This may be my last posting before I am dragged off to Room 101 by the Office for the Prevention of Anything Tendentious (OFPRAT). It may be my last, not because we are poking fun at the lunacies of Health and Safety (no water feature in the school wildlife garden because someone might drown. In TWO inches of water??). Nor is it because of my incautious use of words that suggests a person's colour (darkie), nationality (dago) or religion (towelhead) No. Something infinitely more sensitive: USE-BY DATES.
I am grateful to regular readers of this blog (I love you both!) for providing examples of the UBD insanity: an expiry date on a packet of Saxa salt, superannuated Marmite, defunct paprika. What happens? Do they undergo some chemical transmutation and become dangerous? Explosive? Do terrorists know about this? Is there a website devoted to telling you how to make bombs out of superannuated Marmite mixed with defunct paprika?
Sorry, I am rambling, but this whole business unnerves me. I have become paranoid to the extent that I fully expect anything I have put into my shopping cart from the supermarket shelf to be out of date by the time I get it to the checkout.
OK, I accept there is a difference between USE BY and BEST BEFORE. If they labelled people this way, I like to think I would have the latter stamped on my bum, but no doubt OFPRAT have already catalogued me as all used up and are working on a way to recycle me even as we speak. Don't laugh, I could be an ingredient in your next instant meal. For god's sake, eat it before the expiry date: I am not getting any fresher.