November-December 2014 … The Global Online Magazine of Arts, Information & Entertainment … Volume 10, Number 6
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Mark Levy/Casual Observer

adam and eve

Was it really an apple? (Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1526 CE)

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Life as a Pomegranate

by Mark Levy

The other day I had the surreal pleasure of speaking with a pomegranate. This may sound fantastic, but suspend your disbelief for a few minutes. After all, stranger things than talking pomegranates have happened — at least to me.

My new friend, the talking pomegranate, suggested I could call him Pomeroy.

“Bein’ a pomegranate ain’t as simple or as relaxing as you might expect,” Pomeroy said. “Oh sure, I’m grown in warm climates. I soak up the sun like a movie star and, basically, I dig the weather of Persia. I’m one of those entities that don’t object to climate change. I think you call them Republicans.”

“Whoa,” I said. “Don’t get started with me.”

“Well, dude,” Pomeroy continued, “the more the climate heats up, the more you’ll see of me and my relatives, right up till our planet is reduced to cinders. That’s all I’m sayin’.”

I changed the subject. “Isn’t it true the rind of the pomegranate fruit and the bark of the tree can control diarrhea, dysentery, and intestinal parasites?” I asked. “Maybe the College of Gastroenterology should adopt a pomegranate as its mascot.”

“Darned right,” said Pomeroy. “You sound like you’re speaking from experience. You probably know my fruit can also treat hemorrhoids, but slatherin’ up hemorrhoids with pomegranate juice results in colorful underwear — a small price to pay for being able to ride a bicycle, don’t ya think?”

“Agreed,” I said, shifting uncomfortably in my chair. “I’ve heard you’re also a powerful source of antioxidants.”

“Believe it, bro,” Pomeroy said, his color turning even a deeper red. “I’m the best. Most people wouldn’t know an antioxidant from an oxymoron. Punicalagin compounds are the major components responsible for our antioxidant benefits and they’re found only in us pomegranates. Beat that.”

“I’ll try to remember ‘punicalagin’ for Scrabble games.”

“Whatever,” Pomeroy said. “And while we’re on the subject, not to brag, but just sayin’: a glass of pomegranate juice has more antioxidants than red wine, green tea, blueberries, or cranberries. We not only lower cholesterol, but also lower blood pressure and we help melt atherosclerosis. We’ve even been linked to longevity, even immortality, according to some ancient Chinese witch doctors. Did I tell you when squeezed into eye drops, our juice can slow development of cataracts?”

“That would help explain your sense of superiority,” I said under my breath.

“Hey, buddy, I’ve got a pretty tough skin, or haven’t you noticed? Now that you can sit comfortably and see clearly, you might be interested to know we can even help firm up sagging breasts (heh heh). And speaking of a subject near and dear to our hearts and other organs, we might help prevent or combat prostate cancer and erectile dysfunction, which is especially valuable if you’re going to be immortal. I mean, without sex, living forever would feel like a very long time.”

“I can only imagine,” I said.

“I don’t think you can, sparky.”

“It sounds like you have a pretty enviable life,” I said. “So why are you acting like the toughest guy in the orchard?”

“I’ll tell you, my fruit-talking twerp. The thing that really fries my rind is confusion with the lowly, boring, common apple. The Persians got it right. They believed Eve actually plucked a pomegranate — not an apple — from the tree of knowledge in the Garden of Eden. In fact, we pomegranates are sometimes known as Chinese apples. My scientific name, punica granatum, even comes from Medieval Latin pōmum ‘apple’ and grānātum ‘seeded.’

“And even though Greeks break us open at wedding celebrations because we symbolize prosperity and, of course, fertility, life isn’t all, well, peachy. My seeds are encased in arils or arials and I’m squished among hundreds of other seeds in my colony, man, while I ripen. Sometimes 1,400 seeds are pressed against each other in each 5” bulb. Sardines have nothing on pomegranate seeds. Can you imagine? Well, I guess you can, since you’re about to cut me open and yank my seeds right out of my membranes.”

I didn’t want to interrupt Pomeroy. He was on a roll.

“When we’re processed to make juice and to make liquid flavoring for alcoholic drinks,” he continued, “we’re pushed and flattened and squeezed mercilessly under unbearable pressure, until our arils rupture and burst open and our juice spurts out. It’s a barbaric way to extract our essence, if you ask me; I thought that technique went out with ancient Egyptians’ method of extracting brains of cadavers through their noses. That’s called excerebration, by the way, chump. And I dare you to use that word in polite conversation.”

I felt badly about splitting open the fruit, but by this time I was really hungry. The discussion with Pomeroy the proud pomegranate gave me a lot to… um… chew on.

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About the author:

Mark Levy is a regular contributor of the Casual Observer column to Ragazine.CC. You can read more about Mark in “About Us.”

 

 

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