Columns

2018.02.21 Getting to the core of the issue

By DAVID GREEN

I returned inside from the Observer porch the other day and proudly told my colleague, Kym, that my apple core brushed against the back of the rim and dropped inside.

Kym said that if she out-lives me, she will make sure that my apple core activities are mentioned in my obituary.

“He enjoyed throwing his apple cores into the City’s waste receptacle while standing on the porch of the Disturber office.”

“He maintained a 73 percent shooting average for tossing an apple core into the City’s waste receptacle.”

“One of his true pleasures in life was to stand on the porch of the Observer and toss an apple core into the City’s waste receptacle.”

Kym is quite familiar with my game because I often make a morning report, whether it’s the disappointment of failing to adequately check the wind or the joy of a perfect “swoosh,” as if an apple core makes a swooshing sound as it enters the can. I suppose it does if you’re close and attentive.

I eat an apple three or four mornings a week. It’s generally an organic Gala or a Fuji. Both have solid, well-developed stems that give me adequate hand control for the task. 

Sometimes I’m just like any kid at the free-throw line on a Friday night. I don’t concentrate on what I’m doing. I don’t first check out conditions (like whether or not the opposing fans are going to scream just as I let the core go). I don’t get the correct grasp on the stem. I have a weak follow-through. 

There are so many ways to fail, and I do at least 25 percent of the time, probably more than that.

It seems that maybe I should be more pleased with the shot that I made Wednesday morning, when the core struck the back of the rim and slid in, or that time the previous week when it hit the front of the rim and toppled over and in. But I’m not.

The successes that involve the rim are just a little disturbing to me because of what generally happens: the core splits and I’m left to pick up the pieces from the pavement of North Street. I far prefer a clean shot, the tiny “whoosh” of success.

I have just now encountered some information that has shaken my mind and could alter not only my mornings but my entire life that will eventually be summarized in an obituary. Will it change to this? “From the age 67 onward, he was fond of eating his apple cores.”

That doesn’t seem possible. I think it was our friend David “Willy Mow” Wilamowski who always ate his apple cores, or maybe it was David “The Wombat” Rafferty. Maybe one learned from the other. I wonder if they ate egg shell and corn cob and so many other items that most of us consider waste.

I was reminded of those guys this morning after I was introduced to a concept by James Hamblin who writes for the Atlantic magazine—as least he did in 2013. 

Hamblin suggests that the apple core doesn’t really exist. It’s a ghost that only becomes apparent when an apple is eaten like everybody eats apples, I suppose.

I just bite into the side with no particular thought about it. I do have some thought after the eating gets going. I have to spread my bites fairly evenly around the fruit to maintain balance. I’m eating while I’m working and I often need two hands. I take a bite, then balance the apple on its base somewhere on my desk while I work more efficiently. Then I take another bite. If I’m not careful, the misshapen fruit will tip over into the dust and the whatnot.

Hamblin points out that if you eat an apple from the bottom up, the core doesn’t exist. It’s only a figment of society’s imagination.

Hamblin: “If each of us eats an apple a day, as we all do, and we are all wasting 30 percent of our apples at $1.30 per pound, that's about $42 wasted per person per year—which is $13.2 billion annually, thrown in the trash or fed to pigs. With that kind of money, we could rebuild the Gulf Coast after a hurricane the size of Rita or buy an entirely new Mark Zuckerberg.”

I just did it. The eater acquires a different view of the handsome display of seeds. I ate a couple seeds and removed a few. A rookie can handle only a limited amount of the bitter cyanide from the seeds. 

But I did it and it was easy. I even ate the stem. And now what am I going to do for morning entertainment?