The inaugural post of a blog is a great and sacred thing. It sets the standards and expectations for all of the posts to come. I gave considerable thought to this all-important first post. Perhaps, I mused, I should share some beautiful spiritual reflection, or a profound literary insight, or some glorious commentary on the meaning of life.
I decided instead to write about That Time I Was Attacked by a Tomato.
To be fair, the attack wasn’t unprovoked. I suppose it could even be called self-defense. During my time at Bethel College in Indiana, I’ve worked at a sandwich restaurant called the Acorn. It was my morning shift and I was slicing tomatoes without any suspicion that one of them might resist.
Workers at the Acorn use a slicer that shoves tomatoes through a frame of razor-sharp blades. The blades divide the tomatoes into even slices, which are stored in plastic containers and eventually put on sandwiches. Every now and then a tomato will be too mushy to be sliced neatly by the blades. Such tomatoes generally split open and send forth little jets of juice.
On the day of the incident, I tried to slice a tomato and it exploded.
I wasn’t expecting any of the tomatoes to go off like grenades, so I was rather stunned. One of my fellow workers described the scene thus: “I looked over at you, and there was juice and seeds dripping from your face!” Another worker just hopped up and down and exclaimed, “Eww! Eww! Eww!”
Tomatoes aren’t the only things that have attacked me at the Acorn. I never considered making sandwiches a dangerous job, yet my time at the Acorn has been fraught with violence.
For example, a friend whom I’ll call Socrates made a point of pretending to tear out my heart every time we worked together. He would then pretend either to take a bite out of the still-beating heart or to squeeze it into his drink.
Socrates once recruited another worker to assault me with crumpled-up papers as I was taking my supper break. A volley of paper balls pelted me as I sat innocently eating a sandwich, and I looked up to see Socrates and his accomplice preparing the next barrage of artillery. With only the table for cover, there wasn’t much I could do to defend myself.
I was also jumped by a raccoon. When I say jumped, I mean it both literally and figuratively. I was taking a stack of cardboard out to the recyclables dumpster when something like a furry gray basketball launched itself at me from an open hatch in the dumpster’s side. It landed at my feet and I realized it was a raccoon. It paused for a moment, peering up at me and presumably wondering whether I was worth the trouble of biting, and then sauntered away.
Why do things attack me at the Acorn? Why is making sandwiches so perilous?
I have no idea.