It Came From Mayonnaise

Dear Grandpa Wiggly,

Should mayonnaise be refrigerated? My family never refrigerated mayonnaise when I was growing up and nothing bad ever happened. My girlfriend says that’s gross and dangerous. But she hates mayonnaise. What happens if you don’t refrigerate mayonnaise?

Yes! For the love of God and mayonnaise, yes! Inexplicable things can happen if don’t refrigerate mayonnaise. Terrible things have been known to come from improperly handled mayonnaise, especially if mayonnaise is left out, unrefrigerated, or God forbid in the sun! You must always always refrigerate mayonnaise. Here’s why:

Sometime in the late spring or early summer of 1967, Donald Eugene Hogan of Harris County, Texas, and his wife Virgie Mae drove to the nearby town of Mexia to dine at the air-conditioned eatery Jim’s Krispy Fried Chicken. The couple had been having marital problems over their inability to conceive a child; they hardly spoke a word to each other the whole time they were there. According to their waitress, a chain-smoking woman with bright orange hair called Flo, Mrs. Hogan requested mayonnaise for her fried chicken. But when Flo went searching the cooler for the mayonnaise, there was no mayonnaise to be found!

Flo searched high and low for the missing mayonnaise. She eventually discovered the 55-gallon drum of mayonnaise (everything’s bigger in Texas) had been stowed in an over-sized cupboard at Texas room temperature (84°F). Knowing she couldn’t rightfully serve the likely rancid and possibly lethal mayonnaise, Flo broke the news to Mrs. Hogan that there would be no mayonnaise for her that day. The Hogans left in an uproar (and no tip), vowing never to return. Flo, who conveniently always had a bad back whenever manual labor was involved, cajoled some Mexican called Manuel to roll the 55-gallon drum of mayonnaise out back behind the restaurant with the false promise of a “hot lunch on me.” Sadly, for poor, hungry, lonely Manuel, they were out of plastic cling wrap. The forgotten mayonnaise was left to incubate under the hot Texas sun, never to be spoken of again.

Some time later — Tuesday, November 28, 1967, to be exact — the Hogans were driving back from a fertility doctor’s disappointment when their Chevy broke down on U.S. Route 84 just outside Mexia. They walked to the nearest business establishment to call for roadside assistance, which, unluckily for the Hogans, was Jim’s Krispy Fried Chicken. Flo (“I never forget a face”) remembered the couple and informed them that the telephone was for “paying — and tipping! — customers only.” The Hogans sat down at a greasy double-wide booth, ordered a bucket of chicken skins and mayonnaise, and then were allowed to use the phone. After they ate and tipped Flo generously, Mr. Hogan walked back to the broken down Chevy, alone, while Mrs. Hogan stayed behind for a slice of apple pie and mayonnaise and a secret cigarette that she bummed from Flo for two bits.

Mrs. Hogan was smoking her secret secondhand cigarette out back when she heard something like a gurgle. She ignored it at first, but the gurgling gurgled louder and was soon accompanied by a soft hollow clanging. It was coming from the drum of forgotten mayonnaise. There was something inside.

Mrs. Hogan pried the mayonnaise drum open; a moist miasma of mold and mayonnaise misted into the open air, pummeled her face, offended her nose. She staggered back; something was rising out of the mayonnaise drum: a gelatinous glob of translucent mayonnaise bubbled above the brim and burst. Then came the sound of a crying baby. Mrs. Hogan peered into the mayonnaise drum. Inside, blanketed with warm layers of congealed mayonnaise, lay a healthy roly-poly mayonnaise baby. It was a girl.

Around dusk, Mr. Hogan pulled up in the Chevy. He embraced his wife and kissed his newborn mayonnaise cherub on her oily soft head. He didn’t ask any questions. It was indeed a gift from God. The Good Lord — not science — had finally answered their prayers with a miracle mayonnaise baby of their own. They named her Vickie Lynn Hogan.

The new family drove off into the night under a smiling crescent moon. And they lived happily ever after… until they divorced two years later.