I was fixing some lunch today and picked up a ripe home-grown tomato, intending to slice it. Then I noticed a strange tentacle-like growth drooping along one side of the succulent fruit.
I was also reminded of an elephant’s trunk.
So strange — what could have caused this anomaly? Perhaps my garden was visited by a cephalopod while the tomato plant was flowering. I deferred lunch and took the tomato, a tripod, and my camera out onto my back porch and perched the tomato on the railing. After my photo shoot the briefly reprieved tomato succumbed to the knife. While I ate the tomato I kept thinking I detected a hint of calamari in its taste …
Photos of such vegetable deformities are a summer-time staple of rural and small-town newspapers.
An imagined scene:
Joe, a farmer who lives a few miles from the village, pulls up to the local weekly newspaper’s office.
He hops out of the battered “work truck” cradling a lumpy yellowish object in his arms.
Joe walks into the building. Antiquated Linotypes and printing presses are visible through an open doorway at the end of the hall. He knocked on the door of the editor/publisher’s office.
“Come on in!”
As Joe proudly displays his object, which turns out to be an oddly shaped banana squash, the editor (imagine him wearing a green eye-shade) leans back in his swivel chair and says, with a smile:
“What the hell ya got there, Joe?”
“This mornin’ I was out in the garden and found this here bananer squash. Don’t it look like Elmer Fudd? See, here’s the nose, and here’s where the chin should be. The eyes ain’t quite right, but still! And it even has a hat, see?”
The editor chuckled and pulled his old Speed Graphic camera from a desk drawer.
“Here, Joe, set ol’ Elmer up on this table and I’ll take some pitchers. Here, you stand behind the table and hold it up, and I’ll get you in the shot, too.”
After the impromptu photo shoot was over the editor said, “Well, Joe, you’ll see your Elmer in the paper this Saturday. Thanks for bringin’ him in — been a mite short on news this week!”