Opinion: Start spreading the news


Whenever I read a newspaper article that begs to become the basis of my next humor column, I cut it out and save it. Then I forget where I put it (I also do that with car titles, birth certificates and insurance policies).  Here’s one rich article I did find on my desktop.

In Boise, Idaho, police thought they solved a yearlong condiment spree. A 74-year-old woman was arrested after pouring mayonnaise in a library book drop box. She may also be connected to nine other condiment-related crimes.

I should have sent the Boise police a thank-you note for practically writing my column for me. You could watch every “Twilight Zone” episode, and I’m tellin’ you, the words “condiment-related crimes” are not going to pop up.

I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about what I would do if circumstances had led me to a life of crime. However, I know that when you’re looking for shifty ways to make a living, the answer does not lie in a select variety of sauces.

My mother was an unrepentant Sweet’n Low thief, so I saw firsthand how easy it was to score big at White Castle or Steak ’n Shake. Mom seemed like a very nice person, but those close to her knew that her sweet disposition was artificial.

The book-defiling criminal carried a backpack concealing her two sandwich spreads of choice. Officers could not stop and search her without a warrant, or they would have violated her fourth condiment rights. It’s legal to own a Glock, but a squeezy bottle of mayonnaise is suspect. The woman accused the police of profiling her, but the trail of Gulden’s Mustard packets she left served as probable cause. She was once detained at an airport for having more than two ounces of vinaigrette in her carry-on. She tried to avoid trouble by flirting with the TSA agents but was then arrested for being too saucy.

Pouring mayo down a library book slot is a serious offense, but judges can use discretion in sentencing. Hellmann’s on Hemingway is clearly a punishable crime, but mustard on “Mein Kampf”? Any judge worth his salt should overlook that breach.

Police were reluctant to reveal the other nine condiment capers she committed — fearing a wave of food-topping, copycat crimes would sprinkle the country. The woman did not use Worcestershire sauce during the commission of any misdemeanors. Lea & Perrins management could capitalize on this. Since their product is high in sodium, they could brag about how low it is in crime rates.

The woman was put on probation. The judge thought she might be a flight risk, and at last report she was on the lam. I bet she had some mint jelly in her purse.


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