White Oak Mountain Ranger: Freezer Burn

  • Thursday, April 11, 2024

“For three million years we were hunter-gatherers, and it was through the evolutionary pressures of that way of life that a brain so adaptable and so creative eventually emerged. Today we stand with the brains of hunter-gatherers in our heads, looking out on a modern world made comfortable for some by the fruits of human inventiveness, and made miserable for others by the scandal of deprivation in the midst of plenty.” - Richard E. Leakey

Somewhere deep in the twisted strands of genome sequencing of the double helix called the DNA of every hunter gatherer brain, no matter how far removed the modern hunter gatherer may actually be from the day to day reality of hunting and gathering, for the purposes of sustenance and survival, there exists that one particular gene;

That one odd gene that incessantly screams; “I NEED A FREEZER! YOU NEED A FREEZER! WE NEED A FREEZER!”

Once the odd hunter gatherer freezer gene starts screaming, it doesn’t let up. The crying and moaning is simply relentless. It never stops. It unequivocally will not stop until that one day, where you finally break down, cough up good money, decent money that you could have used to buy gas to get you to your favorite little hunting and gathering spot.

Marginal money spent for a nondescript, and incredibly ugly, white box that won’t even do it’s thing until you plug it in.

This box you thought you needed so badly, is so ugly that, to the best of your knowledge, and after a considerable amount of thinking about such things, you have reached the conclusion that, over the course of a lifetime of hunting and gathering, you have never really witnessed a freezer in anyones living room, dining room or bedroom. At least, you haven’t seen one in anyone’s domicile who has been married for any length of time.

This box is so ugly, that even the tackiest of women you have ever been associated with, have had enough Martha Stewart drilled into their pretty little heads, to the point that they can identify ugly when they see ugly (men withstanding). When it comes to high decor design and good furniture arranging, the large majority of these homemakers would never even consider ugly freezers as fashionable decor generating accessories.

When I say tacky women, I’m not trying to be the least bit disrespectful here. I’m talking strippers (excuse me, that should have been exotic dancer/workers), assorted dirt road trailer puddin,' and even that blind chick with a drinking problem, you used to run with. Not one single one of these fine women would likely ever be so off the home decorating bubble enough as to have ever allowed such an ugly looking box in their living-dining room or bedroom.

WOMR Field Note: (As a long suffering student of cultural and sociological and evolutionary trends, I have noted in my extensive field studies, that many low browed, male, hunter and gatherer types, after experiencing a brutal and contested divorce or two, do exhibit tendencies where you find these types of hunter gatherers moving their ugly white boxes @#$% anywhere they @#$% well please want to, please and thank you!)

So, you’re forced by these strange voices in your head, to go and purchase this ugly box. You’re forced to quiet the screaming voices from the odd gene in your DNA riddled little brain, and at the same time, you’re trying your darnedest to silence the screaming little woman by settling the decor dispute by hiding the ugly box out of sight in the garage, or more than likely, somewhere out on the back porch.

You wanted it landed in the kitchen. Your logic appeared impeccable to you. You, and your sound, common sense logic, loose once again.

You plug the ugly box into the electric, listening intently for that marvelously satisfying hum, and you stand there and just gaze at this ugly white box. The voices in your low mileage brain are suddenly, strangely silent. So then, you just stand around waiting for your new ugly box to get cold. While it’s doing what it’s doing, you’re thinking about why it is that women don’t want something as ugly as this in their living room, or better yet, in their kitchen. That’s about the time you open the door on the new box for a temperature reading, and you ask yourself, one last time;

How did I get to this new level of stupid so fast?

Stupid you say? Let’s just try to recapture how stupid you’ve recently become;

1. You have been hearing voices. Voices that are screaming about freezers.

2. You’ve blown all your disposable income on an ugly white box.

3. The ugly white box will do nothing much of anything good until you plug it into a system designed to make money off of ugly white boxes and illumination of various sorts. This particular system of monetary gain is exponentially more expensive for you, with every additional electric consuming machine you have to plug into it.

4. The box you just bought, for the well being of the family and others, including, maybe the whole of mankind, can’t be located where you think it should be located. You simply do not get your way with your new white box this time. You note that you do not get your way more often than not, in and on a whole manner of things. You wonder to yourself is Martha Stewart is somehow involved?

5. In the process of discussing the most logical location for your new ugly box in stupid item Number 4 above; your current wife now wants to know how you said you knew of a stripper (named the incredibly talented Ms. SheBang-Bang) who has a freezer in both her kitchen and her bedroom?

6. You think to yourself about the blind chick with the drinking problem. And, how so glad you are that you didn’t bring up that particular period of your life and mistakenly drop that time frame into the conversational blunder detailed in stupid item Number 5. above.

7. The ugly new box is now cold, but empty. You suddenly realize that you blew all your gas money necessary to drive yourself to your best hunter gatherer spot in order to be able to fill the empty, but freezing box. You are now in a quandary about how to adequately fill the box.

8. You stumble to the nearest window and focus on the neighbor’s wife’s new Easter chickens. That makes you think of the blind chick with the drinking problem again.

9. At this juncture you have managed to achieve a new heightened level in despondence.

Fast forward from the days of higher despondence. The freezer has been filled. It took multiple years to finally fill the ugly box, but you’ve finally managed that task. You are additionally, thankful over the old dispute of where is the best location on the ranch for the ugly box.

Irrespective of long standing location logic disagreements, the box is now a treasure chest that requires a decent lock. A good enough lock is necessary to keep out thieving in-laws, malicious kids, and other assorted ne’er-do-well types who constantly prey on frozen treasure chests.

If you’re really lucky, a serviceable lock will ensure that eventually random, short term power outages don’t ruin your treasures. If you’ve once returned home from an extended expedition, only to find a bloody stench and fly covered, flood oozing all over the floor of the garage, or the back porch, you well know the utter heartbreak of poor ugly box design.

I am dead certain that every last freezer designer in the freezer designing industry, has conspired in a devious high level conspiracy. A conspiracy to avoid including an uninterruptible power supply in modern day freezer design. Call it the bold or evil conspiracy of designed obsolescence. Why wouldn’t you add an uninterruptible power supply to every freezing treasure chest? One that is dependent on a questionably steady flow of electricity?

Well, my friends, I’ll tell you why. No woman in her right mind, after having cleaned up the incredibly horrible catastrophe of a rotten and thawed out freezer, would ever allow any decent food item to ever be placed back in a smelly old rotted freezer.

I don’t care how much ‘Fee-breeze’ and bleach you use on the cleanup of a hot freezer, every woman on this planet earth, will forever smell the aroma of rotten meat in an old freezer. Freezer designers have done their research. Freezer designers know good and well this lack of an uninterruptible power supply is the best and most efficient way to sell new freezers to women world-wide. Discerning women who are well endowed with incredibly exceptional olfactory senses.

That’s a pretty evil conspiracy in my mind. Apparently it works like a charm. I’m on my third freezer. This one’s now way down in the barn, tied to a generator.

There’s another side of this freezer thing to consider. Are we hunter gathers just a bunch of hoarders? Are we just a lazy bunch? Do we think we are actually saving disposable income by hoarding food in our ugly little treasure chests?

Let’s go back to the days before the domestication of the horse. Every morning, rain or shine, Old Thag, the first hunter gatherer, punched the clock as he left the cave with his flint tipped spear in search of food for the family. The ultimate working stiff, Old Thag was. Fortunately for Old Thag and his people, when he speared food, that protein source probably weighed somewhere north of a ton, maybe two tons.

When Old Thag finally finished slicing up this huge trove of hot mammoth meat with his sharp flint knife, he was suddenly encumbered with a massive pile of rapidly rotting food for the table. Even if he could manage to smoke and preserve some amount of the meat, he still couldn’t carry much of it on down the trail without a good horse to haul the massive preserved load.

So, Old Thag and his hungry tribe, just wandered about from cave to cave, leaving huge piles of rotting meat in their wake. Left to rot, because they had to eat until they puked up rotten meat. That’s how dogs probably got domesticated before horses. A hungry dog will eat a good pile of puke when it gets hungry enough. Old Thag sure could have used an ugly freezer in the cave’s kitchen back then.

So, we’ve evolved into a rather lazy bunch of hunter gatherers since the days of Old Thag. Too lazy to go to the store every day. Too greedy too? Maybe we just think a simple stockpile of frozen food is somehow now a good thing? But there’s more complexity to lazy when it comes to a freezer that’s full.

A full freezer means modern man might develop a tendency to forget what’s in the bottom of that treasure chest. If you’re really a diligent type of freezer filler, you tend to scribble dates on packages when you put your gatherings in the frozen treasure chest.

If you’re the laziest of types of hunter gatherers, you have to guess at how long that bag of bluegill filets has been languishing at the bottom of the pile of frozen food you’ve forgotten about over the last five years or so. That brings us to the use of the word freezer burn.

There’s a few strings of words that end with the word burn. Besides the words freezer burn, there’s sun-burn, wind-burn, heart-burn, slow-burn, after-burn, side-burn and maybe Auburn. Not much else to speak of with the words ending with the word burn. Aside from sideburns, which was apparently named after some dandy who once started a new fashion craze for guys like Elvis, most words strings using burns indicate some kind of heat reference.

Freezer burn appears to insinuate the opposite of heat, somehow. Why is this? Why are ruined meats and veggies described as being burned after extended periods of time in a container where the absence of daylight and inhuman temperatures are involved?

I guess if you’ve ever wondered whether that ‘burned’ looking, dull, gun metal gray, and ice covered package of groceries was fit to eat, and you took the time to thaw it and actually cook it, smell it again, and then tried to get past the smell a second or third time, and then placed it in your mouth, before you threw the whole mess over the fence to see if the horses would maybe eat some of it, then you may truly understand the derivation of the word freezer burn. Try getting your bride to taste this stuff first. Don’t waste your time with blind chicks, they have noses like bloodhounds.

I’ve witnessed a swarm of large green flies turn their noses up at five year old, grilled deer sausage and fried okra pitched over the fence. I think the coyotes finally cleaned it up, but I’m not really too sure about where or how it got gone. There’s probably some more five or six year old deer sausage in the bottom of the old freezer, down in the barn.

Gather on my brothers and sisters!

Gather on!

Old Thag would have wanted that way.

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