watermelon

You don’t just buy a watermelon, you make a commitment to it. There is a whole series of rituals that need to be performed. When choosing the melon, you inspect them for color and stripey-ness, decoding the pattern that best indicates great flavor. Next you thump it, listening for just the right “THONK” sound to reverberate. After thumping a dozen melons, you finally choose one that will hopefully delight friends and family.

The journey home is fraught with danger, because there are many ways a watermelon can escape and hit the ground, crushing your spirit as it splits with that awful, indescribable splat that would make Gallagher envious. You gently set it in the cart, handling it more carefully than the eggs. When you get to the car, you secure it with the seat belt. You take the back roads home to avoid traffic troubles and sudden stops. When you arrive at home you stretch, then gently pick up the melon and carefully carry it from the car to the kitchen.

After arriving home with your perfect watermelon, everyone needs to be impressed with its glory. You have to tell everyone how great the melon is, as if you trekked through the fields of California’s Central Valley to seek the perfect specimen hidden amongst all the second-rate produce there. You need to let everyone know how you picked it in the store, and how the thumping sound told you this was the tastiest melon in the store.

Like carving a turkey, you have to cut it up just right for maximum enjoyment. It’s a solitary job that requires a careful touch with a large knife. You can’t leave any pieces with white or green rind, and the pieces need to be just slightly larger than bite-size so a little juice gets on the corner of your mouth as you shove a piece in. The clean-up is extensive, with juice and white seeds and bits of red flesh scattered on the countertop like a fruity crime scene.

Finally the time comes to eat the watermelon, and the moment of truth arrives when you are rewarded for your efforts. Incredible, tasty, and sweet! You and your loved ones revel in the glorious, sticky sensation of the melon passing over your lips, exciting your tongue and causing the dopamine to crash through your brain in cool red waves.

Watermelons are so big that it takes days to eat it all, and sometimes you can’t finish it all. Unfortunately, if you haven’t eaten quickly enough, it starts to smell. The bloom is off the rose at this point, and you’re so sick of it that you are glad to see it go … until your next trip to the grocery store.