While enjoying a restful Saturday morning reading the Telegraph, I nursed my hot amaretto latte. I was in heaven and all was right with the world. Bill Shaw has a copy of the paper sent to me every day, and it gives me a wonderful opportunity to stay abreast of local Dixon news. There I was enjoying the moment when all of a sudden, I noticed a scary headline about Swiss cheese: "Feds Pondering Size of Cheese Holes." The Swiss cheese controversy came as a shock to me. Usually, I can handle bad news in the Telegraph because by the time the paper arrives in the mail, the problem has already been resolved or I've adjusted to the catastrophe. However, the cheese hole brouhaha was news to me. Apparently, cheese makers are pressuring the USDA to allow smaller diameter holes in Swiss and still allow it to retain its Grade "A" status. It seems that the USDA standard size of the holes for Swiss is 11/16 to 13/16 of an inch in diameter.
I put down my amaretto latte and the paper. The more that I pondered, the more I got my emotional underwear all in a knot. Part of my trouble was that I couldn't get a clear picture of the problem. So, I got my Stanley tape measurer from my toolbox and went to the refrigerator to measure the holes in the Swiss cheese. I needed to visualize the problem. From across the living room, my wife had an expression of incredulity written all over her face while she watched me measuring what was left of our Swiss cheese. With hindsight, perhaps I did look somewhat neurotic, but I wanted to conceptualize the concern with the cheese. Then I started worrying about where the Grade "B" cheese was sold and whether I've ever eaten "B" graded Swiss.
In addition, if the government was now getting involved with the size of the Swiss cheese holes, where else would some Washington bureaucrat be asked to reset prevailing standards? It won't end with cheese. Next, the Feds will be looking into the carbonation per cubic inch in soda. There must be some fizz standard to retain a Grade "A" soft drink. I went back to the refrigerator; I wanted to look at my half empty diet Dr. Pepper. The label didn't mention any grade. So, I poured myself a drink and devoured several slices of cheese. Having eaten most of my visual aides, I went to my computer where I could think out the implications of this controversy. It wasn't the Swiss cheese controversy per se that caused my concern. What concerned me was where it all will stop.
If our government wanted to set silly standards, I would like them to get into giblets. Right, giblets. Last Thanksgiving, we had twenty-four family members for dinner. That meant that I had to roast two turkeys. Would you believe that both turkeys had missing giblets? Yep, in one turkey, a heart was missing and in the other, there was a missing gizzard. If Big Brother wants to regulate things, let them mandate that every turkey contain a heart, liver, and gizzard. That's the way God made turkeys! Missing giblets gets my dander up more than the diameter of Swiss cheese holes.
Now that there is a new administration in Washington, someone needs to get the ear of the bureaucrats inside the Beltway to become more responsive to the real concerns of the people than to worry much about the size holes in Swiss cheese. We need to quit majoring in the minors and minoring in the majors of life. It would be nice to know that my next turkey contained all of the God-given giblets that were there at its birth.
This article appeared in the Dixon Telegraph on 2/6/01.