27 Dec. 2006
SETI League
PriUPS Project

A Christmas Miracle

The title of this blogitem may be enticing, but I will be the second to admit that "Miracle" may be too strong a word.  Even "Blessed Coincidence" is stretching it a bit, although perhaps not as much as it might seem, given the confluence of people, events, and circumstances.  This being a week of festivity and reflection, let me tell the story of the Corporate Sausage...

It began a couple of decades and one state ago.  At the time we had the pleasure of employing a human female who had great discernment in many areas, but compensated by lacking same in certain gustatorial activities.  We had acquired a very-well-preserved smoked sausage, salami, or whatever form of compressed, meat-like protein it happened to be.  Memory fails meperhaps excessive nitrite consumption has that effect.  This was a relatively massive confection - perhaps as much as a kilogram.  It was placed in a common area, and I noted that its length was diminishing by the hour.  The above-mentioned female declared it to be "The Corporate Sausage," an apt epithet, and one that became attached to its annual successors.

And annual successors there have been!  Since the company purchases vast and varied quantities of components, many of the salespeople who call on us feel compelled to deliver a token of their esteem to our purchasing department around this time of year.  These tokens run the gamut from fine chocolate to truly disgusting and and sometimes spoiled or rancid offerings.  We're a hardy crew.  The good stuff gets eaten, the pre-spoiled stuff gets discarded, and we have a special area on our purchasing department's wall for indeterminate items.

Observe, if you can bear to, some of these items.  Although we have slighted our duty to Science by failing to put large date stickers on these notional comestibles, I can assure you the most recently affixed is at least a full year old.  I have little doubt that they are all as edible today as they were when glued or push-pinned up.  (Or perhaps they crawled into their current position.  I'm too busy to monitor them.)  This tradition started at least four years ago.  Twinkies would be embarrassed by the endurance of our mystery cheese.

Our purchasing department and I were wailing laments as recently as the last weekday before Christmas.  It seems that, for whatever reason, none of the vendors favored us with a mock cheese item or anything that could serve as this year's Corporate Sausage.  We were not bemoaning our fate too loudly—that would have been difficult without dispersing cookie crumbs to the winds, as our vendors didn't forget us completely!  There the matter rested.  We returned to our respective lives for the weekend.

On Christmas Eve I customarily attend a small gathering at the house of some friends.  As the designated tall person, I get to affix the star to the top of the tree that we decorate that evening, and inevitably comment that they're even making tinsel out of plastic nowadays.  As the evening was winding down, the host inquired if anyone would be interested in relieving him of a particular gift that had been shipped to him by a business associate.  With no inkling, and no reason for suspicion, the words "Corporate Sausage" leapt into my mind, played around just a bit, and popped out of my mouth.  Did I not use the term "Blessed Coincidence?"  I did, and it was: both a coincidence and a Corporate Sausage! 

And not just a Corporate Sausage.  It was a full Hickory Farm pack of irradiated, vacuum-packed, highly compressed sausage, condiments, and "cheese food" with, for all I know, a temporal stasis field generator embedded "for freshness."  Although I protested "I couldn't think of taking the whole thing," it quickly became obvious that it would be a boon for the hosts if I did so, and suppressed further reluctance.

After New Year's Day, when the staff returns, no longer will there be wailing for lost tradition!  Instead, that Christmas Magic has returned to us our Corporate Sausage, and all may partake. 


Do not be concerned about my leaving this out in the open.  Unlike yogurt, there is no danger that it will "go good."  In fact, I think that it emits an effluvium of preservatives so substantial as to have a protective effect on its associated food items.  Perhaps that's why they can survive so long on the wall.

NP:  "Cyclone - Candles in the Rain" - Melanie

© 2006
Richard Factor

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