Pronounced with a silent H, heavy on the phlegm…

…and if there’s any question as to just how heavy we’re talking here, well, rest assured that it will all become disgustingly clear quite soon enough!  In fact, those with particularly squeamish stomachs might want to take a moment to collect themselves before we get down to the real meat and potatoes of today’s topic, so to speak.

Oh, if only you knew how amusing that pun really is!

You see, The Bleeech Effect is a term that I affectionately coined just earlier this week while cleaning out our refrigerator.  It seems as though when one goes on a week-long vacation as I did recently, along with making arrangements to have someone water the plants and feed the fish while you’re away, it’s also considered to be an admirable idea to throw away anything that may rot and stink up the joint as well. And while the plants were still leafy and the fish still floating upright upon our return, can you guess what I did manage to forget during said final frantic moments of vacation preparation???

Needless to say, despite enjoying a blissful stint of rest and relaxation down in the sunny tropics last week, I nonetheless returned to a fridge filled with sights and smells of an unspeakable horror, which brings us back to bleeech because there’s really only one thing to be done when you open the door to find things growing on top of other things, with the occasional smaller things scurrying about amongst the larger things.  And believe you me, while I wish that the one thing would’ve been to slowly back out of the room, close the door, and leave the house never to return, unfortunately my wife quickly reminded me that all of our stuff is there, so instead of running away like a man who respects his nose, I was faced with the frightening alternative – I was going to have to clean out the refrigerator … myself.

So without gloves, a face mask, or any other form of protection other than sheer luck, out of the depths one after another came jugs of milk and plastic containers and Tupperware of all shapes and sizes to be promptly emptied, disposed of, sealed up in garbage bags and incinerated, with the ashes sent out to sea or buried miles beneath the surface of the Earth.  And the thing is, whereas most of the store-bought packaging is fairly cut and dry, with the Don’t You Dare Open This… date stamped right there on the side, but as for those homemade concoctions in their Tupperware vessels … that’s where The Bleeech Effect is put to use…

It’s a pretty simple process – with the container in question in hand, your feet firmly planted on the ground, you cautiously begin to crack open the lid.  What happens next determines if that old macaroni salad is still good eatin’ or if you’re better off sending it promptly to that big garbage disposal in the sky.  As the lid opens, you’ll begin to see…and quite possibly smell…what’s been lurking inside.  Now if you open the lid with somewhat of a surprise and remark, “Hey, this doesn’t look so bad…” then the foodstuff in question is perfectly edible and can go back into its chilled home to be forgotten for another several weeks.  On the other hand, if you open that container and immediately stagger back, gasping for breath and unable to secure that lid fast enough as you feel your stomach begin to turn, then there you go.  Your only audible response is a shuddering, “Bleeech…” as you embarrassingly drop the food, container and all, into the garbage can, holding it far from your body with only two fingers – my friends, you’ve just witnessed The Bleeech Effect hard at work.

Of course, there are other notable nuances that also accompany The Bleeech Effect – pets may flee the kitchen in terror, the overhead lights may flicker as the noxious fumes work their way into the electrical system, you may not even be able to tell what the item in question used to be by looking at it – but ultimately the bleeech itself is your telltale sign that it’s time to say goodbye to that leftover chicken salad that you brought home from the deli a week-ish ago.  Really, though, in a scary sort of way we’re actually lucky to have something like The Bleeech Effect, if you think about it – otherwise, how many refrigerators and even entire kitchens would eventually have to be abandoned after having succumbed to forsaken meatloaves and Chinese takeout that had been long since cast aside in favor of food that doesn’t require reheating?

Obviously, my first hope would be that all of you out there maintain impeccable refrigerators and iceboxes, making the most out of each delicious morsel brought home from the grocery store or local eatery and thus minimizing your need to ever dispose of something in the garbage at all!  But nonetheless, in the event that you find yourself negligent as was I recently, whether for an extended period of time or even just a long weekend, may The Bleeech Effect provide a speedy assistance towards cleansing your home of these dilapidated dishes that are beyond recovery and thus help you quickly and painlessly return your refrigerator to an untarnished state.

Now if you’ll excuse me, my spidey-sense is hinting that I may have missed one last dish hiding way in the back, and it smells angry…