I’ve gathered you here today to discuss an item of grave importance, something that has been on the minds of many during these troubled times, an issue so great that it may indeed have a direct bearing on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness:
How to pick a ripe watermelon.
OK, maybe it’s not that big a deal. Life and liberty probably aren’t at stake here, although you could make an argument that a really good watermelon is included in the pursuit of happiness.
That expression, by the way, always looked hilariously misspelled to me when I was a kid and we paraded past a copy of the Declaration of Independence on our way to the school lunchroom. That fancy-shmancy 18th-century “s” always made the word “pursuit” look like “purfuit.” It didn’t pay to dwell on it, through. One random “purfuit” running through your brain during lunch could make you laugh, and then you’d have milk shooting out of your nose right when Christine Reade was looking at you. Not good. Not good at all.
But back to choosing a good watermelon.
I get asked about this all the time. I don’t know why. I guess there’s something about me that says, “Here’s a man who knows his watermelons.” Probably because I look like I swallowed one.
I know three basic watermelon selection protocols: the thump, the crack, and the spot check.
My dad believed strongly in the thump method. He would go through an entire bin of Charleston grays, rapping them all with his knuckles until he found one that sounded just the right note — a slightly hollow B-flat. Which, coincidentally, was the same note sounded when he used the thump technique on my skull.
I have tried this method, but I have to thump my head first to get the right note, and after two or three tries I have a headache and don’t want watermelon anymore.
My brother uses the crack method. You lean on the watermelon; and if it makes a quiet cracking sound, it’s ready. You have to be careful about this one. A loud cracking sound means you leaned too hard and you’re buying that melon whether you want it or not.
Here’s an idea: Try this method at the supermarket, and let’s see how long before the produce manager kicks you out of the store.
This leaves the spot-check method. You turn the melon over and look for the spot where it sat on the ground. If it’s white, don’t buy it. If it’s yellow, do. A white spot means a green melon. A yellow spot means the melon was on the ground a good long time and is ripe and sweet.
And if there is no spot, put down the eggplant and get your eyes tested.
I’ve decided to go with the what-the-heck method. You pull one out of the bin and say, “What the heck, maybe it’ll be ripe.”
By my reckoning, you have just as good a chance this was as you do with thumping, cracking and checking, and as a bonus, it turns a watermelon into a Christmas present. You never really know what’s inside until you open it.
It might be a wonderful surprise, or it might be socks and underwear. You take your chances.
And if you hit the jackpot, a good watermelon is well worth the purfuit.
Mike Redmond is an author, journalist, humorist and speaker. Send comments to email@example.com.