Thursday, March 21, 2013

Peanuts, Literal and Figurative

I saw him walking towards my car. He looked young and had a face that needed shaving for a while. He had a bandanna tied to his head that had a very prominent "om" written on it. He was wearing spectacles, and had the piercing gaze of an intellectual, fresh out of school, and still without a job. To me, perhaps, he would have qualified as a hippie, or a writer, or perhaps -- both.

But at the moment, he just looked like a homeless guy, looking for a handout.

This was not a good part of town, and I was planning to flee it as soon as the red light turned green. As the man came close to my car, and smiled expectantly at me, I rolled my window down. My wife used to caution me about giving money to homeless people, since they were known to blow it on drugs.

I had a nice large pack of salted peanuts on the front seat. I picked it up and handed it to him. He looked shocked. The conversation that followed was quite interesting.

"But these are peanuts!"


"No man, you see, these are just peanuts!"

"So I see. Perhaps, I should know, since I handed these to you, right?!"

"No, no, you see, you don't understand. When I said that these were peanuts for the first time, I meant literally. When I said it for the second time, I meant figuratively. As in not much stuff, man!"

I always mixed up my literals and figuratives, and so, I smiled at him, and said, "Thanks for the education, I really need to improve my English."

"You might want to start by not trying to hire a monkey for a teacher, man!"

"What do you mean?"

"Well, you know! They say that if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys! And you sure don't want to learn from a monkey, man."

The light had turned green. I yelled, "Enjoy your peanuts!" and drove away.

After driving for a mile or so, I decided that if I ever wrote seriously and regularly, it would have something to do with peanuts. And, that once in a while, I would bring the monkeys into my writing.

Literally, and figuratively.

No comments:

Post a Comment