Posts Tagged ‘thinking’

The Fallacy of Fruit

Certainly you’ve heard the expression about comparing apples to apples, and perhaps also the one about comparing them ineffectually to oranges. What I have to share instead is a fruit-based illustration involving a completely different citrus altogether.
Let me explain…


My family and I were hypothetically standing around in an open field, discussing our upcoming theoretic existence together…a metaphysical plain of sorts. It was a bright and sunny day and fairly early on in things, as I recall. We had a lovely time being with each other but had come to a lull in our conversation because we were at a bit of a loss as to what should come next. It was at that point we were joined by another who looked every bit the part of one that might have the answers – quite possibly all of them – but not likely to share.  The newcomer to our group appeared to have news.


     “Hi there!”
     “That’s Life,” one of the more knowledgeable of us said to the rest of the group.
     “Say, I’m just going around providing a bundle of some basic things for folks out here and I have some other stuff with me that I’m going to just give away,” Life announced casually while reaching out to hand us something. “I’ve got a whole bunch of these,” Life continued, “and you were all just hanging out right here, so…here ya go!”

I looked down at what was in my hands. A small pile of Lemons.

     “What are we supposed to do with these?” said one. His query came quickly but was far too late; Life had already moved on. Some other souls in different parts of the field were even now looking into their hands, wondering what to make of their own existential handout.
We looked around at each other, holding our little piles of yellow and befuddlement, wondering what were possibly supposed to do.
Clearly they were meant as a gift, but what kind of a gift are Lemons?
Most of us were thinking much the same thing;  “I’m pretty sure I didn’t really want to have Lemons, ever.”  That sentiment played on mentally for some time before anyone spoke.
     “I bet we could probably pass them off to somebody,” some body said.
     “We should try to figure out what to do with them. We are kinda stuck with them…” I said to everyone, and no one in particular.
     Others said, “Screw that! I don’t want Lemons, I want Apples!”Apples and Lemons by Ellipsis-Imagery on Flickr
     “I do too!” I replied. “That would be very nice, but we don’t have any, so we’ll need to make the best of it. You do have Lemons right there in your hands!”
     “No. I don’t think so.  I want Apples and I’m going to go get some. I think I see an Apple tree way down in that valley. You coming with?”
     “I really don’t think that’s an Apple tree.   What if you get out there and it’s just a small Oak?”
     “Well, then we will have Acorns. We’re going!” they said, dropping a few of their Lemons on the ground, but somewhat incongruously keeping the rest.


I watched them stride away towards the indeterminate speck of a tree while others stayed with me.  I spent some time looking over my Lemons.  None of the citrus were in great shape.  They were small, a little soft, and a couple appeared to have bruises.  I was still pondering my situation when I noticed a big chunk of the remaining souls had wandered off aimlessly, practically tripping over Lemons spilled all over the ground. They appeared to be quite optically bothered. They were sniffling and mumbling to themselves incoherently, but they could barely be heard over their petulance.
No time to worry about them.
The others who kept their Lemons were already trying to find a way to relieve them of their tart juices.  I watched for a while to evaluate their process, but didn’t really learn a great deal.  There wasn’t much of a process. Just smash the things and collect the juice.  Before I knew it, there were other people coming by to offer suggestions, and containers full of the stuff were everywhere in no time at all. They were madly mixing and shaking and stirring, and spilling a little here or there. It all seemed quite promising, but it looked like that method was pretty well covered.  There had to be a better way.


Going off on my own a ways, I put my Lemons in a little pile and sat there evaluating them and the most precise way to create something worthwhile. I was setting my mind to extracting the most glorious possible thing that could come from this sour pile.  Who knows how much time passed, but after several promising, albeit ultimately faulty ideas, I finally had a plan, and it was a good one.   I kept to myself, took my time and very carefully manipulated the fruit, using only the most precise tools I could locate. I kept my focus on the task in front of me. I was very careful to not spill a drop as I collected flawless, pulp-free juice in crystal carafes.  After painstakingly collecting, I experimented with the extract to create the most perfect Lemonade possible.  It was far from easy, but in time, I had a stunning nectar with the perfect balance of sweet versus tart, a hint of blackberry essence, a whiff of fresh mint and perfect wedge of Lemon on the frosted glass with just a sprinkle of coarse sugar.  I was so proud and couldn’t wait to share my creation with any soul that I came across.


When I looked up from my creations, so much had changed. Everything was very different.
On one side, I saw a large industrial warehouse bustling with activity.  People were serving customers and stacking crates. Trucks were loaded and unloaded and new ones were arriving every few minutes.  A huge sign along the path to the warehouse advertised Lemon flavored drink mix and Lemon juice by the barrel.
To the other side I saw a massive orchard covering the whole valley, with a stream of people coming and going, picking Apples, making Applesauce and happily eating fresh Apple pie.


I watched for a while, marveling at the industries that were sprouting in the field around me, but I started to feel like I was missing out. I had this beautiful drink that I created and I was sure people would love it, but instead, they were flocking everywhere except to where I was.  Standing there with my pretty Lemonade in my hand, I wondered  why I hadn’t done something different with my Lemons or hunted down Apples when I had the chance.  I didn’t understand where I could have missed these other, clearly superior, options.  Who knows how much time passed as I pondered the people, the paths, the future and the fruit.  Well after the “right” time, I looked down at the drink in my hand and I made a decision.  The weather had changed by the time this decision came, but it arrived nonetheless.


*   *   *


The air is cold and the rain is losing its fight against the snow.  This precipitation battle doesn’t deter the delivery trucks on one side, or the steady stream of people on the other.  The smell of spices and crackling wood is wafting now from the direction of the Apples…hot cider still brings a crowd!  Cinching my scarf up tight, I pull my hat down a little further and hunker down by my own little fire.  It’s too late to change events; it isn’t a season for Lemonade now. When was the last time you saw a Lemonade stand at Christmas?  What they want is something inviting, something comforting, something cozy. I watch the crowds of people scurry by on their way to the welcoming promise of warm pie and cider, the vision of happiness practically projecting over their heads in a soft haloic gleam.   I put my feet up to warm by the fire and I bash my straw against the minty crust of ice forming on the top of my drink every few minutes.   Now and then I take slow careful sips of my Lemony liquid, savoring the complex flavor as it melts.

Waiting patiently…
…for summer to finally return.

We Aren’t as Stupid as You Think.

Sometimes I think you must really believe we are idiots.  The way you behave, your actions and your words all make the assumption that we are stupid.  In a small way, I do understand that you have to be that way.  When it comes down to work in life, I really don’t expect that many people really want to have your jobs.  It is very tough to please everyone…in reality, it is actually impossible, even though that seems to be what gets placed in your job descriptions.  But, having a tough job is not a good enough excuse to treat everyone else as if they are only tools to enable your power.

Let me elaborate a little, just in case you don’t know who you are yet:

You are elected politicians.  We are the people you serve.  I think I may need to re-emphasize that.   You serve us.   Your job is designed to be one that deals with the unpleasantness of leading a group of people that do not always agree on the best course of action.   Your job is not a vehicle to expand your power, establish manipulative influence or  build a platform for personal gain.  Yet time after time, this is what we see.  We hear your promises, and we want to believe them.  We want things better, and we want you to help us.  We believe you, we vote for you, and time after time we feel lied to.   This should not be interpreted as me saying that I think all politicians are liars.   Actually, quite to the contrary.  I believe quite a number of politicians really do want to help and do not intentionally lie in ads or in their message.  The key word in that last sentence is “intentionally”.  The unfortunate reality is that despite intent, after the flurry of  campaigning is over, people inevitably feel let down.

The cycle right now is beginning again.  Election day has come and gone, and suddenly my phone is quiet.  Over the past several weeks, my phone would ring eight times a night with “urgent” (recorded) messages about how important it was to vote for fill-in-the-blank candidate.  “Your vote is important!”.  This does not make me feel like you care about me, the voter.  Honestly, it feels like winning is the only objective, and that is why my vote is important to you.  With winning as the only objective, ceaseless intensely personal negative attack ads flood the airwaves to convince voters how evil the opponent is.   This is where I really get upset with you.  You obviously think we are all dumb enough to believe these petty attacks and that we will change our allegiance  because you call someone a name, or scare us about loosing something we know.  It’s deemed OK to say almost anything you want, even if it is speculation, because you think we believe it.

You obviously think of us all in the same way.  We are the dumb masses and you have to trick us in order to win.  Then, you wonder why people are upset!  Obviously, some people are affected by the mean attacks, or the “reminders” to vote, but certainly not all of us.  The problem with people in your jobs is that you treat us as “them” and not as “us”.  STOP putting us into categories of friend or foe.  We are all Americans, and we want honest people we can trust.   Currently, we do not trust you.  And we will not trust you until you stop thinking of us as stupid masses…as demographics, and start thinking of us…ALL of us, as “the people”.  Not only as “the people” that are looking to you for guidance, but as “the people” who give you your jobs, and pay for all that you spend.

We really aren’t as stupid as you think, and no matter what, you do still work for us.

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