If Olives Were Real: On Growing Up Dreamless

When I was younger, I had an unnatural interest in pimento-stuffed olives, the plump green ones stuffed with pickled red peppers generally used as a garnish for martinis or tacky antipasto plates on which cubes of cheddar cheese and Genoa salami are nestled in clumps of shredded iceberg lettuce and have American flag-wrapped toothpicks flying high. I could conjure up a reason for my olive love:

  1. The staunchly Christmas-themed colors of the pimento olive gave me a connection with the normal upper-white middle class upbringing I, a religiously ambiguous child of artsy urban ex-pats, so desperately desired but would never have
  2. An unfounded but perseverant inferiority complex forced me to believe I didn’t deserve sweets, and thus I would sit in the pantry, eating olives and crying, sucking the pimentos out and often times trying to choke on them; alas, they were mushy, and dissolved in my puerile saliva, refusing to deter my epiglottis from its natural function
  3. I knew, even at a young age, that I was destined to be a traveler and a martini drinker, taking in the salt of the earth not just figuratively, but literally.

Alas, none of these reasons are remotely true. I probably just liked pimento-stuffed olives because they’re delicious, and a novelty. That list above is a microcosm of why I’m happy I’m almost done with grad school.

Recently, my mother reminded me of a poem I’d written in first grade about this, my favorite fruit:


If olives were real, they’d be babies in blankets

Riding in strollers, all around town.

Oh! My babies in blankets. 

I remember the assignment well. We were asked to craft a poem, write it on a chart-sized piece of paper, and accompany it with an illustration. I drew a giant pimento olive in a stroller. There was most likely a bright yellow sun in the upper right hand corner, and grass on the ground. I don’t know about you, but I see a striking resemblance to a certain poem about a wheelbarrow. Red, was it?

The first and only book I’ve ever written was also finished in my elementary years. It was entitled So Many Skittles, and explores the story of a family whose home becomes inundated with Skittles. There are so many of them that it’s negatively affecting their day to day life, becoming borderline dangerous, and they don’t know what to do. This was also illustrated, and included crude drawings of people drowning in mountains of brightly colored, artificially sweetened candy.

I drink dirty martinis regularly, and still buy Skittles at least once a week.



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