My friends, I have something shocking to tell you. My name is Grumpy and I hate fresh tomatoes.
I cannot tell you how hard this secret has made my life. Every day I live a lie. Telling people you hate fresh tomatoes is like saying you hate giggling babies or that you loathe the prospect of world peace.
So you lie. You conceal. You pretend. You dissemble. You squirm. When people pluck a ripe cherry tomato from the vine, pop it into their mouth, and suggest you do the same, you squeal with false delight and flee like the French in WWII. When people place a dish of freshly sliced tomatoes in front of you at the dinner table, you exclaim, “Golly, those are simply to beautiful to eat!” All the while, you’re thinking, “Barf! Vomit! Hurl! Get me outta here!”
Grumpy doesn’t hate all tomatoes. Only uncooked ones. He loves tomatoes on pizza. He loves tomatoes in pasta sauce. He even made the most delicious pasta sauce he’s ever tasted from ‘Roma’ tomatoes he grew in his own garden. But he doesn’t like them raw. He also recoils from the smell of fresh tomato juice like John Edwards recoils from decency. And he asks you to understand.
No one taught Grumpy to dislike fresh tomatoes. It wasn’t a choice. Grumpy was born that way. Because of this, he suffered derision, humiliation, and discrimination from an intolerant society that won’t accept someone who’s “different.” Just yesterday, I was served a cheeseburger at the Atlanta airport that came with a tomato slice on it even though I specified, “No tomato.” I know what the restaurant staff was thinking. “We don’t want your kind in here.”
Why? Am I so unlike you? If you prick me, do I not bleed? If you serve me a Michelob Ultra, do I not look insulted and pour it over your head? Yes! Yes, I do!
A Little help from My Friends
Hating fresh tomatoes is so lonely. You want to shout to the world, “This is who I am!”, but you dare not. So you act like one of them. When they serve you a fresh tomato, you pretend to eat it, wait for them to momentarily glance away, and then quick-as-lightning squirrel it away inside your napkin, shove it in your pocket, and say, “Yum!” Then you desperately grab another napkin in case they offer you one more.
Gardens at P. Allen Smith‘s Moss Mountain Farm in Arkansas
Until last week, I thought I was the only fresh tomato hater in the world. Then I attended the Garden2Blog event at P. Allen Smith’s place in Arkansas, where garden bloggers from all over the country convene to share ideas and post embarrassing photos of each other on Facebook. We were having salads at lunch, when I spotted fellow blogger Christopher Tidrick, who writes From the Soil, do something extraordinary. He carefully extracted all of the fresh tomatoes from the greens, and pushed them off to the side of his plate.
OMG!!!!!!! Another fresh tomato hater! Grumpy is not alone!
I wept uncontrollably. At last, at last, somebody understands.
“You don’t like fresh tomatoes?” I blubbered incredulously.
“No, I never have,” he responded.
Then an even bigger miracle than world peace happened. “I don’t like them either,” chimed in blogger Kylee Baumle, who writes Our Little Acre. OMG!!! The sea had parted. It was the beginning of a movement! Read Chris’ and Kylee’s fresh mater-hating confessions on their blogs this week. If you’re not sobbing by the end, you are a stranger to compassion and probably an evil reptile creature from V. (Well, evil except for Lisa, Anna’s daughter. She was nice and really hot.)
I love Lisa. She makes me want to shed my skin.
We’re Here, We’re Weird, and We Count!
Chris, Kylee, and I know we’re not the only fresh mater haters out there. There are millions of us in hiding, but most people don’t know it. We could be your neighbor. We could be your pastor. We could be your Army buddy. We could be your high school teacher. We could be your pool boy. We could be the girl who does your nails. We could be the doctor who checks your prostate.
It’s time for us to come out from the cupboard. Fresh mater haters demand our right to be treated as equals in society. Join Chris, Kylee, and Grumpy as we proudly proclaim to the whole world, “We’re here, we’re weird, and we count!”
Oh, and I hate fresh cucumbers too.