I believe in truth in materials—I’ve argued for it over and over again here on eve’s apple and in my work collecting props in the theatre industry. Truth yes, authenticity yes, perfection no. Very, very no. My theatre friends often accuse me—with affection—of being hyper-detailed, but that’s not the same thing as perfection. I’ll argue against perfection until my voice, or fingers in this case, give out. Then I’ll Throat-Coat my vocal chords and Ben-Gay my hands until I can argue against it again. Stay tuned.
The reason is this: It’s impossible to hit perfection. Also this: perfection is bloody boring. It doesn’t taste like anything.
For years I’ve noticed that the orchard fruit I pick tastes the sweetest if it’s scarred. That sounds like a cliche, except it’s true. A peach or apple that’s been poked by its branches, pressed up against its brothers so tightly that it’s lopsided, partially striped by its own leaves, hanging from a cracked and windfallen tree—these are your best choices, I’m telling you. No way would an average retailer try to sell them to the average American consumer, because they’re not perfect, and the average American consumer demands perfect. But now you have it on my good word what and where real is: at local farms, farmers markets, orchards, abandoned fields.
And you know where Little Miss English Major is going with this, and we’re already waist-deep in a metaphor. So let’s dunk.
My own scars are what make me—well, let’s call it unique.* For sure there are some I would mail back to the universe third-class if I could, and settle for being somewhat less unique. I could live with that. But other scars are cool by me. For everyone who has been scarred—and by that I mean everyone—we’ve earned flavor.
Here then, the formula for peaches, apples, and humans to live a scarred and flavorful life:
1) Take a living creature.
2) Expose it to sun, gentle breezes, and blue skies.
3) Expose it to sleet, snow, hail, lightning, and damaging winds.
4) Let other creatures gnaw on it, with teeth or with harsh words.
5) Deprive it, from time to time, of rain, so it has to send roots more deeply into the earth to find water.
6) Deprive it, from time to time, of sun, so it has to make the most of the nourishment it has stored.
7) On sunny days, let it soak it in with especial gratitude.
8) On rainy days, let every drop feel like a baptism.
9) On days in which other creatures nestle in it or beneath it, let it be charmed.
10) When it’s finally ripe, let it look around at—or look inside at—its scars, and know it tastes good.
*Today I went to see the Lego movie with a friend just because I wanted to see it. Then I went to a party store to see if they had ‘screaming balloons’, because I need to find a fart noise for the Moliere farce I am working on. The afternoon was spent sewing burlap into bags that will hold costumes. My lunch was a half a raspberry Chocolove candy bar, and my dinner was a salad full of tofu, and I loved both. And this was an average day. You can’t buy this kind of uniqueness.