Thursday, October 6, 2016

There's Just This One Thing

There is a tomato on my counter with a dark spot. I noticed it the day before yesterday. The rest of the fruit is really good. There’s just this one thing…

It doesn’t even appear to be that big, so I think I’m going to cut away the part I don’t like and just enjoy the rest. Of course, I do understand that I may slice into it and find that I have to keep cutting. The imperfection could, in fact, go deeper than I thought. Or it might be completely rotten to the core, but that’s rare with such a small peck as this. But, I am prepared to throw it out if I have to. However, I’m not going to just throw it away without looking inside. Without seeing if there is something worth salvaging. I mean it’s an organic tomato, not a person for crying out loud!

People on the other hand are either good or bad. There is no in between. If social media, sound bites and Seinfeld have taught us nothing else, we can be assured that if the whole package doesn’t reconcile with our expectations, out they go! Who cares if they feed the homeless, bring in the neighbor’s garbage cans or run into burning buildings to save quadruplets. If there’s something about them we deem unworthy, we are perfectly justified in forwarding that photo of them in their worst moment, whether or not we even know their names. Besides, that meme is just too good to pass up. I mean, if they didn’t want it to happen, they should have just been perfect in every way, all of the time, just like I…Anyway, I was talking about a tomato.

The tomato is my tomato.  It’s not a picture of a tomato, or some electronic representation of some far away fruit, it’s a real tomato sitting on my counter. I’ve walked past it every day. I know this tomato. I chose this tomato…before I saw the blemish. But that doesn’t mean it’s all bad.

People however, jeesh! And it’s fun to watch them fall. Even perfectly acceptable to give them a little push. With fanfare and choreography of their impending demise. If it wasn’t, why would reality TV even exist? And all of the news about reality TV? And then all of the gossip, that is sometimes pawned off as news, about reality TV?
Or…when they are our people…not necessarily talk about them, but be perfectly willing to listen to every last scrap that someone brings us about a flaw they have found. Thereby deeming everything else about them unworthy.

And it does, doesn’t it? Absolutely nullifies everything else. So what if they have a cure for cancer? We don’t need it from them. They have that one thing, remember? Maybe they could offer up directions? Screw it! We’ll stay lost. Save the world from nuclear destruction? No thanks. We’d rather roast, because remember that one little thing? There is absolutely nothing to be gained from people who are not exactly like me or who don’t meet my expectations in every single way. Because they’re my expectations and it’s all about m…tomatoes! I was talking about tomatoes!

I haven’t eaten my tomato because I haven’t been in the mood for tomatoes lately, but it doesn’t mean that I won’t be ever again. Tomatoes aren’t my favorite, but I don’t full out hate them. There are so many things that a tomato could be. Or be a part of. I don’t have to have that tomato straight. I could put it together with other things that enhance it.

And the tomato takes effort to replace. If I just throw it out without doing my best to enjoy the good parts, that would just be wasteful. And it may not be the best tomato I ever ate, but unless it’s just horrible and decaying throughout, which unfortunately, some tomatoes are, it will likely add at least a little flavor as part of something else. I mean because a tomato isn’t ever going to be my main course. My go to fruit. But I need them as an option. They offer something that nothing else can.

And if I throw it out, think of all of the nutrition I could be missing. Hidden flavors. That earthiness. Even when I treat it like garbage, it goes into compost and delivers nourishment into everything else. It still has a purpose.

People though! Ugh! Even when we trash them. Ruin their reputations over that one thing or one time…we really don’t get anything out of it. We come up just as empty as before. We have gained nothing. So we move on, looking for our next victim to hungrily devour. Memes and meanness and mindlessness, all just a click away. And if you can’t think of a quirky quip, no worries. You don’t have to think. You only have to judge. In or out. Dumb or smart. Good or bad. Saint or sinner. Us or them.

Lucky for that piece of produce it’s not a person! Because this tomato on my counter has a dark spot. The rest of the fruit is really good. There’s just this one thing…

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