Is there anything more dire than an expiration date? A big fat deadline stamped across stuff screaming EAT BY! USE BY! SELL BY! THIS ITEM WILL SELF-DESTRUCT BY!

Just kidding on that last one. Wouldn’t it be cool though? There you are, minding your own business in the dairy section, when BAM! Exploding milk cartons all around. Sure, it’d be messy, but it would eliminate that whole “take a risk or sniff” experiment. Not so much fun in your own fridge so we’ll scrap that idea.

I wish I could figure out once and for all what to do with these dates. Are they suggestions? Hard core cutoffs? Something in the middle? And does it vary depending on the item? Stale cereal I can live with, but spoiled milk or rancid meat is a hard no. It’s hard to take expiration dates seriously on things like cotton candy or Spaghetti-Os. Shoot, those things have so many chemicals they’d probably be fine to eat in fifty years. Seems like a waste of ink even to date them, but maybe it has more to do with how long before the packaging starts leeching chemicals into the food. And great, now I’ve got something else to ponder about food safety issues.

Linda hosts Stream of Consciousness Saturday. This week’s prompt is “xp.” Use it as a word, or find a word with “xp”in it. As always, use any way you’d like. Enjoy!