There I was, just minding my own business when, from out of nowhere, this guy jumps me with a bag full of zucchini.
“If you know what’s good for you,” he says in a low gruff voice, “you’ll take this zucchini and keep your mouth shut!”
Then, he stuffs a recipe for zucchini bread into my shirt pocket and like Zorro, mysteriously disappears into the night.
“Damn!” I muttered to myself, “This zucchini thing is getting out of hand. That’s the fourth time this week.”
Once again it’s that time of year when every gardeners thoughts turn to zucchini – and what to do with too many damned zucchini. If only it didn’t all turn up at the same time (Sunday, July 28th, 4:23 pm).
It’s true! Within the last week, several friends and neighbours have tried to slip me the zucchini. It’s as if every gardener in town is searching to find a home for their surplus vegetables.
I have often wondered why grocery stores would even bother to sell tomatoes or zucchini in the middle of the summer. Truth is, at this time of year, most people could merely yell out of their kitchen windows, “I need a zucchini!!!” (This is not legal in some states) and be inundated with hordes of well-intentioned zucchini donors.
In the past, my wife and I were often victims of these menacing, vegetable-pushing people; but this year we’ve actually joined their ranks. Now, we routinely abandon baskets of garden produce on front porches, ring the doorbell and then run away. We justify our peculiar behaviour with the belief that our zucchinis will protect our friends from the “tomato people” – the only competition and sworn enemy of the zucchini people.
In our family, my wife Marie is the expert gardener and the one primarily responsible for our vegetable dilemma. It is a blessing that I am not as agriculturally gifted as she. True. Each year, I plant something only to watch it die a slow, miserable, shriveled up death. For reasons that defy logical explanation, and not counting the mold that grew in my refrigerator at university, I am totally inept when it comes to growing things.
Still, last summer, despite my ineptitude, Marie and I successfully grew too many tomatoes. We had far, far too many tomatoes. We had tomatoes for salads, tomatoes for sauces, tomatoes for paste, tomatoes for stuffing, tomatoes for door stops and yes, even tomatoes for throwing. It was endless.
Now this summer, with all the rain we’ve been experiencing, we have an even greater gardening achievement/problem – only this time its zucchini.
In fact, we were having trouble keeping up with our bountiful zucchini until one night last week when something very weird happened. While lying in bed staring at the ceiling and contemplating what to do with all of our zucchini (keep your minds out of the gutter), all of a sudden Marie turned to me with an eerie, black-hearted, almost villainous look in her eyes.
“I got it! If we can’t eat them all or give them away, we’ll just randomly abandon them on peoples front porches and run!”
“Yeah!” I agreed maliciously. “If we can’t give them away, we’ll force our zucchinis on an unsuspecting world”. Ah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! (Evil laugh)”
It was then that I realized that Marie and I had descended into the dark sinister world of the zucchini people.
A sober thought occurred briefly, “Isn’t there some kind of government funded aid agency that could charge us with improper treatment of vegetables? This is Canada after all. Couldn’t we get into trouble with the law?” I sniveled meekly.
“Probably.” Marie responded. “But, only if we get caught. We’ll wear clever disguises and do it under cover of night. They’ll never know it was us. Ah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! (More evil laughing).”
So the next evening, like garden ghouls in the night, we began sneaking up the driveways of friends and neighbours, only to drop our mischievous, contemptible and repugnant (not to mention voluminous) produce on their front stoops and then run away.
Some caught on to our cunning deception and tried to discourage us leaving small amounts of their own garden output around their yards. Others, in order to deter our wily clandestine behaviour, greeted us at their doors wearing ring necklaces of cherry tomatoes begging us to cease and desist.
Now, so desperately overrun with produce, I’ve been having this re-occurring nightmare. Waking in the night screaming and drenched with sweat, I dream that I’m driving around in the middle of the night with a trunk full of twisted, odious zucchinis. With my car so overloaded with vegetation the back end sags dangerously low to the road, an alert cop notices, flashes his lights and pulls me over.
Nervously, I roll down my window” “Was I doing something wrong officer?” I creek malevolently.
“Sir,” the officer replies. “Please get out of your car and open your trunk.” I then comply, only to reveal a massive trunk load of zucchinis. “Sir, you are under arrest. We have laws that protect people from the likes of you.”
The cop reaches for his radio and calls for assistance. “I got another one of these hit-and-run zucchini nuts. I’ll need some backup and a truck – over!”
Next thing I know, I’m in prison exchanging zucchini bread recipes and slow dancing with some hairy, freakish oddity known as Buzz. It’s really quite frightening.