All you amount to is a vegetable

I just feel like telling a story, really. I heard this one a long time ago, back when we thought bowlers bring thunder rather than electric complications, or storks bring babies rather than sex. I never really heard this story again, either, but out of the blue I remembered it when I was munching on ampalaya con carne.

Yep, it's the legend of the bitter gourd.

Forgive me if I miss a few details, but I think I got this right. The story involves this certain vegetable that looks so plain. Color, zilch. Taste, zilch still. It never got chosen among the many vegetables in the market because, well, it doesn't really provide anything to the dish. It's just lumps of heaven-knows-what.

That vegetable - let's call him Whitey, for lack of a better mindset - got envious as the rest of vegetables got picked. There goes the broccoli, then the string beans, then the carrots, then Samantha's friend. How come Whitey never got picked?

"Actually," the shriveled garlic told Whitey, "you don't taste like anything else. In fact, you don't have a taste at all. And you're unappetizing. Very unappetizing."

Whitey obviously didn't like the statement. So, he plotted. He's tired of seeing the same old basket every single day, and he doesn't want to be thrown out like his relatives, so he makes this plan.

"When everybody's asleep," he vows, "I'll be like them. All of them."

So while the rest of the basket partied over who got chosen for purchase, Whitey started thinking of a plan. He remained quiet - well, he's always been quiet, but he's extraordinarily quiet this time. Very deep thoughts.

Night came, and the vegetables were sound asleep. Whitey, however, wasn't. He rose up, took off part of his stem, and started stabbing the vegetables one by one. Slowly - I don't know how this really happened, so I'm making stuff up - the other vegetables' magic liquids came out, draining out of each vegetable, making them lifeless and, well, exactly like Whitey. When all the liquid came out, he threw all the others away, and left all the liquid to himself.

Turns out he knows some magic, too. He saw it on the television or something. Swimming in the magic liquids, he simply goes, "absorb!"

The next day, Whitey was no more. All we have is this supervegetable - green, shriveled, but something that certainly looks good on a dish. And nutritious, too.

Whitey can't think of a new name for himself, but he doesn't have time anymore. The fussiest of customers picked him up and bought him.

"I'm sold!" he goes.

Whitey gets chopped up, gets sauteed with some spices, and then some ground beef, and then gets served. Whitey knows it's coming close. Self-actualization, finally, as he sees the light turn to darkness, and the heat of the outdoors turn into the cool of the palate. And he gets chewed on, and... wait, he gets spit out.

"What kind of vegetable is this?" fussy foodie said. "It's... it's bitter!"

As children, that story served as a justification as to why the bitter gourd is, well, bitter. It also served as a justification as to why we should be eating it in the first place. It's nutritious even if it's bitter. But let's think about what Whitey did for a moment. He could've stabbed one vegetable instead, or two, and perhaps he would've been friendlier to kids' tongues. But he didn't know what he really wanted, so he decided, heck, I'll just have everything, believing that it tastes good, all of it. And you know how he ended up. Bitter.

So in our cases, when we're faced with one thing that we really want, and then we think about what we really want, and we realize that we really don't know what we want, we end up getting frustrated because we never get anything, or we get everything and get nothing at all. In other words, we get bitter. And that bitterness, well, it's something that we use to make us feel that we're actually going to something. It must be a stage. It must be a stage. Soon I'll get over my shyness and tell her I like her without fear of getting shunned. You know, that kind of thing, that kind of thing that never really gets us anywhere.

The powers of personification. You realize that all you amount to is a vegetable.

And your responses...

hrm. bitter na nga noon, bitter pa rin ngayon.

natawa ako dun sa 'Samantha's friend' part. nyahaha. tomato head. :))

Anonymous Anonymous8/22/2008     

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