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It’s amazing what pressure can do.

When I walked into my office on Tuesday, the door to my little dorm-size refrigerator was standing open and the bottom of it was filled with spilled Diet Pepsi Lime, which had fortunately not leaked onto the carpet.

One of the soft drinks had exploded, blowing the can to smithereens with such force that it also blew open the refrigerator door. It did not, however, stop the little fridge from running, so the small freezer compartment had turned into a winter wonderland.

Fifteen minutes later, I had the mess cleaned up, unplugged the thing, and left the door open with layers of paper towels in the bottom so it could defrost. Later on, I dialed back the thermostat and carefully examined each remaining can for dents before putting them back in.

Why so paranoid? Because the exact same thing had happened the previous week, and the week before that, a pinhole opened in one of the cans, spraying the inside of the refrigerator with what quickly became a frozen slush.

And it was all my fault: I had tried to carry too much stuff to the office one day, and dropped two 12-packs of soft drinks just outside my door. I didn’t put the most obviously damaged cans in the fridge, but being a cheapskate, the others I did — with the aforesaid results.

Soft drink makers, in their efforts to save money and to be more environmentally friendly, have cut the thickness of the aluminum cans to the bare minimum. So, when there’s a weak point on the can and the contents start freezing, it’s easy for the combination of expansion and carbonation to become too much, and “Kablooey!”

People aren’t made from aluminum, but we’re also subject to the perils of thin skins and internal pressure. We’re in little danger of spontaneous explosions that would scatter blood and bone across the room, but verbal outbursts or psychic implosions can result in an even bigger mess.

I’m not by nature a high strung person, but after seeing that can, I decided to take more deep breaths and remember to deal with stressful issues while they are small, lest they start building up. You never know … I wouldn’t want to give new meaning to the term “pink slime.”

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