how good it was. When they asked for the recipe, I just shrugged and said that it was nothing special, looking secretive. So far no one has persisted.
Little do they know, my prizewinning chili has only two ingredients: a can of chili and a can opener.