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Tainted celery -- good riddance to bad roughage

There's tainted celery on the loose. Aside from the fact that Tainted Celery would make an excellent name for a band, this bad celery has been implicated in multiple cases of listeriosis, some of them fatal. Now they're shutting down the SanGar plant in Texas that state inspectors linked to the celery.


My life up to this point has been characterized by an adamant refusal to eat celery. Here's a hint that a food item is bad: its selling point is that eating it burns calories. The same could be said for swallowing trace amounts of mercury, but we don't encourage that. Burning calories is the opposite of what food is supposed to do! You would never say to someone with a nut allergy, "Eat this peanut! Your body's efforts to constrict your windpipe and make your face swell until it resembles the Hindenberg will whisk away those pesky pounds!"

If you were stuck on a desert island with only celery, you would die, because eating it would be actively worse than doing nothing at all. Actually, you would die because, after noticing you were on an island with only celery, you would lose all will to survive and start casting about for means to effect your own demise. Have you ever tried to bludgeon yourself to death with a handful of celery? It takes real determination. (Hint: If this ever happens to you, first, try to build a celery raft.)

Death by celery is a fate worse than regular death. You never see an obituary that says, "He died doing what he loved: eating celery." If I lost a friend to celery, I would tell his family that he put up a good fight but the celery pulled a knife on him. Celery fights dirty.

Even runway models prefer, say, smoking to gorging on celery as a method of weight loss.

Honestly, does anyone like celery? I'm aware that there's an after-school treat called ants on a log. It consists of celery smeared in peanut butter with raisins on it. If you have to smear something in peanut butter and cover it in raisins before you eat it, that's a warning sign. It's like makeup. If you need that much to seem appealing, your face is probably doing something wrong.

It's not that I object to vegetables. I love vegetables. Vegetative State was my first choice college! I give peas a chance. I actively love corn, as that last joke indicated. I'm willing to wait for tomatoes to figure out if they're fruits or vegetables. "I'm not asking," I tell them, lovingly. "But maybe don't join the military just yet."

But celery is on a level below the other vegetables. It's always left alone next to the dip. First, the carrots and peppers go. Then the broccoli. Then the celery stands alone. The only exception to this rule is if the people around the dip are on diets. But then, without fail, someone will observe, "Did you know that eating celery burns calories?"

Enough is enough.

Calling some celery tainted is redundant. All celery is tainted. Does anyone ever call you and say, "Want to come over to my house for some celery?" No. Do you know why? Because asking someone to come over to your house for celery is like calling him up and saying, "Hey, want to come over to my house so my new friend Luca Brasi can beat you with a belt and then trample on your dignity?"

Celery is not a comfort food. If anything, celery is a discomfort food. Celery actively makes your life worse. Are you hungry? Celery will make you hungrier. Are you unhappy? Celery is sitting outside your house in an unmarked car waiting to kick you in the vital regions.

All this talk about celery has made me so upset, I probably burned a few calories. I've got to go eat something soothing, like a cholesterol sandwich. I swear by those. [Editor's note: are you referring to the reubens you're always eating, Alex?]

I defy anyone to prove me wrong about this celery nonsense. If you do, I'll eat my weight -- in celery.

By Alexandra Petri  | October 22, 2010; 12:17 PM ET
Tags:  Alexandra Petri  
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Love it! We liked your column so much, we've linked it to our website story about the tainted celery on the word 'celery' --

Posted by: TexasNewbie | October 22, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Whoa Petri! Take a deep breath, a bite of reuben, and go to your peaceful, happy place.

What you've got is a full-blown case of celephobia, and I don't mean the urge to jump up on the couch and scream whenever you see Tom Cruise.

Were you stalked by celery in your childhood? Do you think you're the only one who likes corn? You're not alone here.

You've obviously been watching too much Celery News Network (CNN), an off-shoot of the "Fear Obama Communists" network (FOX).

All celery isn't bad! Just a few jihadi, terrorist, listerial celery are the problem. Don't blame millions of innocent celery for the actions of a few.

You do have a First Amendment Right to say anything that scares you, but this still might get you fired, and it takes 19 years for the truth to come out. In the meantime, the celery lobby will portray you as a sauerkraut-loving Nazi.

Oh, and I dated Luca Brasi for two years. I know what you mean!

Posted by: divtune | October 22, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

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