I grew up in a small town. In my youth everyone bought bland unremarkable canned goods at the local uninspiring grocery store. Mashed potatoes were about as spicy as food got. Folks who’ve lived a lifetime browsing limitless year round stocks of mangoes, strawberries, lobster, and salmon will never understand the rest of this story.
My wife bought a pineapple! Not the tragic oppressed canned rings which belong pinned to the a haunch of baking ham. She bought actual fruit. A big gaudy pointy tropical plant which is as natural to our environment as a Borneo tribesman doing the limbo on a sandy beach.
I like pineapple. This one was ripe to perfection. I basked in the glory of pineapple. Something my subconscious will always perceive tropical fruit as exotic luxuries unavailable at any price. My environment serves up wheat and beef. I forgot myself and wondered why anyone would live in a God forsaken arctic wasteland when there are tropical paradises where sweet enticing pineapples grow out of the ground. I drifted into my mental happy place. Just experiencing the pineapple and smiling. My family was unimpressed with the mighty and exotic pineapple. They chalked it up to one of those moments where I go off on “when I was a kid” speeches that usually end with an explanation of rotary dial party line phones.
I whacked the pineapple apart with no grace whatsoever. I devoured great chunks of fruit like I’d never seen one before. I was feasting in Valhalla. I was savoring the fruit of the gods. I ate half the pineapple myself. The rest of the family picked at bits and lost interest.
One day passed.
My wife declared that the remaining half of the pineapple was overripe. I was to dispose of it. I was aghast. Throw. Away. The. Pineapple!?!
Our household disposes of kitchen scraps using small mobile compost units called chickens. I grabbed the day’s “chicken treats”; some freezer burned broccoli, some bread crusts, and the pineapple. I shuffled out to the yard to do the deed. The chickens, free ranging and used to treats, swarmed around my ankles knowing good stuff was about to happen. I dropped the broccoli and they went at it like piranhas. I was about to drop the precious pineapple…
I couldn’t do it! My Neanderthal nature took over. No way was I letting those damn birds have my special tropical fruit! I glanced at the house. Nobody was looking. I hadn’t carved the hard rind from the fruit but I didn’t care; I ripped it off like a T-rex in a hurry. Chomp chomp….nom nom nom. I devoured the whole thing. I kept glancing over my shoulder guiltily like I might be caught with the forbidden fruit. Sweet juice went everywhere. Impatient chickens milled around my feet wondering why I wasn’t dropping the remaining yummy tidbits. Screw you chickens…this is mine! It was delicious. I ate every bit.
Eventually I trudged back to the house dripping with pineapple juice and feeling oddly guilty. I looked exactly like a hound dog who’d gotten into something he shouldn’t. I’m absolutely sure the chickens are mad at me.
My wife doesn’t know how special and precious and forbidden pineapple are in my mind. How could she? She wondered why I was gone so long. What could I say? That I just went apeshit over something you can buy in any modern grocery store? That I stood in the yard eating food she’d decreed only fit for livestock? That she was married to a man who would shed the thin veneer of civilization over… fruit?
I just washed up and ate dinner at the table like the rest of the household. But the chickens know my secret insanity! And now you do too.