Monday 14 March 2022


    The other day we had just opened a new jar of peanut butter.  It was one of those “healthy” kinds of peanut butter where before you can eat it, you had to mix the peanut oil that was on the top of the jar with the thick peanut paste that had settled on the bottom.  I slowly stirred and stirred with a knife, careful not to make the oil spill over the edge of the jar.  

    When I had the peanut butter mixed, I decided to reward myself by putting a glob of the peanut butter on the knife and then putting it into my mouth.  Suddenly all of the saliva and moisture in my mouth disappeared.  The peanut butter had sucked it all up.  It did create a bit of a panic in my brain, but I was able to quickly drink some water.

    Amazingly, there is a word for that peanut butter panic:   Arachibutyrophobia- the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth.

    The experience reminded me of another time I had arachibutyrophobia:

After I had completed my 2 years of Conscientious Objector service working in the Goodwill Store in Indianapolis, I moved back to Evansville, proposed to my wife, and we were married.  We found an old two story house on the edge of Evansville’s ghetto and began our married life together.  

    I needed employment so I took advantage of my teaching degree and signed up as a substitute teacher.

    One day I was subbing at my old high school.  My good wife prepared a bag lunch for me to take along.  She, being very health-conscious, fixed me a peanut butter (the healthy kind you have to stir up) and jelly sandwich, made with two thick slices of her homemade bread.   

When I my lunch period came, I found myself an empty classroom where I settled down at a desk and unwrapped the wax paper of my sandwich.  I was chewing the first couple of bites from my sandwich when suddenly my mouth became desiccated; all of the moisture in my mouth, sucked up and under assault by the dehydrating, thick, dry, mass of peanut butter and bread.  

Suddenly I realized that I had not brought along anything to drink with my lunch and as my mouth reached par with those of old desert-dried mummies, I made an emergency scramble out of the classroom, down the long empty hallway in search of drinking fountain before I expired.  Luckily I found one before I died.  

    It had been a lovingly-made lunch, that I will long remember.  

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