Strange Dew

The Madison County Record Jun. 12, 2011, 12:41pm

You pour a big glass of milk from the carton you just brought home from the store, take a giant swig, and spit it out again. It's gone bad, it tastes disgusting, and you rush to rinse your mouth out.

Or maybe it's rotten eggs, rotten meat, rotten vegetables, or some other rotten food that somehow slipped past the quality control people at the processing plant and the food warehouse and the supermarket. Whatever it is, it makes you gag and you can't wait to get the taste out of your mouth, and the memory of the taste out of your head.

Then, if it's worth your while, you take the remainder back to the store for a refund or replacement.

As bad as spoiled food is, contaminated food can be even worse. When you find a worm in your apple, you're glad it wasn't half a worm. Still, you want a new apple. When a bug's in your bouillabaisse, you don't care whether it's doing the backstroke or not. You want a new bowl of soup.

Imagine finding a mouse in a can of soda! That would be disgusting.

Ronald Ball claims that's what happened to him after he bought a can of Mountain Dew from a vending machine at Marathon Oil in Wood River, where he works. But Ball doesn't want a new can of Dew or even a case, or even several cases. He wants upwards of $350,000.

He's suing PepsiCo in Madison County Circuit Court for that amount or more, with a trial date recently pushed back to November.

The interesting thing about Ball's story is its similarity to a scene from the cult classic comedy film Strange Brew, in which two Canadian slackers try to finagle a free case of beer out of a local merchant by claiming they found a mouse in one of his bottles. We're thinking it might be one of Ronald Ball's favorite movies.

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