by Al Pastor
It’s hard to describe. If you’ll bear with me, there’s that gap at the bottom of the opening to the apartment clothes drawer. Along the bottom on the inside is a fitted slot. Inside the slot is a lint filter, rarely
I lug out the wet, heavy load of wash and get it in the top of two stacked dryers. The bottom dryer is the better. It’s filled with dry clothes waiting to be collected, cold to the touch. I put in my quarters, push the button and – ugh! The bottom dryer, with someone else’s clothes in it – starts up. I roughly open the door. Every second counts. The stranger’s clothes are removed and placed in a nearby basket. I pull my clothes from the top machine, throw them in the bottom dryer, then think to check what is indeed a thickly-covered lint screen. As I do so, oddly enough, out pops the packet pictured.
The package of “Crystal Light Energy (Caffeine, Energy, B Vitamins) Wild Strawberry Artificial Flavor Drink Mix © (80 percent fewer calories than leading beverages)” measures four inches in length. Much of the above required a magnifying glass to read. As did naturally the fine print on the back:
INGREDIENTS: CITRIC ACID, MALTODEXTRIN, ASPARTAME, CAFFEINE, CONTAINS LESS THAN 2 PERCENT OF NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, NIACINAMIDE, CALCIUM PANTOTHENATE AND BIOTIN (B-VITAMINS), VITAMIN B6, VITAMIN B12, MAGNESIUM OXIDE, ARTIFICIAL COLOR, RED 40, YELLOW 5, BLUE 1, SOY LECITHIN, TOCOPHEROL (TO PROTECT FLAVOR) – [JUST IN CASE, I GUESS, YOU KNOW, “FLAVOR” ™ MIGHT BE LOST.] PHENYLKENURICS: CONTAINS PHENYLALANINE CONTAINS: SOY.
THERE’S ADDITIONAL NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION BUT IT’S VERY SMALL. I DO SEE THAT THE PACKET APPARENTLY CONTAINS TWO SERVINGS. YUM, YUM.
JUST FOR FUN: I popped “Phenylalanine” into the hopper and up came the following from the Mayo Clinic’s Web site:
Phenylalanine isn’t a health concern for most people. However, for people who have the genetic disorder phenylketonuria (PKU) or certain other health conditions, phenylalanine can be a serious health concern.
Phenylalanine can cause mental retardation, brain damage, seizures and other problems in people with PKU. Phenylalanine occurs naturally in many protein-rich foods, such as milk, eggs and meat. Phenylalanine also is sold as a dietary supplement.
My questions: How did the packet get in the lint drawer? And, secondly, What do I do with it?
A) Give it to squirrels. They’ll eat anything.
B) Use it as detergent.
C) Open it! Put it in a Smoothie and drink it!
D) Donate it to the Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports, with a urine sample?
And then there’s this encouraging word from the Baltimore Sun:
“Artificial sweeteners found in river water and drinking supplies”
By Bettina Boxall
Canadian researchers think they have found a great way to trace the travels of treated sewage after it is discharged into rivers: Follow the artificial sweeteners.
The scientists found elevated concentrations of four sweeteners – cyclamate, saccharin, sucralose, and acesulfame – in water samples collected along the length of the Grand River in Ontario, Canada.
Commonly used in diet drinks, the sweeteners got into the Grand by way of the 30 sewage treatment plants that empty into the river and its tributaries.