Thursday, July 08, 2010

Life's Little Lemonades

Ever the Eternal Optimist once sagely said, "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade." Since that day, he has been quoted numerous times, often without attribution, but that's ok because he's making lemonade. You'll see his words on church signs. You'll hear it from the mouths of bootstrap-tugging Randians. He's happy, because he's making the world a better place.

This has to be one of the stupidest things Ever ever said.

What's wrong with lemons? Absolutely nothing. You can make lemonade with them, or better yet, an ice cold Tom Collins with Plymouth gin. You can make lemon icebox pie. You can clean with it. Disinfect. Pen secret messages to your 13th century monk or Russian spy.

When life hands you lemons, the proper response is "Thanks, life! A lemon is damned useful, one of nature's little wunderfroots."

Now, Ever the Eternal Optimist and his immitators often use this metaphor whenever life hands you something other than a lemon. Prolonged unemployment isn't a lemon. Neither is bankruptcy due to medical problems. Being impregnated by your rapist isn't a lemon, nor is being impregnated by your uncle, or your uncle the rapist. A lemon is a beautiful yellow fruit of many uses. Rape is not a beautiful yellow fruit.

But Ever wants you to think it is. Make the best of a bad situation, he's trying to say with his oh-so-clever lemon metaphor. Buck up, little girl. This act of violence is a great opportunity for you, if you just approach it with a positive attitude.

And therein lies the error of this false metaphor. These things aren't lemons, they're more like a rotting maggoty dog carcass. And when life locks you in a cage with a rotting, maggoty dog carcass, you know what you're gonna do? Pee yourself. Howl. Vomit. Because you're not making lemonade, Sunshine, and anybody who suggests you should try to make lemonade from a rotting maggoty dog carcass should be the first to taste your product.

Ever's problem is, Life has never handed him a rotting dog carcass. The greatest tragedy in his life was being handed a lemon grove when what he really wanted was a winery. To Ever, a tragedy is when you get something other than what you want. But Ever the Eternal Optimist, when handed a lemon grove decided to make lemonade. Then all the people in daddy's vast social and business networks stopped by and bought Ever's lemonade at two dollars a Dixie cup and Ever made a lot of money through hard work all of his own and the right attitude and now he fancies himself an entrepreneur who should have his taxes cut because without him where would this country be, huh? Huh?


peterriva said...

Good one Jeff.

Iago de Otto said...

I like to squeeze 'em on my melons. Water, that is. Uh, no, uhhh . . . I doan mean squeezin' water, how ya gonna squeeze water, and I doan rilly have melons. Not them kind. I like a squeeze lemon's juice all over my watermelons. Them's tasty.

The Cynical Optimist

ME said...

Well said. Both sage and humorous. Worthy of a Carlin or Hunter S. Thompson rant.