I like to think that when life gives you lemons, you should swap them out for pickles instead. These eye-squinting, sour-tasting, throat-parching yellow balls of citrus were enough to make me want to chuck them right back at life. I don’t want your nasty lemons! I almost screamed as we passed yet another lemonade stand. In all my 8 years of life I had never before seen so many of the same vendors trying to sell over-priced food and bottled up fun to sun-burnt tourists, their fanny packs jingling with cash; welcome to America’s First Theme Park. Truthfully, however, I had come to Knott’s Berry Farm for one thing and one thing alone: The Ultimate Pickle.
Tales of the legendary entity had been sung throughout the lands, yet when they reached my wandering ears I could hardly believe it. Taller than a grown man the pickle rose, each lump on its ridged body built like that of a bodybuilder. The juices cascaded down its body, a grass green river, anointed by the great food gods above. Frost lingered on its voluptuous form like a sheen of glistening snow, and when you bit into it, oh, the sound! As clear as thunder and as crisp as a foot stepping into a mighty pile of leaves with each delectable bite. With all this, it was no wonder that I too was anxious to try for myself such a phenomenon, for surely, it must be one of the seven great wonders of this world.
I remember the smug look on the server boy’s face as I walked up to him and pleaded for the prized pickle. He asked for money first, of course, as any true businessman would, and went back to fetch it. I remember hearing the sudden, piercing “pop!” of a can as thrilling as that of bubble wrap under pressure, and the enchanting pitter-patter of juice dripping as lulling as the rain. But most of all, I remember my look of disappointment when the boy handed me a deformed green lump. The thing that lay before me was no more than an inch longer and an inch wider than any normal pickle, in fact, I dare say the pickles back home looked better than the fabled lie in my hand. They must have made a mistake, I kept telling myself. For surely my small stature or tiny hands must’ve confused them. But, after a while, I slumped my shoulders and with a resigned huff, threw the foul thing away and walked away. I promised myself that if I ever went back there, I’d stick with the lemons.