Photo by Luke Bultman
I was never as fancy as the onion. With golden rings of beauty, he would make all the girls cry. He had a taste of sophistication that I would never possess and although I once admired it, I now find myself settled.
When I was younger, I used to see myself in different ways. When I was exciting, I was a french fry. When I was boring, I was a pierogi. When I gave up, I was a potato chip. I had a zest for life that was wild and still unused.
It was in my younger days when I first seduced the Ketchup. We became inseparable. We went everywhere together. I told her my philosophy on the beatniks and existentialism and she taught me how to be sweet. Together we strolled in and out of the cafe’s on thousands of dates. It wasn’t until we finally mustered up the courage to go to France that I found out my identity was false.
“Freedom Fries?” I cried when I saw the sign in the window advertising my very existence. “But I’m French!” I insisted to ketchup. Although she didn’t seem to mind, I hid my head in shame whenever I saw her. She would look for me in the restaurants we used to visit, but I would duck, too afraid to be seen. I watched her one evening as she sat alone at the table, waiting. Still, I could not face her.
I had to escape to Poland where I would find a new identity. The life of a pierogi seemed exotic enough. I had never heard of such a thing in America, so I fancied it was a rare cuisine. After traveling a great distance, I found myself in a fat woman’s tiny kitchen. She would serve me to her Church every Sunday. There I lived a quiet life full of religious hope and zest. I thought I would find the meaning of life in such a place, but instead I grew restless. Pierogi were nothing exotic in Poland and once again I began to see myself as just one of the ordinary.
When I was middle aged, I was a potato chip – serving all the other middle agers with something addicting yet harmless. I moved back to America sometime shortly after the fat woman from Poland died from a heart attack. It was here that I started to face my bitterness head on. I became greasy with a taste for dive bars and pool halls. I hung out at seedy diners until the wee hours of the morning only to then disappear until the afternoon. It was a good enough existence until one day I realized that I missed the calm that I had felt with ketchup. It was only in those early days where I thought I knew my identity that I looked back and saw a fondness I could recognize only as peace.
Now that I’m older, I find myself just the way I’ve always found myself. Somewhat of a boring, bland, quiet potato, but never the less I am happy. With my simple existence I am decorated with all the wonderful friends who can make me interesting. The coolness of sour cream has an ease I can relate to. Vinegar has filled the empty slots in which I have now found a home. And last but not least, ketchup has hung on like a trooper in the worst and best of times to come. I feel their presence as not a necessity, but a nice accent to something that is actually quite sturdy in its simplicity. Being fancy doesn’t suit everyone.
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