Dear Fruit Abandoned on Junk Food Aisles of the Grocery Store

Dear Fruit Abandoned on Junk Food Aisles of the Grocery Store,

With the exception of the banana, fruit has always held a special place in my culinary heart. You're sweet, you're healthy, you come in an ingenious variety of colors, textures, shapes, and flavors. Fruit is individually wrapped and usually in convenient single-serving portions. And there's something beautifully simple, something elegantly primitive about walking out into an orchard on a summer evening after dinner and having dessert.

But over the last week I've seen some things in grocery stores that indicate to me that some would-be fruit lovers are unable to resist the siren song of sulfur dioxide and high fructose corn syrup.

Someone tried to make a good decision... but then things went horribly wrong in the candy aisle.
I found this box of strawberries abandoned on the candy aisle of a local Wal-Mart. I don't think it comes as a surprise to anyone that Wal-Mart customers as a group lean towards Snickers and Doritos over strawberries and granola, but the saddening part of this situation is that someone came so close to making the right decision. They had the strawberries in their cart, albeit probably perched atop a mountain of Mountain Dew 2-liters and Little Debbie Fancy Cakes, but then they took a stroll down the candy aisle.

There's only enough room for one item atop the towering precipice that is the summit of Mt. Dew. The clattering cart slowed down to a creep and finally came to a complete stop. Its owner wheezed and leaned his massive bulk against it; his head drooped. But his eyes; his eyes remained calm, sharp, and focused. They had lit upon something they would have.

After a five minute pause and a chaw of Copenhagen, the one-time strawberry buyer had caught his breath. He wrapped his thick pink fingers around you, then hoved his way to the Snicker Fudge bars.

Yesterday I was shopping at a different grocery store, and as I was making my way through the frozen food section, something round and green caught my eye; something out of place in the cold, square world of Tombstone and DiGiorno.

It was a mango, perched all by its lonesome above the frozen pizzas. Someone had obviously decided to purchase the fruit, but then at the last moment had said to themselves, "Fuck this mango; I'll top my yogurt with chunks of pizza instead." Under what grotesque, disgusting circumstances can a frozen pizza replace a mango or vice versa? Snicker Fudge bars for strawberries I can understand. You were going to have a sweet, healthy snack; now you're going to have a sweet, partially-hydrogenated-soybean-oil snack instead. But who was planning on putting a mango in the oven for dinner before they stumbled across the frozen pizzas and realized there existed a better food for feeding a family of four on weekday nights?

I don't really care what happens to these people who cave to their baser, hydrogenated natures and swap out fresh fruit for candy and pizza; they deserve whatever diabetic coma they put themselves into. It's you, fruit, that I'm worried about; alone on aisles you have no business being on; beset on all sides by shady, artificially-sweetened characters.

Above all else, I'm worried about your self esteem. Being rejected hurts.

Pay no mind to these slack-jawed slobs who left you in the lurch to lust after sweeter or calorie-richer treats. Hold your head up high. Remain true to who you are. You could do so much better than him anyway.

Sebastian Braff

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