Paul Parillo Green Olives and a Pre-Mid-Life Crisis*

There are many headlines written in a person’s life that help tell the story of one’s ascension into maturity. Whether it's marriage, or a child - or marriage to a child - these seminal events help define who we are at a unique and foreboding time in life. I’m not married, nor do I have children, but for me, this moment came the day I discovered green olives and recognized a pre-mid-life crisis. And since I’m a fan of destroying the literary boundaries of non-sequiturs, let me explain the correlation.

Once upon a time, a friend of mine and I had an insanely pointless debate on the causes behind an individual’s palette development. I, being the stubborn fool, wouldn’t budge on the notion that our taste buds died off, allowing for a more varied acceptance. He held steadfast, poignantly suggesting that over time, our tongues developed a keener sense of flavour, thus accepting new and different tastes. About a month ago I tried a green olive for the 300th time in my life, and if you can believe it, the bitter and unforgiving flavours that once made my face cringe, became robust with mouthwatering sensations.

It was then that I recognized I had entered into the realm of the adult – my palette’s syntax had altered its algorithm and I was left wondering why, or how.

On the surface it doesn’t sound too troubling, but like most theories on life, it’s generally accepted to propose that things tend to slip by, even while you’re blinking. Next thing you know, the dinner parties I attend will have less liquor, eleven o’clock will become a late night, and my joints will ache due to an unknown ailment or some kind of debilitating depression. What does one call a pre-mid-life crisis – a 1/3 life crisis perhaps? I’m at an age where I can’t look back, and the only resolution is to prepare for a life I forgot was on its way; but just like the green olives, maybe I’ll get used to it, and maybe the flavours of maturity will travel down my throat, smoothly and unnoticed.    

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