Wednesday, July 6, 2011

An apple divided

From reporter Larry Parsons:

A few days ago, as I picked up some Gala apples at a grocery store in Salinas, I came upon one of those oddities of nature that tickle the fancy.

One of the four apples I bought appeared to be divided equally into near-perfect hemispheres of different color. One side was red, the other mostly golden. The line between them was straight, as if the creator used masking tape or a straight edge to apply the colors.

I showed the apple to a few friends and colleagues to see if my simple enjoyment in its split personality would produce similar reactions. Most of them agreed it was certainly a special apple. "Oh wow," they said.

I knew the veteran photographer wouldn't be impressed.

Photographers, you see, have encountered many pieces of fruit and vegetables tenderly carried by slightly wild-eyed people who claim a prosaic potato is the spitting image of the King of Prussia or a typically bumpy tomato has the horns of Satan right out of "Paradise Lost."

As the apple sat in the fruit bowl in my kitchen, it caused me to muse, speculate and cogitate. Not as much as the apple that bonked Newton in the dome, but more food for thought than your typical Gravenstein.

An odd ball in a natural world that favors curves, serrations, arcs and more complex geometric forms than a dull straight line, my apple seemed emblematic of the duality of existence — life-death, mind-body, male-female, comedy-tragedy, designated hitter-pitcher-must-hit.

Its hard-and-fast dividing line was a perfect metaphor for the country's polarized politics with its bitter divisions over government, taxes, war, budgets and Sarah Palin's new movie.

As I passed the fruit bowl one morning, with no apples now but Mr. Two-Face, I mentally wandered into the realm of Hegelian dialetics, vaguely recalled from a distant college lecture.

Let's see, history works like this. First there's a thesis. Then some folks don't like it, and they come up with an antithesis (especially effective when employing well-regulated and armed militias), and the upshot is synthesis — a blending, a compromise, a new thesis. And so on and so forth.

I know my apple's days are numbered, like everything.

I did, for a moment, consider preserving it in some clear plastic goop. But that would put me in the same league as the fellow with a summer squash that's a spitting image of Charlie Chaplin in "Modern Times."

Time marches on. History unfolds.

And apples, no matter how special, become applesauce, one way or another.

Crunch. Not bad, but not as good as the apples I remember as a kid.

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