Wednesday 2 May 2012

Won't somebody think of the peanuts?

There’s a lot of things about peanuts that people know; like the fact that peanuts aren’t technically nuts at all even though they contain “nut” in the name — nuts right (but not really)? That’s because my mate Steve — the guy who invented the English language — and botanical scientists can’t agree on what is a nut and what is a legume. Peanuts are known as “Goober Peas” in other parts of the world and even that’s less nuts than calling something that’s not a nut, a nut.

Another thing that a lot of people know about peanuts is that they grow underground — if you are walking along and a peanut falls on your head from a tree, it was probably thrown at you by a monkey. This is where common knowledge of peanuts starts to fade and hide the real truth behind peanuts. This is where human ignorance takes over and stops most people from seeing what is right under their eyes. This is where cruelty becomes cold, emotionless murder. This is when the peanuts lose their rights and die without ceremony or remembrance, without any acknowledgement from those committing the genocide.

To say that peanuts grow underground is to simplify matters to the point of obscurity. In essence, it is true — peanuts grow underground — but it is more accurate to say that peanuts are born and raised underground. Peanuts grow, learn, love, laugh and play underground in peanut societies with peanut hierarchy and peanut democracy. Your average peanut is at least as smart as a human — except my mate Steve, the guy who invented IQ tests — and smarter than most.

To dig into the soil underneath a peanut plant is to enter a utopian world that is the very vision of human philosophers and dreamers. I spent three years with the peanut people learning of their ways, passing on my knowledge of the world above and defending humanity’s inability to see what pain and harm they bring. I attended a peanut school and learned of peanut history and peanut politics. The peanut people are a giving and caring race; so caring that they even offered to let me eat some of their number when I became hungry — I refused because I could not salt assault their harmony. Every year they gather the scarce resources they have and give it all in an anonymous donation to a human charity …

And every year comes the peanut harvest or, as the peanut people call it, The Ascension. The peanut villages are torn from the ground in a great rush of destruction and many of the peanut folk are carried upwards into the light, never to be seen again. The Ascension is a time of much rejoicing, for the peanut people believe that those who rise above will mingle with the greats in human society; the poets, the scientists, the artists. Families dedicate walls to those who have ascended and speak with pride that their hereditary line should be so honoured. Peanut children giggle and speak in excited rushes of what they will do when they ascend.

I didn’t have the heart to tell them …

I could not tell them that the elevation of their number is not to sip wine with the great philosophers or talk theories with the great physicists. I could not tell them that The Ascension is merely a means to a human end and that the power raising them above does not look twice at the peanut bodies being pulled from the earth. I could not tell them that those they hold in such great stead are taken to factories to have their little peanut faces smooshed into butter or roasted into tasty snacks. I could not tell them because I knew that it would break them. The peanut harmony they have created relies upon humanity’s thoughtless massacre of their people. I could not tell them …

But I could return and tell you. I tell you of these people and what they give for the sake of a savoury snack. I tell you so you can look at your PB&J and give thanks to the peanut people smashed up within it. I tell you so the next time you open a bag of  assaulted salted peanuts you can wonder if you are about to consume a peanut poet or a peanut philanthropist.

I tell you so somebody will think of the Peanuts.

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