August 17th, 2006

Bruce, Caroline


Environmentalists are constantly going on about species extinction: so and so many species will die out by such and such a time, leaving the world an emptier and emptier place. Like we needed that particular species of goldfish.

I'd like to talk, though, about plant extinction. Endangered animals get all the attention, you see, and this isn't fair. Just because they have roots instead of legs, flippers, wings or fins doesn't mean they shouldn't get a fair hearing.

So just what, then, is my view on plant extinction? I'm for it. In particular, one species of plant has had it far too easy for far too long, and it's time we did something about this pestilential species. I speak of none other than the lowly (and loathsome) peanut.

I used not to have any trouble eating peanuts. As a result, I loved them. Couldn't get enough of them. "Want some peanuts?" they'd say, and I'd be there, partaking of each mouthful with vigor and happiness.

But as I grew older, my stomach decided that it wanted to start rebeling against one of my favorite snack foods. The result is that now, usually, when I down some of these yummy morsels, I'll spend a good portion of the next day developing a meaningful relationship with my toilet. "Yuck," you might well say, and you'd be right.

It happened again on Tuesday. While chatting on Skype, my hand wandered to a tin of peanuts I'd stupidly purchased some days earlier. Yum yum yum, I tucked in. One peanut, two peanuts, a dozen peanuts, a handful of peanuts ... you get the pattern, the peanuts and the salt flowed like ... like ... like some nonliquid substance that flows. I was fine, I thought. I ended my Skype conversation some hours later, and by 2:30 I was fast asleep, sleeping the sleep of the intellectually and emotionally sated.

And, indeed, when I woke, it seemed to me that all was as it should be: I was happy, I was off to work (so much for happy), all was right with the world.

Then came one trip to the bathroom; two trips to the bathroom; three trips to the bathroom; the peanuts had taken their revenge on my system, and I was paying the price. I took half a day's sick leave, and soon my attention was transfered from the public bathroom at work to my private laire at home. With the old Hee-Haw song, "Gloom, Despair, and Agony, Oh Me" song lodged in the Toews brain, I soldiered forward, alternately reading a book and revisiting the salle de bains.

Finally, when all seemed lost, when I felt utterly without sympathy, alone in a world of digestion woes, my stomach settled down, I got some meaningful-esque sleep, and that was the end of that.

Except for just one thing. In a fit of generosity - I'm generous to a fault - I decided to give the rest of the peanuts to my roommate. I can only hope they give him the same sense of joy and fulfillment they gave me.
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