Monday, March 28, 2005

Not All Pickles Are Gherkins

This, the second of my posts, initiates a regular posting schedule. I plan on publishing each Monday. If all goes well I will increase it to twice a week.

Thanks for all of the encouragement I received after my first effort. I hope those to follow will be worth the time it takes to write them.


The humorist Will Rogers said, “I have never met a man I didn’t like.” Well, I’ve never met a pickle I really cared for.

First off, they are green. For most of my childhood if it was on the table and green, I let the serving plate pass. I am not sure I cared too much for green "Jell-O" or green "Kool Aid." If it was green, I said, “No. thanks.” Pickles are green.

Secondly, they are sour. Why do I want to eat something that will warp my face into the visage of a grimacing old man with no teeth? I will look like one of those dried apple heads you see at the Ozark tourist traps hawking products pretending to be home-spun Americana.

I know stores sell pickles they call sweet, but I don’t believe them. If they were really sweet they would put them in a brown wrapper and call them "Snickers." And you can’t honestly tell me your great Aunt Sadie really makes sweet pickles every year.

That is the same woman who knitted your Christmas present when you were eight. You remember that chartreuse, teal and hot pink pull-over sock cap assembled from yarn scraps of the two baby blankets and fifteen potholders she made for the women’s mission society. Do you really think she knows what is sweet? That is how she said you looked just before your mom forced you to go outside and play with your friends.

Thirdly, pickles stink. One Christmas our family journeyed back to Texas. My wife, bless her heart, is a pickle lover. (I have considered taking this to the state to see if I can get one of those special blue parking cards for my car. It has to be a disability of some kind.) Just past Kansas City, a large jar of pickles slipped from her hands, tipped over and baptized our Impala with the pungent fragrance of dill, vinegar and other secret industrial toxic wastes.

Talk about aroma therapy. My nostrils flared, my lips puckered and my eyes watered. It was midnight on a rural Kansas interstate. There wasn’t anywhere to go to get relief. I just smiled, said I loved her and never uttered a complaining word the rest of the trip. After all, I am not a person to point out the misadventures of others, even when it causes me great discomfort. So, you see, I know pickles. They stink.

Now I find myself in a “pickle-ish” situation.

When I began my blog, my list of potential submissions numbered four. I was smug enough to think I was set for several weeks. Now as I review the available material, I am a bit uneasy.

A friend of mine recently encouraged me. She said I am transparent, alluding to my ability or my weakness if you happen to be my spouse or offspring, to recognize, dissect and over-analyze every little wrinkle in my psyche.

I suppose being transparent is not a bad thing. The problem in me over-analyzing every little bump and bruise in my make-up is I reveal my thoughts and feelings about what others do that I wouldn’t do if I were doing what they were doing. (Are you following me?)

So here I am, with this great article and I realize someone is going to miss my creative brilliance all because of a little off-handed comment that could be construed as saying they are clods, morons or Democrats. Their nostrils will flair, their lips will pucker and unfortunately they may not be as charitable or as disciplined as I am. We may find ourselves involved in a lively exchange of ideas and concepts.

So how am I to handle this pickle jar?

First off, I am going to make sure the lid of my jar is on tight. I mean, does this jar even need to be opened. After all, hamburgers are good without pickles and you don’t need pickles in your potato salad. I can just leave the article on my computer and chalk it up to a private venting that the world is just not ready for.

However, if I open that jar, I need to be careful. I don’t want to dump a mess in my lap. I may find I need to do some judicious rewriting. Maybe an illustration or two needs to be exorcised.

When I serve a pickle I need to do it as delicately as possible. You know, make wavy slices and try to pass off something that is sour as an item of delicate taste for the discriminating palate.

If that fails, maybe I can just say I was only joking, having a little fun and meant no harm. After all, no one wants to be known as a bad sport. People want to be known as good natured and understanding, don’t they?

How do I look in my new sock cap?