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What Vegetable Are You Most Like, and Why? January 13, 2015

Posted by michaelnjohns in Uncategorized.
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Yesterday I insinuated there is a family joke about how I should have been a vegetable, according to some doctors.  Which brings me to today’s amusement:

What vegetable are you most like, and why?  I read this real question on a list of potential random questions a recruiter might ask, and I laughed my head off.  These kind of questions are designed to throw a candidate off their normal thought process and answer in a way that is out of the standard.  If you’re stumped by this question, there are questions that are even worse.  You need to have a brain that quickly steps out of the common sheep answering strategies, and thinks at random.  But randomly thinking is something I’m frequently accused of doing.  Perhaps it’s true, because I immediately had an answer for the question.

Some people would answer they are like a carrot- they help others see things clearly, they are well-rooted, excellent when mixed with other vegetables, able to be fashioned into any shape or size depending on the required role, and their leaves and stems are green and fresh from drawing inspiration from the light of those who are above them.  It’s a smart answer  But honestly, that’s not me. [Was a rant about former employers deleted here, or not?  You’ll have to decide for yourselves as I’m not going to confess to anything.]

Several years ago, my kids’ favorite movie was Shrek.  And then, to our delight, there were a series of movies and film shorts based on the characters further development.  My answer to the question comes from the first movie.

I am like an onion.

Hurt me once, shame on you.  You probably won’t get that opportunity again. I’ll raise an emotional stink, whether you can smell it or not, and layer up to make sure you don’t get another shot.  Some people who are in my life are aware how hard my scar tissue is.  Once I raise shields, good luck with that plasma blast.  And when I am bruised I’m not very useful in the recipe, it’s going to taste bad.

To begin with, I don’t trust people very readily, so I protect myself with emotional layers.  My feelings run very strong, so when I don’t like you I really don’t like you, and when I like you, I really like you.  And if I love you, well, you’d have to do something really really really bad before I changed my mind about that.  I’ve never decided not to love someone before, so I’m not sure what it would take.  I have decided not to like one person.  They were connected to a friend of mine, and they weren’t very nice at the start so I had to make up my mind for myself.  It didn’t take long before I decided my friend was right.  I don’t like the person, I’m glad my friend is free.  The other person was just bad.  Liars are just the children of their father, the father of lies, and they’d have to fix the lie and make things right before I’d forgive them.  Even then I might not let them close again.  But sadly, none of the liars in my past ever even tried to make anything right.  They just let me write them off like bad debts, and they were probably clueless about what they did and how badly it hurt me.

Speaking about my own life, I know it isn’t the Christian thing to be so unforgiving.  But even some who are closest to me are watching me fight to figure out what to do about what they did or said to me that hurt.  Because of their status in my life, I am obligated to forgive, but it’s not an easy process.  I hope they won’t hurt me again, but their habits are just like mine: old habits die hard, the bruising continues, and I really dislike it.  It makes my recipe taste bad.  I bet some people aren’t even aware of how they hurt me.  And I know some who know it but won’t try to fix things on their end, so that’s just a bruise I’ll have to deal with on my own.  It’s all kind of up to me anyway.

I express myself in ways that aren’t always well-received.  And even when I express myself well, sometimes I can make people cry.  I’m handy in your cooking arsenal though: you find out how good a friend I am when life hits us with sharp edges and heats up- it brings out my best.  I’m strong and enduring and I can be sweet.  I’m almost always useful but when I’m not, I like to be left out of the recipe.  I’m just as happy with whichever choice is made.  Leave me alone, or let me in, either way it’s fine.  I like to be included and to offer the good things I bring with me, but if I’m not needed, it’s fine.

Some people might say I’m more like garlic, or celery, or maybe even a tomato.  A tomato, is that a fruit or a vegetable?  The debate goes on.  Maybe I’m not even a vegetable at all, I’m more like an egg.  Hard but fragile shell, good stuff in the middle that you have to cook and season to make it taste good…

I think the onion label fits.  But am I right?  If I were a  vegetable, what kind do you think I’d be most like?  And what about you?

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