The Russian cucumber problem continues to plague me and my thoughts, not to mention my dignity and my sense of self-worth [“No, Russia Is Not Trying to Infiltrate Your Home Garden,” June 28, 2017]. The reason is that my culinary standards lead me in a direction that doesn’t allow any retreat from advances I have made down the path toward vegetable fulfillment and robust health and wellness.
I relish turning my compost pile, especially enjoying the earthy fragrance of decomposing vegetable matter that rises with the steam that the turning releases. I thrill to the sight of fat, squiggly worms that I turn up with the fork. I keep Robert Rodale’s laminated picture in the front pocket of my bib overalls so I can glance at his bearded visage whenever I need support.
What’s worse is the fact that now I have discovered and cannot hide my delight and enjoyment of Yugoslavian finger squash and the socialist tendencies that result from eating the delicious flesh of this Eastern European cucurbit.
I find myself agreeing wholeheartedly with thinkers and writers like Noam Chomsky and Chris Hedges, only to have to stifle the brightening effects of freed-up thoughts unbuckling across my brow when I meet up with the goateed, ball-capped, beer-bellied buddies I bump shoulders with down at the skeet-shooting range.
Both of these vegetables have created such inner conflicts and lurching turns in my personal viewpoints that I need to admit to becoming more and more leftist in the way I see, hear, think and feel. I can’t reveal who I voted for, but let’s just say that the area where I live is such a red zone that the deep blush from the shame I feel over the thoughts I hide would not show up among the faces or the necks at any public assembly.
Short of fleeing to Canada, where I can practice my yoga routine with Justin and friends, I don’t know where to turn. I thought about going over your head and writing to Dear Abby after you so brusquely brushed off my last appeal, but I really don’t trust the wily sorts that stalk the halls of the Fake Corporate Media (FCM), so I am once again dumping my dilemma on the doorstep of the advice provider of one of the last free magazines around.
Yours in hiding,
A Slithering Lurker Under Red Zone Rocks (Location Undisclosed)
I apologize for any brusqueness in my first response, and I think I know why you might have found my response to be lacking. You’re mixing your questions in with some frankly beautiful prose about earth and gardening—so much so that I’m sure I didn’t pick up on your real question in your first letter.
I can admit that I got so lost in your veggie talk this time around that my editor actually sent back my first response, and I thank him for pointing me to your underlying question: Your politics are evolving, and you’re worried that you’re not fitting in with your circle of friends anymore. You are understandably concerned about being called out or ostracized, but it’s getting to where you can’t hide it anymore, and it’s even manifesting itself in your garden.
If you and yours talk politics all the time, I bet it can get pretty uncomfortable and downright alienating to be the only blue speck in that sea of red. Personally, I’ve cut ties with people over their political views, so I commend you for staying quiet and hanging tough. You don’t have to admit you didn’t vote for their guy, but you also don’t have to sit back while they trash Maxine Waters or the media or teen activism or what-have-you.
It’s up to you if you wanna have a big leftist coming-out party or quietly start calling out your buddies, but you could also just cultivate a second group of friends who share your views. You love gardening and yoga, and that’s a good place to start as far as seeking out like-minded people. You’ve got your skeet-shooting crew, so go on out and find your locally grown, Vipassana homies.