My Greatest Fear #30: Spraying Myself in the Eyes with PAM

I almost sprayed myself in the face taking this photo. That would have been ironic.

Every two weeks, I make chocolate-chip pancakes on the weekend.

I’ve done this every 2-3 weekends for the past 4 years. I love chocolate-chip pancakes (semi-sweet chips, mind you), but I don’t want to burn myself out on them by having them every week. And I never want to go more than 3 weeks without having them.

This is how I work.

To keep the pancakes from sticking to the the frying pan, I spray the pan with PAM cooking spray a few times every time I make pancakes. Thus, by my calculations, I put my finger on the PAM nozzle and press it about 62 times a year. Over the last 4 years, that’s a total of 248 times.

Not once have I sprayed myself in the eyes. Not once.

And yet every single time I pick up the bottle of PAM to spray the pan, it occurs to me that I might blind myself in a matter of seconds. Every time. If I blinded myself, not only would I not get to eat my pancakes, but I would also end up running down the hallway naked.

At least, I’ll think it’s a hallway. In reality it’ll probably be Interstate 64 or the cat food aisle at Schnucks. I’m fond of that aisle.

PAM seems to understand my plight. Over the years they’ve perfected the nozzle of the bottle so that it’s nearly impossible for me to spray myself in the face. And yet there’s a small, irrational part of me that thinks that it’s possible, that I’ll press that button and suddenly I’ll look like Kramer in “The Butter Shave” episode of Seinfeld.

Have you ever sprayed yourself in the face with anything by accident?


20 Responses to “My Greatest Fear #30: Spraying Myself in the Eyes with PAM”

  1. Katie says:

    This is awesome—I was laughing so hard just by reading the title. The good thing about PAM is that yes, they have drastically improved their nozzle. You’d really have to be ignoring what you’re doing to spray yourself in the eye. Not only is the nozzle sloped to fit your finger, but it’s also highly indented so that your digit rests securely where it should. It would feel pretty uncomfortable to hold it any other way than the correct one.

    I had this fear for a long time with WD-40. However, my fear extended to the notion that somehow my eyeball would also spontaneously burst into flames if I sprayed myself in the face. I think this is because in my youth, WD-40 was only used for two things: greasing bike chains, and setting things on fire. Did anyone else ever do the WD-40 “torch?” Cans of your sister’s hairspray also worked well for this purpose, as my brother delightfully discovered.

    Does one put syrup on chocolate chip pancakes?

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      You know the PAM nozzle well! You’re exactly correct. And yet it is my fear.

      I definitely share that same fear for WD-40 or bug spray. I think that would hurt more than PAM.

      One does not put syrup on one’s chocolate chip pancakes. They’re already sweet enough. They’re a little dry, but if one sips milk while one eats them, one’s mouth will be moist enough to enjoy the pleasure of the pancakes.

      • Katy says:

        No, one should put whipped cream on chocolate chip pancakes… But the can does pose the potential issue of something else getting sprayed in your eyes.

  2. Laura Grainger says:

    Hairspray. At least one or two times a month. You think I would learn. I never get upset that I sprayed myself in the eye because of it hurting. I get upset because hairspray is the one product I pay more money for and every spray that doesn’t touch my hair is wasting it. Expensive but amazing.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      I imagine that hairspray stings quite a bit. Although, at least it’s something that you’re supposed to be aiming at yourself (like body mist, as Orianna mentions below).

  3. Ansley says:

    A blowtorch. Every time I use a blowtorch, I think to myself, is it pointing toward the metal scraps in front of me or toward my face? You might ask, how did you get this fear? Well, 12 years ago, while welding my brother’s door shut (with him in the room), I was holding the blowtorch the wrong way. I lost my right ear and a chunk of my luscious locks that day. Luckily, the breeze saved my eyes but ever since then, I’ve had an irrational fear of spraying myself full on in the face with my blowtorch.

    • Katie says:

      Whoa–don’t you have a blowtorch helmet? I would buy one even if I wasn’t using a blowtorch, just so I can pretend like I’m in Flashdance.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Wait, do you only have one ear now? I actually don’t think that’s an irrational fear at all–it’s grounded in an actual experience!

  4. Orianna says:

    Perfume and body mist. It’s funny how fragile the bottle tops are as they still get turned around or broken; and then, you spray too much or what not. Or, if it’s too little, you try again and then, “Crap! That hurt.”

  5. Katy says:

    Strangest thing to ever go in my eyes: yogurt. I live in constant fear of the inevitable yogurt spray that happens every single time I start to open a container. No matter how hard I try to prevent the spray from going all over the place when prying back the foil lid, it somehow never fails that the air bubble being released sprays yogurt droplets everywhere. And not only does it burn a little when it hits your eyeball, but explaining to people what has just happened (while trying to clean up) only leads to some awkward looks and commentary.

    • Katie says:

      YES!!! This happens to me all the time! It also reminded me of getting sprayed when peeling/dissecting/eating an orange. I pretty much avoid oranges because of this now. If someone wants to give me a fully ready orange to eat, I’ll take it. But I’m not doing the prep work.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Yogurt, oranges…I have a feeling that I have a food like that too. Maybe soup? But that usually gets on my clothes, not my eyes. Same with hot oil in the frying pan.

      In some cultures it’s a luxury to put yogurt in your eyes.

  6. Melanie says:

    I cook all the time, but haven’t thought about the whole PAM in the eye thing… until just now. Thanks to the power of suggestion, I am going to be worried about it all the time. That’s grrrreat.

    As far as my own self-inflicted spray blindness, I have more instances than I care to recount. I have opened up a shampoo bottle before in the shower and the soap sprayed out in my face blinding me. I have sprayed myself with perfume, and in a rush to clean the house before company, taken in a big dose of Pledge. (At least I was lemony fresh!) I have also sprayed bug spray on myself while camping and got some in my eye momentarily blinding me. When I think about it, I guess I don’t have a really good track record with sprays or bottles with flip tops which is why my biggest spray-in-the-eye fear is blinding my daughter while applying spray on suntan lotion.

    I like the convenience of said spray-on protection, but am always afraid that it is going to get away from me, or the wind is going to pick up and carry the blinding mist up to her eyes or she is going to be standing too close when I am spraying myself and catch the over spray instantly blinding her. Given my track record, it isn’t an irrational fear. Sun-protection for our family is best applied by dad…it is just safer.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Melanie–it sounds like you’re just as paranoid as I am about the little things, so I definitely connect with what you’re saying. You had me at “or the wind is going to pick up and carry the blinding mist up to her eyes.” Your daughter is blessed to have you looking out for her eyesight AND her epidermal health.

  7. Jen says:

    Not quite the same but one time I let Athena eat a lemon, which she was really enjoying and before I had a chance to wash her hands she rubbed her eyes. Yikes, not a happy baby. Of course it happened at a friends’ place during a going-away dinner. Mom of the year award, right here.

    As for your PAM fear, it’s not irrational given how often you use it. I think you can do one of two things, both of which may help you overcome your fear.

    1. Wear protection. I mean goggles. This would prevent many other eye injuries as well.

    2. Just spray yourself in the eye or have someone do it for you so you know how terrible it feels (does it sting?). Then you won’t be afraid any more since you know what it feels like 🙂

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Jen–Ouch! Lemon must be really, really painful, even worse than oranges.

      I like your idea of wearing goggles around the house. Although I like the psychology behind purposely spraying myself in the eyes, it sure sounds painful. I don’t know if I would willingly subject myself to that…

  8. Shannon says:

    Interestingly enough, I have sprayed myself in the face with PAM. Haha, while grilling. Didn’t get my eyes, but I duds lose the hair on one arm. Wind blew, PAM coated the side of my face and arm, flame caught a stream of the non-stick spray… The rest is humorous history.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Shannon–You lived my worst nightmare! And you survived. So perhaps it’s not actually that bad of a nightmare.

      Wait, did you light your face on fire?

      • Shannon says:

        Nope. Had a wet towel over my shoulder and it all happened in seconds. No burns though, just a lack of hair on my arm. Lol

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