February 22, 2007

Coconut Talk

I don't like coconuts. There, I said it.

Oh, sure, I like some of what coconuts have to offer. I'm a big fan of coconut milk when it's applied to Thai green curry and other such edibles. On the other other hand, I despise the taste of coconut when it's in the form sprinkled on pastries. That stuff is horrid.

I know, I know: even uttering the word "coconut" is supposed to conjure images of tropical locales, sipping fruity beverages while lolling in a hammock strung between two palm trees, and a lazily rolling ocean surf tickling the ears. Fine. Whatever. You're entitled to your mental escapism.

For me, unfortunately, when I hear the word "coconut," I think of a musty basement and having my thumb smashed with a hammer. Hardly an idyllic coconut image.

As a child growing up here in Minnesota, a coconut, shall we say, was a bit of an oddity. A curiosity. Out of the ordinary. A tad alien.

So, when my neighbor friend, for whatever reason, managed to procure a coconut, it was the equivalent of finding a meteorite in the backyard. It led to one of those phone conversations that just sticks with you through the years due to its brevity and directness:

"Ryan, come on over. I have a coconut."

And so he did. It was a smallish sphere about the size of a volleyball, which looked like a ball of wood covered in spiny wooden hair. For some reason, my understanding of coconuts at that time was that they were considerably different than the odd item in front of me.

As most young males do when confronted with an unknown item, we decided the best course of action was probably to destroy the coconut. It wasn't just wanton destruction for destruction's sake, mind you. We somehow knew coconuts contained milk, and we wanted to sample that milk, so the logical means by which to get at the coconut milk was to smash it with a hammer.

So, we went down to the basement and took turns whacking at the coconut with a hammer. Unfortunately, since coconuts are round, it wasn't content to just sit still for its own destruction. If we hit the coconut even slightly off center, the mobile little nut would go skittering across the basement floor. So, we decided one of us would have to hold the dang thing still. You can probably guess who was the seleced coconut holder.

Now, I liked my neighbor friend just fine, but it occurred to me, despite having known him since I was one year old, I had never before actually seen him successfully hammer anything. And that realization came at about the same time he conducted a two-handed, come-from-behind-the-head hammer swing at the coconut, only to hit my left thumb so squarely, he couldn't have hit it so perfectly again in a million years and a billion tries.

My thumb, not surprisingly, was not in any way prepared for the pinpoint hammer assualt, and it made its displeasure known by shooting forth a geyser of blood directly into my neighbor friend's face, which of course caused both of us to start shrieking like banshees.


NEIGHBOR FRIEND: Eeeeeeeeeeee!

ME: Ooooooooooooo!


COCONUT: . . .

We finally collected ourselves enough to run upstairs, where we could continue shrieking, hopefully within the earshot of one of my neighbor friend's parental units. In this case, his mother arrived and tended to my squashed thumb, which a few weeks later would lose its protective thumb nail. Apparently, the thumb nail had decided, in the wake of such unwarrented hammer abuse, maybe my thumb wasn't the best place to be, after all.

As for the coconut, the mother was able to crack that puppy open for us and get at the milk, which we all tasted at the same time, only to realize too late that the milk was putridly sour.

So, yeah, coconuts. . . totally not worth it.

Posted by Ryan at February 22, 2007 01:42 PM | TrackBack

I like saying coconut because it makes me think of balls dipped in chocolate.

But then, I love coconuts.

You would not do well on Survivor if you cannot love the coconut.

BTW, nice aim with your squashed thumb blood spurt!

Posted by: Erik at February 22, 2007 02:50 PM

the shredded dried kind will ruin any dessert for me, i agree. but i really like them fresh and raw, and in curry. does take a lot of machete skill to get one open though. poor thumb.

Posted by: amy.leblanc at February 23, 2007 06:37 PM

The Internet really is a wonderful resource for stories about people injuring themselves in amusing ways.

Posted by: Stephen Rider at February 25, 2007 06:03 PM

Stephen, you should seek out the story about the guy who puked and shit himself senseless at a restaurant and had to basically bathe himself off in a toilet stall while restaurant staff went and got him new clothes. It's a laugh riot.

Posted by: Ryan at February 26, 2007 09:11 AM
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