Sunday, August 30, 2009

Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without

At first glance, one might think this is a picture of some sort of horrible carnage, but it's not. It's actually vegetablage, to coin a neologism, and it's a sign of misplaced priorities, to me.

Here's the story as I found it on one of the internets:

La Tomatina is a food fight festival held on the last Wednesday of August each year in the town of Buñol in the Valencia region of Spain. Tens of thousands of participants come from all over the world to fight in a brutal battle where more than one hundred metric tons of over-ripe tomatoes are thrown in the streets.
Approximately 20,000-50,000 tourists come to the tomato fight, multiplying by several times Buñol's normal population of slightly over 9,000. In preparation for the dirty mess that will ensue, shopkeepers use huge plastic covers on their storefronts in order to protect them.
Now, I have nothing at all against the Buñolians throwing tomatoes around if that's what they want to do. However, I used to work in a building with a homeless shelter located therein, and I know that the earnest people who try to supply food for people experiencing homelessness go to all sorts of measures to try to locate nutritious food for the people. You have to figure that "tens of thousands of metric tons" of tomatoes would make at least enough spaghetti sauce for hundreds of thousands of spaghetti dinners. I'm just sayin'.
And ketchup! My grandmother made her own ketchup, or catsup if you will, as well as root beer, mayonnaise, pickle relish and canned beets, and one of the last things she ever told me as she drew me closer to her deathbed was, "Mark...remember..they don't use the best tomatoes for ketchup...I'm just sayin'.."
I have to wonder, quite frankly, what the devil it is with Spain, with people willing to travel great distances to get involved in activities of dubious value, for which one needs goggles. What the hell is it over there?
Remember those dialogues from Spanish class, all about "¡Hola, Juan! ¿Como esta usted?" Well, what's up with Juan next? Is the new next line "¿Quiere ser pisoteado por un toro o quieres tener tomates lanzado en usted?" ("Do you want to be trampled by a bull or do you want to have tomatoes thrown at you?")
The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind. Along with the aroma of enteric fermentation of ruminant cattle, and a tangy, rich, tomatoey-goodness wafting by.

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