I want to begin by telling a story, about something that happened to me a couple of years ago. This story, whilst apparently fairly trivial, casts, I believe, an important light upon society as a whole. The story allows us to see with greater clarity our true natures, and that of our fellow man. It allows, nay requires, us to look anew at everything we previously took ourselves unquestioningly to believe. Hell, it even causes a bored twentysomething who still lives with his parents to write in the manner of John bleedin’ Locke. It must be good!
Let’s crack on then, shall we?
The story begins, as all good stories must, on the Northern Line. This is what happened: I saw a bloke take a large tomato out of his rucksack and proceed to munch into it, unadorned, like an apple.
That’s it. That’s the whole story.
You know when you’re at a party and you’re all like ‘I’ve got this well groovy story’, and you start telling it, realising halfway through that actually the story is a bit shit, but you have already embarked upon it and there’s little you can do but to bring it to its sorry conclusion, apologise, and go home and cry? I guess that kind of just happened to me now.
So it’s not a great story. I do maintain, nonetheless, that it reveals some important things about humanity. For it is my solemn, deeply-held belief – indeed this belief is axiomatic to my entire belief structure – that the entirety of humanity can be bifurcated according to their response to the story. There are those people who will respond to the man’s eating a tomato like an apple, “yum, I do that all the time”, and there are those (like me) who will respond, “AHHHHHHH!!!! HE MUST BE SOME KIND OF MONSTER! BURN HIM! BURRRRRRRNNNNNNN HIM!” (There might be one or two misguided souls who think “yeh, it’s kinda weird, but let’s just let it lie, shall we? In the grand scheme of everything that is going on in the world, a commuter’s tomato-eating proclivities should not exactly feature high on the list of our concerns.” I take such people to be self-evidently not worth considering.)
So, in the light of our tomato-like-an-apple-eater, we have two options: for or against. I am of the burning, deep-seated belief that where you stand on this issue determines the full extent of your worth as a human being. So, what’s it to be? Which side are you on?