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Seal City High School Final Exams

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It was only 2 weeks until the end of the school year and Sandy Seal was preparing for final exams. It was here last year of school, and she wanted to finish well. The top student would get a full scholarship to the local college.

That was the only way Sandy could fulfill her dream of being a teacher. There were three younger pups still at home, and her parents didn’t have the extra money. If she went to work, she might never get back to school.

Sandy was a good student, and her only real competition was Jeremy. He was a seal from a very rich family. His father sold fish to the local hotel, and they paid very well. Needless to say, Jeremy was used to getting what he wanted.

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She knew that she could win the speaking competition. Jeremy would win the fishing test. She was a fast swimmer, but he could dive deeper. That only left the obstacle course.

It was a test of skill and speed. There were hoops to swim through and objects to go over, under, and around. It was hard, and no one knew how it would be put together until the day of the race.

Sandy practiced every day with her best friend, Jacki. Jacki wasn’t as fast as Jeremy, but she was very good with the obstacles. Jacki watched Sandy practice with the obstacles, and helped her improve her time getting around them.

As far as anyone could see, Jeremy wasn’t practicing at all. Sandy couldn’t understand it. Was he working at night? Sandy was getting nervous. Why didn’t he have to practice? Finally, she couldn’t stand it anymore.

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Sandy: Hey, Jeremy.

Jeremy: Hey, Sandy. What’s up?

Sandy: Haven’t seen you around the pool much. I thought maybe we could work out together. Not much time before finals.

Jeremy: I’d love to Sandy, but I’m not really working out this year. I have a new trainer and a whole new training regimen.

Sandy: Really? What are you doing?

Jeremy: It’s kind of top-secret. But it’s really working.

Sandy: What’s the big secret?

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Jeremy: It wouldn’t be much of a secret if I told you.

Sandy: I guess not. So, you’re just not doing any practice before finals?

Jeremy: I told you. I’m using my new process.

Sandy: So where did you find this super-secret process?

Jeremy looked around to see if anyone was listening.

Jeremy: I’m not supposed to tell, but my dad found out about it at the hotel.

Sandy: He got it from the humans?

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Jeremy: Shh! He could get in a lot of trouble.

Sandy: Sorry. But be really careful. Humans do some incredibly stupid things at times.

Jeremy: My dad said the people looked OK. They use it in their “spa”.

Sandy: OK. But if you start slapping us on the back and talking about football, we’re no longer friends.

Jeremy (laughing): Deal.

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Sandy left, but she was worried about Jeremy. Things that got wrapped up with humans never seemed to end well for the seals.  That was how her Aunt Emma ended up in Newfoundland rather than Nome.

Aunt Emma was going to visit a friend and a human told her the “best” way to get there. Aunt Emma was lucky to get back home again.

Sandy wasn’t sure what to do. Jeremy was arrogant, and could be a jerk, but she didn’t want him getting hurt.

After school the next day, Sandy told Jacki that she needed to do something before they practiced. She went to the cove where Jeremy and his family lived. Sandy watched him greet his mother.

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Jeremy: Hi, Mom! How was your day?

Mom: Great, Sweetie! How about you?

Jeremy: Okay. My stomach feels weird, and my head hurts.

Mom: I hope you’re not getting sick.

Jeremy: I don’t think so. I think it’s that stuff Dad got for me to drink. I don’t like it.

Mom: But look how much faster you are since you started using it.

Jeremy: But I was fast before.

Mom: You know that your father can’t stand the idea of you getting beaten by a girl.

Next week: What is he drinking? Is Jeremy getting sick from whatever he’s been drinking?

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Pictures courtesy of Google Images

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Can You Keep a Secret?

On Monday, I went into work to discover that a major cheese producer had recalled a large number of products. Something to do with shelf life (yes, that means the possibility of moldy cheese). As a result, there were gaping holes in spots. Additionally we had ended a sale for products made by that same company over the weekend. Normally we get the replacement stock on Monday, but not this week. So – more holes.

As I was bringing out a cart full of cheese, a woman stopped me by calling out from a few feet away, “There’s the person I’m looking for!” (It’s funny how those same words can make you feel appreciated or make you want to run.) She came up and asked me what the deal is with the recall. I told her that it was an issue with the shelf life. She wanted to know if the manufacturer had recalled the products or Ralph’s. I assured her that it came from the company. She leaned in and asked me if I was telling the truth about how much I knew.

She wanted a product that was not on recall, but was out of stock. She told me how “interesting” it was that we happened to be out of stock for the product we had given her a coupon for a few days earlier. It was “obvious” what we were up to. We just wanted to get her (personally) into the store with the promise of something she wanted so we could sell her what we wanted to sell. I was grateful that she explained what we were up to. It was actually a lot more comforting than the thought that the manufacturer was causing us to lose thousands of dollars in revenue by not providing some of our best-selling products.

As I was trying to figure out how Ralph’s could have planned to be out of exactly what she wanted on the one day she was in the store, I wondered if other people go from point A to point B via point Q. I decided that I need to check the Internet. I love the Internet – it’s like statistics: you can prove anything you want by knowing what to do with the data. Unfortunately, unlike statistics people’s thoughts are not always as rational as numbers. I should have known better than to type “cheese conspiracy” into the search engine.

The majority of the early responses were about something called “The Great Cheese Conspiracy” by Jean Van Leeuwen. It’s a very cute story about some mice who try to steal cheese. All of those stories were pretty straight-forward. When I got to the humans, it was a different story (of course). Some (very few) were factual, some were tongue-in-cheek, and a few people should meet my customer.

My favorite was the man who said that Roger Federer lost his edge as a tennis player because of cheese. Apparently after Federer won Wimbledon, someone sent him some cheese as a gift. Being human, he ate the cheese. Because of the high fat content, Federer was unable to perform at his highest level and lost at the Olympics. The cheese gift was an attempt to ruin Federer’s game, and it worked. If you are interested, you can watch at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3x0921YzOY.

Apparently more well-known (from the number of citations), is the Subway Vast Isosceles Cheese Conspiracy from 2007. It seems that Subway was trying to use the triangles to charge more for cheese. If you lay the triangles in a rhombus, you only need one layer of cheese. But if you lay the cheese in a razorback you need two layers of cheese to fully cover the sandwich. So Subway can charge for double cheese.  I’m not sure how well this conspiracy is working. I don’t know how my cheese has been laid out, but when it’s melted it all runs together anyway.

There is a man who feels the British government is forcing restaurants to favor British cheeses over Continental cheeses by having farmers and industries create a wide variety of cheeses that are inferior to those across the Channel. People can then feel they are supporting their own farmers. There are also a fair number of people who humorously claim that large companies have intentionally stopped creating their favorite products (e.g., blue cheese dressing) to cause them emotional distress.

Of course, someone always has to ruin the fun. In 2007 (apparently a big year for cheese theories), a Chicago grand jury indicted four people for trying to ship more than 110,000 pounds of contaminated Mexican-style cheese. They took cheese customers had returned, scraped off the mold and fungus, and resold it wholesale. They were caught creating false documentation after lying to federal agents. I think they might have gotten away with it if they’d used bleu cheese or limburger – it’s really hard to tell whether or not they have spoiled.

I was unable to pin down one final theory. It’s called “The Philadelphia Cream Cheese Conspiracy – the Truth Revealed”. It’s tagged with “think about the animals”. I could get to the video but couldn’t get it to run (maybe the Philadelphia people have blocked it). You can look for it on 30 Bananas a Day – The High Carb Raw Vegan Lifestyle website. It shows 24 views so you can probably still be the first to rate it.

In the meantime, I am going to look for the people responsible for replacing all the chocolate chip ice cream with cookie dough ice cream. I’m sure someone had to be paid off.