in the 21st Century--Hold The Veggies
by Mad Dog
The 21st century
has brought us such modern wonders as disposable floor wipes, the
Millennium Wheel, and Survivor, but it’s time for something
truly revolutionary. Like growing fish instead of vegetables.
||It’s spring, and all
over the country people are digging up the back yard so they can plant a
garden. They’re sowing zucchini seeds, dropping spindly tomato plants
in little holes, and feeling good because they can finally justify
having paid way too much for those overalls at The Gap. You know, the
ones they won’t wear in the garden because, hey, they might get dirty.
But really, growing vegetables? How passé. This
is what homo sapiens have been planting since the Neolithic age when
some 10,000 BC pre-Einstein realized he could be a gatherer without
having to leave the comfort of his own caveyard, leaving the hunting to
those Neanderthals who moved into the Oog’s old cave. That will teach
them to drag down the property values.
Now here we are, 12,000 years later, still growing
the same old things they did back then. Sure we now have varieties that
are disease resistant, drought resistant, and taste resistant, but
that’s hardly befitting this, the 21st century. Remember, we waited
years for this century to kick in. We held huge welcoming parties. We
shot off lots of fireworks. We invested massive amounts of time, money,
and neurotic energy worrying about a computer glitch that never
happened. And probably most trying of all, we had to put up with more
“End of the Century”, “The Century’s Top-100”, and “Best and
Worst of the Century” articles than anyone should ever have to see in
four dharmic lifetimes. And what do we have to show for it? Sure it’s
brought us such modern wonders as disposable floor wipes, the Millennium
Wheel, and Survivor, but it’s time for something truly
revolutionary. Like growing fish at home instead of vegetables.
Once they get the
technique perfected you’ll be able to buy a box of Mrs. Paul’s fish
sticks, soak them in Miracle Fish-Gro™ for a week, and end up with a
fish large enough to feed the family for a week.
||I’m not talking about
raising them in ponds in the back yard. No, I’m talking about growing
them in the kitchen. Or better yet, in the laboratory if you happen to
have one of those hanging around the house. Yes, 21st century home
gardening will involve taking fish filets and turning them into whole
Thanks to NASA, the same wonderful people who
brought us Tang, pens that write upside down, and space-age polymers
that fuel never-ending infomercials, this might soon be possible.
They’ve been sponsoring research which has resulted in a scientist at
Tuoro College in Bay Shore, NY successfully taking strips of goldfish
filet, soaking them in a solution made from extract of cow’s blood,
and losing his appetite for two weeks. In the process the filets grew by
Once they get the technique perfected you’ll be
able to buy a box of Mrs. Paul’s fish sticks, soak them in Miracle
Fish-Gro™ for a week, and end up with a fish large enough to feed the
family for a week. All they’ll need to do then is work out a way to do
the same thing with the packet of Create-A-Sauce that comes with it
and you’ll never have to learn how to use the microwave to cook
Since the market for goldfish filets is, well,
nonexistent, and NASA probably doesn’t want to launch a marketing
campaign to convince people to start eating them (“Goldfish. The Other
White Fish.”), they’re planning on shifting their efforts into
growing something more useful. Like macaroni and cheese. Just kidding.
Actually the next step is to try to grow chicken, pork, beef, and lamb.
Imagine being able to soak a cocktail wiener for a few days and ending
up with a foot-long hot dog. Or buying some chicken nuggets and growing
them into, well, bigger nuggets. This is the stuff science fiction
springs from. Well, unless it’s a new Star Wars movie and then
it springs from the same old tired story as the last one.
Don’t even think
about begging at my door because I have petri dishes sitting around the
kitchen filled with petite filets which are growing into T-bone steaks
and slices of bacon becoming racks of spare ribs.
||While turning sardines
into swordfish would be a neat trick, especially for the sushi industry,
this isn’t the first time it’s been done. Almost 2,000 years ago a
Jewish carpenter from Bethlehem supposedly took five loaves of bread and
two fish and fed 5,000 people with it. And had twelve baskets of
leftovers which his disciples took home in doggie bags. That is, after
they spent an hour arguing about how to split the check and how much of
a tip they should leave Jesus.
In between then and now, others have thought about
ways to accomplish this feat. Like me, for example. They tell me when I
was very young my father asked what I wanted to plant in the garden and
I said a hot dog tree. At least that’s the story my parents made up
one night when they were bored and trying to come up with funny
anecdotes which would amuse their friends while embarrassing my brothers
and I for the rest of our lives. They did a damned good job. Of course I
got straightened out when my father explained that hot dogs don’t grow
on trees. Hey, how was I to know they grow underground like potatoes,
peanuts, and moles?
But soon I’ll have the last laugh. And when I
do, don’t even think about begging at my door because I have petri
dishes sitting around the kitchen filled with petite filets which are
growing into T-bone steaks and slices of bacon becoming racks of spare
ribs. Not unless you have a bag full of tomatoes and zucchinis from your
old fashioned garden. Hey, I might be willing to make a little trade.
©2002 Mad Dog
Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
These columns appear in better newspapers across the country.
Read them while waiting for the leg of lamb to grow big enough to
have for dinner.