Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Pineapple

It is 1967. Or 1968. One of those. And the Complete and Total Loser's father has brought something different into the house: a pineapple. 
The Loser, age 9 (or 10), has seen pineapples before in supermarkets but has never eaten one. Looking at it, he's not sure he wants to. Thick, rough skin, spikes that are hard to see. An uninteresting color. The Loser is too young and too dumb to realize that the more foreboding the outside of a fruit, the more desirable the inside. 
Jet travel is still new, if that's how pineapples got from Hawaii to the Loser's East Coast suburb, and fresh ones are uncommon and expensive. It's not like his father to splurge like this, but he likes to introduce his children to new things. He gets out a cutting board, the kind usually used for meat, and a big knife. "You're gonna like this," he says. He also gets out a bowl and puts powdered sugar in it. He cuts off the top, trims off the skin then butchers the inside, putting the sticky, moist chunks on a plate. 

"Dip it in the sugar," he says, eating a piece. The Loser does. The Loser is not and never was a foodie. He ate too much candy as a kid and goes on binges now and then even now. Egg nog, Irish potatoes, that kind of thing. But food isn't a primary interest. When he eats this strange new fruit, however ... bliss. 
Now, the Loser has found that on Sunday evenings he can get cut up pineapple at an upscale supermarket in two-pound tubs for $9. That's expensive but the Loser, thanks to the inheritance his father and mother left him when they both died not far apart a year and a half ago, can afford it. So he buys it and eats it, sans the added sugar. He thinks of his father while he does.

The Loser took this photo himself, having been disappointed with the photos of pineapples he found on the Internet.

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