Ghosts and witches. Ho-hum. Halloween is not the scariest day of the year and not by a long shot. In fact, Halloween is kind of a warmup act for the actual creepiest holiday: National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day which is widely celebrated on Nov. 15, though “widely celebrated” might be an exaggeration. “Holiday” might be a stretch too.
Legend has it that National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day was created back in 1999, when a ghost was seen entering a refrigerator in a breakroom at the corporate offices of Hallmark.
I’m joking. It was really the brainchild of home economists at Whirlpool Home Appliances who wanted to encourage us to empty our fridges of all the forgotten leftovers that will never be eaten in order to make room for all the Thanksgiving leftovers that will never be eaten.
I decided they might be right after we had a little icebox emergency. A guest misplaced a tiny bottle of eye medicine in our refrigerator. She opened the door, took one look and let out a bloodcurdling scream. Or maybe that was milk-curdling.
I can’t blame her. My refrigerator is like a haunted house. There’d be cobwebs in there if spiders could reach the handle. The door squeaks on its hinges, and the lights haven’t worked in months, even with new bulbs. I’d like to say that’s the reason I haven’t cleaned it for a while, but that would be a lie.
I don’t even like looking inside. But I decided to face my fears, find the medicine, and get the jump on National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day all in one fell swoop. I put on my gloves, my hard hat and my headlamp and told my husband, “I’m going in. If I’m not back in three days, send a search party.” And then, adrenaline coursing through my veins, I set off to boldly go where no one with any common sense has gone before.
Nah. I don’t own a hard hat or a headlamp, but I have a really big flashlight. And what I found in the depths of my icebox was…chilling. Scary too. Here’s a sample:
•A bowl of something; I’m just not sure what. Maybe leftover dressing from last Thanksgiving.
•A bag of algae bloom fresh off the lake. Actually, I think in its youth, it may have been cilantro.
•A handful of free-roaming raisins that had once been grapes. I know what you’re thinking: All raisins were once grapes. But I never buy raisins. These raisins were definitely grapes when we met.
•A concoction of everything that has ever been spilled in our fridge collected and dried up under the drawers. It looked like a gumbo mud flat.
•Some creepy condiments, a menacing meat loaf and an assortment of other unidentifiable items none of which were edible, and from the looks of them it was hard to believe they ever were. I was petrified just looking at them. So were they.
That’s what I found. Here’s what I didn’t find: the eye medicine. All that work for nothing. Sure I have a clean refrigerator, but what good is it? I can’t see inside without a flashlight.
Dorothy Rosby is the author of several humor books including “Alexa’s a Spy and Other Things to Worry About” coming soon. Contact [email protected]