Michael Landon &The Poisoned Mayonnaise

I have a story to tell. It involves two parts, and it's all a little bit strange, but I have told it so many times in real life that find it worthy of a blog post.

When I was a child, I had a friend named Katie (who, by the way, is as awesome an adult as she was a child). We spent a ton of time at one another's houses because our parents were church friends and therefore we were dubbed appropriated for home visits. It was the summer of 1991, and I was six and hanging out at my friend Katie's house. We had been doing whatever six and eight or nine year olds do all day (which generally included some kind of dress up and nonsense, and not in that particular order) when her father came home.

We were all Christian at the time--to be fair, Katie is still Christian and I am not--and we were all big Little House on the Prairie Fans. To still be fair, we are all still big fans of Little House, seriously, how can you not be?! Anyway, the day that Bobby, Katie's dad, came home and he told us the horrible news: Michael Landon had died. I was so sad because this was literally the first person I could put a face and name to that had died in my entire little life.

Here comes the strange part. Bobby then told a story about how this sandwich with mayonnaise sat in someone's car and how spoiled mayonnaise turned sour and poisoned and could kill a person. (To be clear, he didn't say that it did kill anyone, just that it could. I think he was trying to tell us not to eat mayonnaise that had been sitting around or something.) I am by this point in my life certain that the two were not related... but then I was six. So....

Poisoned mayonnaise story + Michael Landon dying + all in the same day = Michael Landon died of eating a sandwich with bad mayonnaise. 

I kid you not. This fabrication lived in my head for many a year. MANY. A. YEAR. As in, by the time I was old enough to realize that Michael Landon probably didn't die from poisoned mayonnaise, I was still terrified of mayonnaise going bad. Just so you all know, I now understand that cancer and poisoned mayo are two different things. It took me years.

As a result of this, I am still terrified of mayonnaise going bad. I will throw away mayo at the drop of a hat. I can't help it. And every time I do... I think of Michael Landon. It might be weird. It might be unrelated. But in my head Michael Landon will always be associated with mayo that went bad from sitting in a hot car too long. I just can't help it.

Sure, I know it's illogical. I know that foods take at least four hours to begin decomposing from a refrigerated state. But I will always remember that time waaaay back in 1991 when Michael Landon died and my fear of mayonnaise began.

Don't get me wrong; I'll still eat mayonnaise. It's great stuff. But I won't let it sit on a counter top. I won't eat your potato or macaroni salad at an outdoor party--despite your assurances--that stuff is killer. It's just how I roll. It's ingrained. And I blame Michael Landon somewhere in my six year old memory.

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