By Mary Zahran
The following story depicts one woman’s unnatural attachment to a Tupperware container. It will be interpreted by some as a cautionary tale and by others as a chapter on the road to enlightenment. Each reader must decide for himself or herself which one it is.
You have just made the most delicious chicken soup in the history of soup-making, and you want to give your daughter a container of it to take home. You go to the cabinet where you store your Tupperware, also known as the scariest place in your house. Because you never installed sliding shelves inside your cabinet when your mother-in-law told you to, you have to get on your hands and knees and feel around for a container large enough and sturdy enough to hold the amount of soup you want to give your daughter.
While finding a container just the right size is not a problem, finding a matching lid is another issue. You pull out every lid in the cabinet—all 100 of them. Some of them belong to old margarine tubs. You realize just how old some of these lids are when you see one that has an expiration date of July 12, 1985 on it.
You are not deterred by this embarrassing discovery, so you keep searching until you finally find the perfect match. Clutching this precious item to your bosom, you suddenly realize that it has several small tears that will keep it from providing a tight seal for the soup.
With tears streaming down your cheeks, you know that your only option is to use your last Tupperware container that is completely intact. Long known by the entire family as the Holy Grail of plastic containers, it resides in a special cabinet all by itself. Sometimes you think you see a heavenly light shining between the cracks of the cabinet doors. Since no one else in the family has ever spoken of such a vision, you keep this information to yourself.
You have even thought of asking your lawyer if you can leave your Tupperware to the Smithsonian after you die in order to avoid a bitter family feud over its rightful owner. You have seen other families fight over money, property and jewelry, but those squabbles would pale in comparison to the fight your children would have over this priceless heirloom.
Your history with this container goes back a long way. You even remember when you bought it. It was March of 1976, and your friend Barbara had just installed some beautiful lime green shag carpet in her condo. She was anxious to show off her new décor, and she decided that having a Tupperware party would be the perfect way to do it. You were equally anxious to show off your new Dorothy Hamill haircut, so you eagerly accepted her invitation.
What a party it was! The heady smell of polyester clothing filled the air, and the room was evenly split between girls who took their hairstyle cues from Farrah Fawcett and those who took their cues from Dorothy Hamill. You played games, drank strawberry daiquiris and ate enough cheese fondue and sweet and sour meatballs to sink a battleship.
You were so proud to buy your first piece of Tupperware that day. You must have burped it a dozen times the first time you used it. All these years later, it is still in perfect shape. It isn’t torn and it hasn’t become discolored. Most important of all, you haven’t lost the lid.
How could you possibly part with such a precious thing? Yes, you know your daughter will take good care of it if you lend it to her, but she doesn’t have the emotional connection to it that you do. She doesn’t look at it and think of disco, or leisure suits or daiquiris. She just sees a plastic container.
Besides, she hasn’t seen the heavenly light your Tupperware emits. Perhaps this is a sign that she isn’t worthy to use it.
Tomorrow, you will go to the store and buy some new containers. You will even splurge and buy the name brand, not the store brand.
But today, you will put some soup in a large “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” tub, secure the lid with an entire roll of packing tape, and send your daughter home.
Mary Zahran, who prefers not to answer any questions about this story’s origin, may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.