Monday, July 01, 2013

Panic down on the farm

“SCREEEEEE!!” screamed the tiny creature as it flapped into our car through my open window, landing somewhere between the door and my lap.

Five seconds before that, if you’d asked me where I’d put “keeping the car on the road” on my list of priorities, I’d probably have ranked it somewhere near the top.  All of a sudden, though, ramming into a roadside tree seemed like a pretty decent option.

People will try to tell you that vegetables are healthy (stay with me here), which is why my wife Kara signed us up for a deal with a local farm where we pick up a trash bag full of kale each week, but as we drove down the dusty farm driveway last Saturday, I couldn’t help but think that life seemed much healthier before we put ourselves in places where indeterminate organisms flew screaming into our car, attempting to make us perform vehicular treeslaughter.

“Dude!  What is that?  WHAT IS IT?” I screamed, back when Kara handed me my first green smoothie.

“It’s strawberries and banana,” she replied.

“Then why is it green?” I asked.

“It also has kale, chard, kohlrabi, bok choy, arugula, Caligula, jack-in-the-pulpit, Congolese shrieking peppers and horseturnips in it,” she said.  Or something like that.  She lost me at kale.  I’m pretty sure that she made up all the words after that, anyway.

“Oh, just try it.  It’s good,” she said, and I stared at her, waiting for her to mumble, “for you.”

Ever since we started doing this farm share, Kara has been sneaking vegetables into everything, aided by the VitaMix blender she recently purchased.  You may recognize VitaMix from their tagline: “You’re poor now.  Have a smoothie to take your mind off it!”   

After buying this fancy new blender, Kara took our old sixteen-dollar (perfectly fine) blender and stuffed it into the new one, frappeing our old blender into a frosty and delicious beverage.  The plastic-and-glass aftertaste really helped to hide the kale.

Kidding aside, Kara has actually been making use of almost all the food we’ve gotten from the farm, and though it often looks like she’s blending a rhododendron, the smoothies are delicious, especially if you don’t ask what’s in them.  The key to enjoying vegetables is to pulverize them until the particles are too small for your tongue to notice, then make sure your brain doesn’t get any clues about what they’re supposed to taste like.

So all of this is to explain why we were on the farm driveway last Saturday morning, minding our own business after picking up another bale of cabbage, when we were ambushed by the screaming creature.

“Dude!  What is that?  WHAT IS IT?” I yelled.

“SCREEEEEE!” the creature replied, flapping beside my leg.

“Stay on the road!  Calm down!  It’s just a cicada,” my wife Kara said.

“WHY IS IT SCREAMING AT ME?” I yelled.  This was not an exaggeration.  Being a parent with two young children, I have a keen ear for screams, and that bug was screaming.

If you’re not familiar with cicadas, they’re the red-eyed bugs that live underground for most of their lives.  Then, like many humans, they turn seventeen and swarm into the world to fornicate and cause havoc.

I pulled off the driveway and jumped out of the car.  The cicada crawled under my seat and dared me to go in after it. 

“I wanna see the cicada!” our son Evan called from his car seat, demonstrating more bravery than his dad, and shaming me into action.

After much reaching and prodding, I finally convinced the little critter to rejoin his friends at the farm.  Besides, if he was trying to escape all that kale, he picked the wrong car.

You can roll up your windows before Mike Todd gets in at

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