An Open Letter To Asparagus

Dear Asparagus,

Who exactly do you think you're fooling? Do you think there is not any way I'm not on to you? Because I am, I most certainly assure you.

I first met you in the summer of 1986. I was at my regular Saturday night babysitting gig, and the family I sat for invited me over early that night for dinner. I glanced around the table, eyed the roast, oogled the potatoes, and then my eyes wandered to a large white serving platter containing something the likes of which I'd never seen before.

You sat in a bowl, long and pointy, the shade of green that strikes terror in the heart of anyone under 5' tall. The father of the family asked, "Wanna try some?" I, not yet quick-witted enough to weave a tale desperate or agonizing enough to escape such horrors, politely obliged. I took one small, calculated bite.

"Well, it appears we should call it asperGAGus, huh?", he chuckled. I countered his chuckle with one hearty chuck. The "le" alluded me that night.

I never saw you after that fateful day of my twelfth year (my family's poverty did have its upside) until nearly 20 years later. I was employed at a dark, smoky, posh little bar in downtown Denver that thought way too highly of itself, and on the Saturday night of the fall menu roll-out, our paths again crossed. On the new menu, which consisted solely of over-ingrediented (is TOO a word) tapas, you smuggly sat, glaring at me with a thick air of superiority surrounding your pointy little green head.

Asparagus. Wrapped in prosciutto. Drizzled with strawberry compote. Oh, how you mocked me as you defiled all those fine, innocent young ingredients. How you smirked as you rubbed up against a perfectly good slice of almost-bacon, as you soaked in the sweet juices of the most sensual berry. I turned my gaze away from you that night; why feed the fire? No one would order you, and you would sit cold, alone, and slowly growing flaccid in a stale downtown refrigerator.

How foolish I was.

Table after table oooh'd and ahhhh'd over your pretentiousness. Customer after customer indulged themselves in your vitamin-laded, urine-toxifying stalks. I was brought, nightly, to your putrid alter, but I was stronger than you thought me to be. I never did succumb to your mind games, whiskey shots and drunk-munchies be damned.

I began seeing you rear your ugly head around town. On tapas, in soup, mixed with pasta, you had no shame or discretion. You even dared to appear one morning in the middle of my beloved Eggs Benedict, as if you thought I wouldn't notice you under a sea of hollandaise. Your worst offense, however, happened only days ago when you spied me nearing the refrigerated section at Safeway, pushing a full cart and simultaneously carrying a dead asleep, 5,000 pound almost three year old. As I came closer to you, sweat pouring from my furrowed brow, distracted by two pre-teens desperately seeking cookies, you wiggled your way up to the front of the ravioli section, cleverly hidden amongst cheese raviolis. Knowing there was no way for me to actually read what package I batted into the back of my cart, you made certain you were front and center, the easiest choice.

You made it all the way into my home, sat comfortably in the back of my fridge, and almost saw your scheme to fruition as I boiled water and tossed a salad that one night, only days ago. However, your evil plans were thwarted at the last minute; even though I have no glasses and can barely see, I saw YOU. You underestimate me, and that is a sad mistake to make, my friend. I'm on to you, and I always keep emergency hot dogs on hand. I don't NEED you.

It would appear that you chose to bring some of old cohorts back to the mainstream with you, possibly to deflect some of the attention away from yourself in your attempt at a Retro Resurrection. I will fight, hand over fist, until your asparagus eating, leg-warmer wearing, hairspray using, New Kids on the Block touring, Care Bear collecting, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle animating, Camaro driving, Wayfarer and jelly bracelet wearing posse is disbanded, drawn, and possibly quartered, depending on what time of the month I find you. The 80's were only cool in the 80's, and you, like avocado colored appliances, should never have made it out.

Once, in your prime, you were a valuable source of vitamins A, B, C, folic acid, and an excellent source of torture for parents, but this is the 21st century. We can make something just as vitamin rich as you out for cardboard, and old muffler and some duct tape. And it would be shaped like a teddy bear. And taste like chocolate. And we still have brussel sprouts, and at least they don't run around trying to be all phallic.

Your usefulness has seen its last days. Your welcome has officially worn out. Anything that can make my children's stay in the washroom a more smelly experience is not fit for modern society. It is time to remove yourself from it, before I am forced to do it for you. Asparagus, you are on NOTICE.

Yours in Christ,

Mr Lady