I think the word for you, ma’am, is “cornhole.”

19 Jul

Actually, ma'am, you might want to rethink how you're handling the corn.

Sunday morning I had just approached the corn table at the farmer’s market when an older woman muscled in next to me with her basket.

I sized up the corn and selected an ear, peeling a small bit of the husk down about half an inch so I could look at the kernels.

“You know, doing that dries it out,” the woman told me.

I had headphones in so I pretended I couldn’t hear her, bagged the ear and did the same thing with another ear.

She started speaking again, only more loudly. “You can get the same result by doing this –” she started working her hands around the ear in a gesture that I’m pretty sure could start a fist fight in New York. Or end your career as a sign language interpreter.

I’m generally polite, and would normally accept someone’s tip with a bashful smile or light apology.  But I grew up in rural Michigan, helping my dad with his sizable garden, making my first $20 selling vegetables (including corn) door-to-door from a Radio Flyer wagon, which I pulled while wearing overalls with a patch that said, “I’m proud to be a farmer.”

So I don’t think I’m going out on a limb when I suggest it unlikely that her corn-handling qualifications match or exceed mine.

Which — along with her rich city person’s Williams Sonoma farmer’s market basket  —  is why her advice immediately rubbed me the wrong way.

So you know what I said?

I didn’t just shrug and apologize and start using her method. No.

I came back at her so fast, she didn’t know what hit her. I locked eyes with her, and — tapping an ear of corn menacingly against my palm — I said, “I’ve grown corn, bitch.”

Chew on that.

Well, OK. I didn’t actually say that last word. And I wasn’t actually tapping the corn against my palm in a threatening way — more like turning it over, inspecting it for worm damage. But I did lock eyes with her and say, “I’ve grown corn.”

And it sounded every bit as ridiculous and nerdy and incomplete as it reads.

So in the future? I’ve learned an important lesson about delivery. I’m still not going to swear, but I will definitely punctuate my words with a gang sign. Because gang signs make everything preceding them seem somewhat more bad-ass.

Unless you’re these guys, in which case it looks like your hands got mangled while you were harvesting corn:

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12 Responses to “I think the word for you, ma’am, is “cornhole.””

  1. Kim Pugliano July 19, 2011 at 12:35 pm #

    Awesome. I would have followed up with a kick in the knee (in my head only of course).

    • pithypants July 19, 2011 at 10:13 pm #

      It’s powerful to do things in our heads. I like to punch kidneys until people pee blood — in my head.

  2. Lorna's Voice July 19, 2011 at 1:04 pm #

    I am impressed. You managed to be threaten an old woman with 3 little words, and one of them was “corn.” That has to qualify you for some kind of trophy!

    Great story and I love the picture and accompanying caption of the gesturing people–too funny!

    • pithypants July 19, 2011 at 10:12 pm #

      Hadn’t thought of it that way. New Mission: I’m going to ruin the word corn so it becomes taboo for people to say it, even when they actually mean corn. I don’t give a corn!

  3. popdialectic July 19, 2011 at 6:37 pm #

    I’m pretty sure at least one of those people is throwing “The Shocker.”

    • dorkahontas July 20, 2011 at 10:57 am #

      I made the mistake of buying my husband one of these: http://www.bustedtees.com/bigfoamshocker because I thought it was funny. What I neglected to consider when purchasing is that my husband is not the kind of person to laugh then put it away to use/display only in the company of people who also have the sense of humor of a 14 year old boy; he’s more the type to take it to every single sporting event we attend (which is a lot) and get this innocent, “What? What happened?” look on his face when people inevitably react.

      BTW Al, the phrases, “I don’t give a corn” and “punch kidneys until people pee blood” both made me laugh out loud. And not in my head.

      • pithypants July 20, 2011 at 11:03 am #

        I can totally relate to your husband. I’ve received more than one lecture for wearing a yoda shirt that says, “Smack a bitch, I will,” without knowing why I was in trouble.

  4. shannon July 20, 2011 at 11:04 am #

    I was super impressed for a second when I thought you actually called that lady the b word. Then back to reality I came. Have you ever tried to end a statement with a guitar kick? It might be just as effective as a gang sign.

    • pithypants July 20, 2011 at 11:16 am #

      I love it, Shannon! I’m totally going to practice my guitar kick so I can pull it out at the farmer’s market. I like it.

      • popdialectic July 20, 2011 at 1:13 pm #

        Please warn me before you do that.

  5. Terese July 22, 2011 at 10:20 am #

    So want to hear more about the door-to-door veggie sales. Compitition for the folks that had the actual stands in their front yard? Love it!!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Corn: It’s a movement. (But not like you think.) « pithypants - July 25, 2011

    […] in the wake of my run-in at the farmer’s market, I decided to make corn a dirty […]

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