I’d like to know what you would do if confronted with my conundrum Monday. Imagine: just before pouring yourself a glass of milk, you notice a dead fly floating in the jug. Would you waste a half-gallon of milk you had your heart set on? Or would …
There’s a hidden-camera show on CBS called “What Would You Do?” Witnesses to rude or threatening public behavior, staged by trained actors, are interviewed afterwards and asked why they did or did not intervene. The idea is to prompt viewers to challenge themselves on how they’d respond in the same situation.
I’d like to know what you would do if confronted with my conundrum Monday. Imagine: just before pouring yourself a glass of milk, you notice a dead fly floating in the jug. Would you waste a half-gallon of milk you had your heart set on? Or would you fish the fly from its calcium-rich grave, pour yourself a cold, frothy glass and drink it? I would, and did, and my friend Jere Clemens thinks it absolutely disgusting.
Here’s how it went down: I often set unfinished glasses of milk in the fridge to pour back into the jug later when I’m not so tired. I do realize that in most houses, that in itself is considered revolting, but you must remember I’m a bachelor/loner and nobody but me will be drinking from it. By the same token, there’s no need to ever close bathroom doors at my place.
But I regress. Monday evening, I was hungrier than I’ve been in a coon’s age and was ready to feast on a big ol’ steak when I poured the glass of milk back into the jug. A fly must have been cooling off in my fridge, because I spotted it floating face-down in the jug and assumed it was deceased — obviously too late for any life-saving CPR heroics.
Now bear in mind: I can’t truly enjoy any meal without buttered bread (the butter spread thick enough to “see my teethmarks in it,” as my Dad used to say) and cold milk. My dilemma was that it was too late and I was too tired and hungry to run to the store. Hesitant to drink at first, I reasoned, “Hey, how do I know this wasn’t a really clean, neat-freak fly? That disease carrying thing is probably a myth, anyway.”
OK, maybe I was justifying, but no T-bone should be washed down with tap water. I frantically searched my utensils drawer for anything thin and long enough to maneuver inside a gallon jug and spent exhausting, trial-and-error minutes trying to land that fly. I’d finally attach to it and painstakingly inch it upward, but then the jug would tilt and the milk would pull it right back in.
Eventually the meal was delicious, and that cold 1 percent tasted just as good as ever. But afterward, I pondered if it might be such an abnormal act that maybe I shouldn’t even tell anyone. I did text Jere though, and this is our actual text transcript: Me: Hey, if you found a fly in your milk, would you still drink it?”
Jere: “Of course not. Please tell me you didn’t.”
Me: “Of course I did!”
Me: “That’s absurd. The odds against it are probably at least 100-1. And even if it was, it’s not like it sank to its knees or anything. And maybe it wiped its feet before entering my house.”
I think this whole flies-are-filthy thing is overrated anyway. As stated, with their tiny feet and minuscule bodyweight, they’re lucky to sink into anything to their ankles, if indeed they even have ankles. Sure, they skip lightly across various offensive substances, but so what? I’m sure the average ant doesn’t go out of its way to walk around a pile of poop either, yet no one accuses ants of carrying every disease from lupus to leprosy.
Truth be known, I drank two glasses of the fly-milk, and poured more on my Rice Chex the next morning. And I’d probably do it again under the same circumstances. Now, if I saw several fly corpses in there, and the milk was several days past the expiration date, I might pour it down the drain. But not just for one fly whose lifestyle I know nothing about.