How ‘Bout Them Apples?

I thought I knew everything about my husband. Until today.

This morning while we sat at our island eating breakfast (kitchen, not tropical), my husband revealed something about himself that nothing in our 17-year history could have prepared me for. And he said it like it was no big deal, like I should have expected – even approved of – his commentary.

It turns out that I most certainly did not approve, and to put an exclamation point on it, I’m going to reveal his dirty little secret here. On the Internet. Where it will never go away. And because I think it will be most dramatic this way, I’m going to do it via a live-action dialogue sequence.

Brace yourself: The following material may be a bit shocking. Those with faint constitutions may want to close your browsers now…

Me: I took a chance and bought these new cherries at the store yesterday.

Husband: Oh yeah?

Me: Yeah. It was a bit of a risk because I’ve never had this kind before– but they were like $3 less per pound, so I decided to go for it.

Husband: That’s good. (pause) Why didn’t you try one first?

Me: Couldn’t. They were in a sealed bag.

Husband: Oh, I would have just opened the bag and taken one.

Me: What?

Husband: Yeah, totally. I do it all the time.

Me: You do?

Husband: Yeah. I’ve been burned too many times with bad fruit. I always test it first now. Trust me.

Me: Wait – what? You test fruit? In the grocery store?

Husband: Yeah. All the time. Like if I’m thinking about buying one of those big bags of apples, I’ll just open the bag and eat one. You know, to make sure they’re good.

Me: Wait… you’re telling me you open sealed bags of fruit and eat, like, an entire apple, orange, or nectarine – right there on the spot?

Husband: Yeah, all the time.

Me: That’s horrifying.

Husband: No it isn’t. It’s practical.  Fruit is expensive and I want to make sure it’s going to taste good before I buy it.

Me: That’s unsanitary. Plus, it’s kind of stealing.

Husband: No it isn’t.

Me: Yeah, it is.

Husband: No it isn’t. They know people do it. They expect it. Trust me. I do it all the time.

Me: But you’re eating something without paying for it.

Husband: Not really.

Me: Yes, really.

Husband: No, it’s fine. They expect people to do it. Trust me.

Tense silence while I try to integrate this new information.

Me: Ok. So forgetting about the stealing for a minute, your method doesn’t even make sense. Just because one apple in the bag doesn’t taste good, it doesn’t mean they all will be bad.

Husband: Yeah it does.

Me: No it doesn’t.

Husband: Yeah it does. Trust me.

Me: No – it so doesn’t. There’s a whole cliché based on how wrong that assumption is. You know, One bad apple…?

Husband: Yeah, that expression proves my point.: One bad apple spoils the bunch or bushel or whatever.

Me: Hm. Well… maybe that’s how the expression started, but I think the real point of it is what a shame it is for one bad apple to spoil the whole bunch. You shouldn’t throw away the whole bunch because of one bad apple.

Husband: Yeah you should. Trust me. I do it all the time.

So here’s the takeaway: My husband, who has bungee jumped off a cliff in Australia, raced cars on the Nuerburgring in Germany, skied double black diamonds, and married a temperamental Jewish girl from Chicago and brought her to live in a small town in Missouri, is apparently so risk-averse when it comes to fruit that he will break social conventions and basically steal from our local grocery store to avoid… what? A sour taste in his mouth? (This is the same man buys the $18 box of sour patch watermelons every time we go to the movies.)

I think what surprised me most about Jimmy’s feelings on fruit-buying, was his attitude of entitlement. Like he is owed a decent piece of fruit or something. Good or bad, it took the farmer every bit as long to grow the fruit, and the grocer just as much overhead to sell the fruit. Aside from bruises or obvious mold or something, you can’t tell how a piece of fruit is going to taste before you eat it. Therefore the only method of determining if the fruit is worthy of purchase, takes the option to buy it off the table. Because by then it is already in your stomach.

Call me I’m old-fashioned, but I think certain things in life come with inherent risk. Buying fruit is one of them. Marriage is another for that matter, along with putting your face under at a water park and eating sushi in the Midwest. You pays your money, you takes your chances. There are no guarantees in this life and if you want to be 100% sure your fruit is going to taste perfectly sweet, you’d better buy it out of a can and be prepared to eat all the sugar and preservatives they add to make it that way. Unlike my husband, I am not a risk-taker by nature, but I believe there are certain things in life worth the gamble. Appalling fruit-buying behavior aside, my husband was one of them. A good nectarine is another.

And you can trust me on that.

What do you think? Are you a fruit-tester?

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10 Comments on “How ‘Bout Them Apples?”

  1. Barbara Wills says:

    Ok I looked at my receipt when I got home and you bought the “special” more expensive cherries. But it sounds like it was worth it, you took the risk, even if you did not taste one first……

  2. Damommachef says:

    Ha! I am not a fruit tester. I think buying fruit is a crap shoot. You know very well when you buy it you may be throwing your money down the toilet. But I am not above returning fruit, especially from Sam’s Club and Costco. If the fruit is tasteless, over-ripe, buggy, etc., I have taken it back to the store. Once I cut open a watermelon and a gelatinous, over ripe mess squished all over the place. I promptly poured the watermelon into a bag and took it back to the store. The manager was appalled and let me pick out a new one. Fruit tester….no. Fruit returner….you betcha.

  3. rockitalian says:

    No I’m not a fruit taster and I’m on your side on this issue:)

  4. talktala:_ ori says:

    Maybe it’s a guy thing, but I’m with him. Totally legit.

    I think social conventions are that if the fruit cannot be sold in units of one (known in NY fruit stands as “mango- $2.50 each”), it’s totally cool to pick one and taste :).

  5. Stacia says:

    Nope, I am too much of a rule follower – and I’d think of it as stealing. So I am with you!! And I was rolling reading this!!!

  6. corbett says:

    Thanks for the great article. I’m with Jimmy. Fruit’s just begging for a test although my policy is that it has to be pop-able–grapes, cherries, strawberries. Apricots are iffy, apples are inexcusable. Jimmy probably started out like me then advanced to bigger fruit. What’s next? Pinapple?

    • Jill Orr says:

      So you’re saying grapes are a gateway fruit? I like it. That makes sense to me on some level. If Jimmy ever grabs his watermelon knife before heading to the store, we may need to discuss some sort of rehab.

  7. […] I point out the irony of a man who is completely unwilling to risk bad fruit, travels with a 6.5 pound Dopp kit (actual weight) filled with ointment, medicine, gauze, and salve […]


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