Humor by Greg Schwem

The other day a famous Jerry Seinfeld comedy bit popped into my head as I was cleaning my kitchen. It concerned the mysterious disappearance of socks.

"How many times have you done a big (load of) laundry?" Seinfeld asks the audience. "Go to the dryer, take out your socks, count 'em up . . . one of 'em got out."

I would like to extend an invitation to Seinfeld to come to my house, barefoot if he wants, and explain what's been happening to my food storage lids.

These days there is no such thing as a properly packaged leftover in the Schwem household and that's not because our family licks our plates clean, demands seconds, devours those and gives the crumbs to the dog lurking underfoot. We clear the table every night, scrape what wasn't eaten into plastic containers of various shapes and prepare to neatly stack them in the fridge, smug in our belief that we will have a full, easily microwaveable dinner on one of those upcoming evenings when the kids have to be in five places at once.

Unfortunately, that's where this "Leave it to Beaver" scene ends. Whoever is on cleanup duty spends the next 30 minutes loudly rummaging through every drawer in the kitchen, trying to assemble a food storage jigsaw puzzle. Why won't Lid A fit on Container B and what the heck happened to Lid B in the first place? Eventually we give up and cover each container with sorry substitutes such as plastic wrap or tin foil.

Lids are sort of like computers: You have to get new ones every few years. The difference is, my computers don't randomly disappear. Is it due to carelessness, or am I a victim of lid piracy? Should I begin frisking my houseguests before they leave or simply ask them to empty their pockets to prove they are not about to abscond with the round lid that fits a 16-ounce container, the rectangular lid that seals the 8-ounce container or worse, the square interchangeable lid that fits multiple sizes! That one vanished mere days after we purchased it and my father in law has been acting extremely guilty as of late.

Unexplainable lid departure is apparently not a problem that is exclusive to me. Just for the heck of it, I searched "food storage containers" on Amazon and quickly found a 104-piece set from the Imperial Co. Amazon even offered gift wrapping, in case I decide to surprise my wife on our anniversary.

I wasn't concerned with decorative packaging; instead, my eye went immediately to the words on the box: "Storage containers. 104 piece set. Including lids."

The "including lids" phrase was all the evidence I needed. Imperial chose to make lids an actual selling point, proving that food covers are hot commodities. A set of lids should be a given, not an upgrade. You don't purchase a "2012 Honda Accord. Including tires." Know why? Because nobody ever goes into their garage and says, "What happened to my tire? I'm sure it was here last night."

I remember those wonderful days when we, too, had a complete set comprising 15 containers and lids. Now we have 13 containers and two lids.

"Just buy a new set," my wife said.

"No way," I replied. "That wouldn't be fair to the existing containers. Their feelings will be hurt."

And with that, I logged onto eBay and searched "lids for food storage."

I was in luck! Somebody in Russellville, Tenn., was selling single lids for six and eight quart containers. Furthermore, the seller had five available. This person was a lid celebrity.

The price for one lid? $11.66 plus shipping.

The 104-piece set cost $14.99.

Chagrined, I logged off eBay, returned to Amazon and donated $14.99 to the Imperial Co. I should be receiving 104 lids in two to four days. Leftovers will be fresh again, at least for the near future.

Coincidentally, Jerry Seinfeld will be performing in my town next month. Jerry, if you're reading this, come on by and I'll help you write a new bit about this missing lid phenomenon. You can even have dinner with us.

Just don't expect to leave with any leftovers. For your troubles, I'll give you a sock.

Humorist Greg Schwem is a stand-up comedian and author of Text Me If You're Breathing: Observations, Frustrations and Life Lessons From a Low-Tech Dad

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Humor & Funny Stories - The Unsolved Case of the Missing Lids | Humor - Greg Schwem

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