Apr 1 2014
03:36 pm
By: Bbeanster  shortURL

A teacher friend asked me to post this fable:

My Dear dear readers, it is with regret and sorrow, a huge sadness on my heart that I find it necessary to tell you the following tale. It is not a happy story, in fact it is a tale full of sadness, regret and just the thought of telling it in a way that conveys the true tragedy it is, leaves me with a feeling of great despair and wonder at how we allowed something to go so wrong. Although, truth be told maybe just maybe the end may not yet be set in stone, we can always hold out hope that the weakest, feeblest spark that may, or then again may not remain, will one day find the fuel to shine again. If we have hope we have reason to try. May we hope for the best and find out together, later. What follows is that tale:

Tomatoes. All of us love em (although it is just a healthy normal love, not like some weird cult or worshiping types of love, we just like a good tomato sandwich, or tomato soup, salsa, or wonderful homemade marinara sauce…….ah, but I ask you forgiveness for I digress and the tale is long enough without further burdening it and you with nonessential information like tomatoes uses).
No doubt the reason we feel strongly about them is because our community has long been a producer of high quality and high yield tomato plants and therefore obviously tomatoes. But then again you know how it works and I again find myself needlessly muddling the tale. Suffice it to say again, for I have already said it once, we all love em and many great ones are produced here. Now however, not nearly as many nor nearly as great as before although I assure you that did not come to be on purpose.
How it did come to be is my tale that I have now spent considerably more of your and my time then was necessary or I assure you then I intended just to get started. I will once again attempt to be more considerate of your time and boredom threshold, for without your continued reading and hopefully your eventual understanding of the tale there is no point, and I do hope I have not already lost you to any number of pursuits that would be less tedious to this point, such as counting blades of grass in a field or watching a tomato beetle make its painstaking way across what to it must seem miles and mile of tomato vine.
Quick, concise and to the point.
Years ago our tomato growing lands were suddenly inherited by a man from away. The man knew everything, was never wrong and never needed anyone’s help or suggestions. The man intended to work the land and he intended to produce more and better tomatoes then had ever been produced before. He knew how to do this he said for two reasons: he had learned a secret and he had experience. Although, at first he was very vague and elusive about both.
The farm had one worker and he kept him on. The farm hand was what we would call a true cultivator. What does that mean you ask? It means he understood tomatoes and more importantly he knew how to take a small plant and grow it, mentor it, and have such an impact on it that one day it would blossom and bear fruit successfully on its own.
In fact we will call the farm hand a tomato teacher for that says it best. The man told the tomato teacher to get his shovel and get ready. The teacher said “for what?” The man just grinned and began laughing, very loudly and maybe just a little bit offly. As he was laughing the first full sized overloaded dump truck rumbled toward the farm and backed out into the field.
The teacher knew right away what was in the truck, for he had used it and thus also smelled it as he did now for his whole farm career, although on the side of the truck were words and an acronym the teacher had not seen before but he immediately recognized it for what it was: Composted Cow Stuff, Big Size or CCS BS. You guessed it, manure the genuine article straight from the cows… assure me you know where manure comes from. I will concede that you do!
The teacher said “this is your secret? We all already know of manure.” The man restarted his laugh, which now most definitely sounded maybe more than a little off. Over the laugh the tomato teacher heard the approach of another rumbling that got louder and louder. The man pointed toward the sound and said "No, my secret is not just manure but load after load after load of manure! The more manure on the land the more tomatoes with no upward achievement limits!” As the dump truck, labeled CCS BS, dumped the load the man ordered “start shoveling for from now on the Big Size just keeps coming!!!!!”
Now the man’s laughter was without doubt off and that is probably a considerable understatement. BS truck after BS truck after BS truck after BS truck after BS truck after…. Sorry, I guess you get the picture huh? The teacher shoveled as fast as he could the man laughed as hard as he could. Soon the teacher realized the end was approaching, and not the end of the BS trucks but rather his end, for no matter how fast he shoveled, he and the now hysterically laughing man, as well as the entire farm, were slowly being swallowed by the ever growing, never slowing, steaming stinking magical pile of false secret which of course as you now see was really no secret (when used in moderation it works wonders, however this is without a doubt one of the most aromatic, problematic, and just plain horrific cases of if a little BS is good than a whole whole whole lot is better does not apply!). Soon, still shoveling, although now for, his life, the teacher realized he was doomed, the man too. And the thought occurred to him that it would be a long long time, maybe never, before this land would ever again produce another tomato. He hung his defeated head in resignation and despair at what was now unstoppable; his life was going to be ended by a huge pile of shi vers suddenly ran down his spine.
It was something else the man had said that gave him a brief flare of hope. He shouted to the man who was now up to his neck in manure, “surely you can save us, you know how; you have your “experience”!” The man suddenly stopped laughing, blinked repeated, looked back and forth several times from the teacher to the ever increasing and ever offending BS and seemed to comprehend for the first time that he was about to be buried in his secret, or take it to the grave as people like to say. Although I guess that’s not technically correct because in this case it was his secret that was taking him to the grave instead of the other way around. Or would it be that his secret was becoming his grave? But again I digress and apologize and attempt to move on.
For a brief moment a completely new and unwelcome thought cut through him, “maybe I was wrong about this.” Although it was not even actually a moment, really more like one quick spin of a single electron buried deep in an unused synapse of his superior, at least in his own unyielding opinion, brain. Even in these dire straits he refused to, or was incapable of even acknowledging that possibility, right to the very end. Anyway, the man and the teacher’s death were imminent, immediate, unavoidable and even as the more crude might suggest, the CCS BS was about to hit the fan.
The teacher was now in a panic again, begging, screaming “use your “experience” before it’s too late, you surely can’t take it with you!” The man was confused for a moment. Then a flicker of understanding crossed his face. This was then replaced with an expression of complete, thorough, total, aquesion to the unavoidable reality of what was happing. He spoke slowly and without emotion. “Your hope in my experience is as false as any could ever be. You are vastly overestimating and overvaluing my experience. Although, the reason you misinterpreted the value of my “experience” is because I misled you and I also overestimated and overvalued it myself. Now that I am forced to face and apparently soon to taste the facts, I no longer believe that eating a tomato sandwich qualifies me as having experience in this matter.”
And with those last words they were both covered, smothered, buried, entombed completely overtaken, both killed. Anyway you express it, it smells the same, their death stunk!
But it is not their death that is so painful to me, it is the death of all the young tomato plants and seeds and the knowledge of what we have allowed to be lost and what we have allowed to be destroyed. Is there hope that a spark remains, that our tomatoes may one day be great again? Maybe, but if we do not start that rebuilding process immediately and decisively it will never be great again. And we will have only ourselves to blame. So stand with me, stand with us, stand together, but most importantly DO NOT JUST STAND! The time for standing is over, the time for civility is over, whatever means necessary must now be employed to save our children’s education! err, I mean our tomatoes!

Min's picture

I saw it on Facebook.

It's a bit overwritten, but I appreciate the sentiment.

In other news, we now have a Democratic candidate for governor who is also a former teacher. w00t!


bizgrrl's picture

Loved it!

Loved it!

Hildegard's picture

I dunno, man. Took a lot of

I dunno, man. Took a lot of work and thought, though.

Rachel's picture

I couldn't get through it.

I couldn't get through it. Couldn't the author have made the point with a bit less verbiage?

Hildegard's picture

I read a short story in The

I read a short story in The New Yorker last year - forget the author's name, she's famous - that was written in "tweets" of 140 characters each. It was a long, drawn out story that was several pages long, but she told it in tweets. She actually first published it via Twitter, sending each successive tweet over a period of time. It was a cool international spy story with a tough woman protagonist.

It's an idea, anyway.

Mello's picture

For even more fun reading

Check out the MP article on Emerald...

fischbobber's picture

I like the part.....

I like the part where the scholars are reading a book called " There's a Monster Under My Bed."

Average Guy's picture

Not very good with my French

Does “vignette” mean “we’re writing this “’vignette’” under the influence of magic mushrooms and happy pills”?

A principal, teacher or anyone ever involved with the inside of a school did not write that.

Up Goose Creek's picture


Any good gardener will tell you that with too much nitrogen a tomato won't produce. All the energy goes to the leaves.

So this could have been a good fable even without the overwhelming piles.

fischbobber's picture


It appears to be written in a style reminiscent of that of the mid 1800's. It's one of those styles of which it is fair to say , you either like it or you don't. One gets to shaky ground when putting a value judgement and amateur critique to art; even amateur and bad art appeals to someone. Not everyone agrees on who the prettiest girl in class is, and some opinions and reasons might downright shock you.

I liked it. It reminded me of a short story I once read about a guy that went to an auction to buy three separate pieces of a dining room set for his wife and got caught up in an estate sale of fly rods. Part of the point of the style is how easily the human mind can get sidetracked from a noble goal and purpose to a situation of dire circumstance by not keeping one's reality firmly grounded in the here and now.

A writer called Edgar Allen Poe used this technique. You might have heard of him. Some people said it worked for him.

Hildegard's picture

I was thinking more HP

I was thinking more HP Lovecraft than Poe.

fischbobber's picture


I would be more familiar with Galsworthy, but my point was that it was not an uncommon technique.

Still, the style boils down, in a sense, to a matter of personal taste. Writing is a funny game, those willing to take risks and experiment with technique are often vilified and criticized. Yet, at least, in the sense of this piece, on this forum, that same criticism is what keeps a piece in the spotlight affording it more readers.

The beauty of a piece like this is that the risk does not lie in offending the senses of a publisher, but rather, in stretching the boundaries of the reader. The response is such that the writer will likely keep writing, and in my view, this is a good thing.

I had to google Lovecraft, BTW and was somewhat relieved to find I had merely lost in him the shuffle of time. I was never a huge follower of gothic horror. I just liked to read.

Pam Strickland's picture

I couldn't get through it.

I couldn't get through it. Sorry. It was way overdrawn.

WhitesCreek's picture

Why do I get the feeling that

Why do I get the feeling that most of the commenters are missing the point?

Average Guy's picture



fischbobber's picture

Forest and trees

It's a forest and trees thing and we've become an urban society.

Rachel's picture

I didn't mess the point, I

I didn't mess the point, I just ran out of patience with all long it took the writer to make it.

Michael's picture

So you "transitioned" to not

So you "transitioned" to not reading it?

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