THE CHERRY BOWL

I never expected to find a metaphor for life in a cherry.  Somehow I believed that unless it was a Vegas-style manifestation replete with chaser lights and free drinks, it didn’t count. 

I’ve heard life described as a bowl of them, but attributed it to the songwriters’ hangover from bathtub gin.  Henderson, DeSylva and Brown wrote it in 1931, a time when you couldn’t even legally drink away the pain of the Depression.

People are queer, they’re always crowing, scrambling and rushing about;
Why don’t they stop someday, address themselves this way?
Why are we here? Where are we going? It’s time that we found out.
We’re not here to stay; we’re on a short holiday.

Life is just a bowl of cherries.
Don’t take it serious; life’s so mysterious.
You work, you save, you worry so,
But you can’t take your dough when you go, go, go.
So keep repeating it’s the berries,
The strongest oak must fall,
The sweet things in life, to you were just loaned
So how can you lose what you’ve never owned?
Life is just a bowl of cherries,
So live and laugh at it all.

They found humor midst global financial disaster, dust bowls and looming world war.  Were they drunk or just resigned to their fate?   It was a strange time to be alive, destructive and oddly creative, but not an era one usually associates with happy memories. 

I’ve heard life described as cherry pits as Erma Bombeck wrote in 1978, not especially a terrible time unless you factor in disco and trade embargos.  I often wonder if the malaise of that time wasn’t due to lack of dopamine, since it was constantly squandered in coke binges.  What did they have to bitch about then, that they couldn’t find their dealer?

I’ve heard now that life is either cherry or not, depending on outward appearance and social status.  Does that mean that the lumpy, discolored fruit is less tasty than the pristine?  If we must douse ourselves with pesticide and be plucked from the tree before we’re ripe just to meet shipping and industry standards, we’ll never really know who or what we are.

So what is life, a gluttonous feast of fruit or a dental nightmare of broken teeth?  Perhaps it’s not what it is, but how you approach it that matters.  If the flesh is sweet and the pit hard, you must bite gently or risk self-damage.

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