On the corner of a main street, around the corner from my apartment block, is a vegetable store. I don’t frequent it too often, but occasionally a loud sign will announce cheap bananas or the like, and I’ll find myself loading my bike’s handle bars with bunches of kale and fruit that then dangle precariously while I weave through the traffic, like the clichéd bikey, green-leaf-eating Melbourne hipster I seem to have become 😉
On one such day, a near empty box of sad looking prickly pears was labelled with an ‘on special’ sticker. I had never had prickly pears before, although I have always wanted to give ‘em a go ever since Baloo made mention of them. So I bought 3.
Now when you pick a pawpaw
Or a prickly pear
And you prick a raw paw
Next time beware
Don’t pick the prickly pear by the paw
When you pick a pear
Try to use the claw
But you don’t need to use the claw
When you pick a pear of the big pawpaw
As a child, I thought Baloo’s song was simple, practical advice – your paw will be sore if you grab a prickly pear not by the claw (I’m a poet and I know it). But… IT IS SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT. Before I wax lyrical about Baloo The Philosopher, it is first necessary to say that I did not head his warning: I did not use a claw to pick the fruit. I used my naked fingers, which very quickly sprouted tiny (tiny!) prickles that I could barely see (and which I was still gingerly pulling out 2 days later). So I ate the fruit, hoping that maybe the pain would have been worth the prize… but alas. The yellow flesh was sweet but bland, peppered with pips that were neither pleasant nor annoying. Just sort of… there. And I thought of Baloo again, and how his advice extends to picking a pawpaw instead, if you have the choice. Which, duh, of course you should pick the pawpaw because they’re bloody delicious AND prickle free. But the real moral of the story here is that LIFE has its prickly pears and pawpaws, and I think I have picked my fair share of prickly pears when I could have been eating pawpaws all along.
Like those degrees I started then stopped. Or those boyz I hung around with.
Maybe, though, it is necessary to throw some prickly pears into the fruit salad bowl of life, only so you can appreciate the sweet and smooth pieces of pawpaw… maybe. But in 2015, and on the cusp of my 27th year here on this planet, my aim is to eat as many God damn pawpaws as I can, and leave the prickly pears in their sad little box.
Here’s to banquets of pawpaws,