Do you ever catch yourself doing something that seems innocent enough but then when you think about it you realize there might be a lot more to it?
Of course you do. Everyone does. Forget I phrased it like that.
The thing is, this thing I do is so weird and creepy I can’t comes to terms with it. I’ve been doing it ever since I was a kid and I never stopped to think about it and now it’s all I can think about. Like how hair grows out of our face and head and we never stop to think just how creepy that it is. How we’d freak if anything else was growing out of our skin but because nobody else seems concerned we just accept it.
Sort of like that except worse. Worse because it could mean so many things … this thing I do.
Examine any peanut and you’ll see in addition to the two main pieces that make up this embryonic dicot, called the cotyledons, there is a little thing sticking out called the radicle. This is the root emerging from the peanut seed. Most of the time you pop the whole thing in your mouth without a second thought but occasionally you’ll see it poking out of the peanut and you’ll make a special effort to pop it off and eat it individually.
Or at least I do.
And then, when the can is almost empty I will tip it into my hand to see how many of these radicles have fallen off their original peanut and settled to the bottom. Sometimes there will be a couple, other times, particularly if the can has been given a good shake when nobody is looking, there will be a dozen or more.
And I will pop them all in my mouth. They are my favorite part of the peanut and I can’t explain why. I crunch them between my front teeth and close my eyes and feel nothing short of euphoria.
Sometimes I will buy a few cans and spend a leisurely evening opening each and every peanut, removing the little embryonic shoot and then placing it in a pile with all their unsalted brethren. Typically I’m wearing women’s clothing and listening to Dashboard Confessional.
It puts the radicle in the basket.
I can’t put my finger on what makes this seem so wrong. Is it because the radicle is designed to thrust into the earth and start the root system of a plant and instead it ends up in my stomach? Is it because it is so small and typically ignored by the peanut-buying public? Is it because as I am gently pulling it off the main part of the peanut and making small piles of them on a piece of paper towel I am wearing women’s clothing and listening to Dashboard Confessional?
I realize that last part might seem a bit gay but to be fair their song on the Spiderman soundtrack was pretty good. Plus, listening to Dashboard Confessional is only about ten percent as gay as any man over the age of sixteen using an umbrella.
I mean seriously, how do they not see how gay they look standing there holding an umbrella? They might as well be holding an erect penis in their other hand. If a man is that worried about getting wet that he insists on carrying an umbrella the top should have to be purple and the shaft should be covered in veins.
At least using an umbrella in public gets it out there for the world to see. Shaking my nuts in secret just makes the whole thing that much worse. There are times I wish I would get caught in the act. I imagine trying to explain what I’m doing as my face grows red with shame. Pieces of my treachery still stuck in my teeth.
“The peanut isn’t even a nut, it’s a legume” I would rage, quivering
“A legume you barbarians!”
I am Vindicated
I am selfish
I am wrong
I am right
I swear I’m right
I swear I knew it all along
“It’s a bean … a bean … and I love the little nub sticking out of it.”
Now where are my fishnet stockings?
Lance Manion is the author of five humorous short story collections; Merciful Flush, Results May Vary, The Ball Washer, Homo sayswhaticus, and his latest The Trembling Fist. He blogs daily on his website www.lancemanion.com and frequently contributes to many online fiction sites.