Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Charlie Foxtrot

"Anybody want my peaches?"

When I was in school my parents and I emailed each other nearly every day. Occasionally they would send especially good gems of wisdom. One time after sending an email complaining about being tired of eating a can of Veg-all as a seven-course meal, they replied with what could have been the funniest email they'd ever sent me. Alas, that email is gone, but I'm going to try to retell it because it makes a good analogy for what I'd like to say today.

Dad served in the Army during the Vietnam conflict. More than once he'd told Sister and I about the joys of eating MREs. Later I would have ample experiences to eat them myself while I was at Ft Knox, and I was eager to tell him that they hadn't gotten any better than the stories he told about them.

He said a lot of times his squad would sit together to eat their MREs. None of it was good, most of it was left-overs from the Korean War, and other than fulfilling their purpose to give soldiers ample caloric intake to do their civic duties, there was not much to be said about them.

One of the tricks that the squad played on new people was to wait until everybody had opened their MREs and someone would shout out, "Hey, does anybody want my peaches?" The new kid, who was referred to as the FNG, would always yell that he wanted it.

There were never any peaches in the MREs. The FNG just didn't know any better. Everybody got a good laugh about something that none of them could control.

He also said that sometimes there would be a chocolate bar in your MRE. He said the chocolate bar was FUBAR because it would always make you sick if you ate it. Nobody could eat it, and therefore getting one in your MRE gave you one less thing you could barter for peaches. He said they started calling it the John Wayne bar because they figured that only a manly man like John Wayne could eat it and not suffer its ill effects.

Their reply made no effort to comfort my diet of dorm-friendly microwavable food. But it was funny to me, and I bought a can of peaches on my next trip to the grocery store. I cleaned the can and used it to hold pens on my desk for the rest of the year.

That's the back story to what I really wanted to tell you today.

After my first surgery I received several flower arrangements, and they perked up my kitchen until they withered. One particular plant was in a decorative pot without any drain holes. It wasn't particularly pretty, but it was green, and I've made little effort to encourage its existance, and have been guilty of threatening its herbicide. I water it infrequently. It gets little sunlight. I don't talk to it like I do my ivy plant.

It's been five months and it just won't die.

Today I'm officially naming it John Wayne. Welcome, John, to a life of peaches.


bill said...

Of course, you've heard the deal about MRE being three lies in one?

genderist said...

Of course I have...