My life is full of a lot of coconuts. They are ideas, people, parades, history, songs, poems, social issues, meals and pulp happenstance I can’t break open with my bare hands. They pose the questions: what were they thinking, how did they do that and who do they think they are? "City Slicker Coconuts" is a weekly search and examination through stories and instant photos of life as it happens inside and outside of my coconut.
Click on play on the player and listen to the "City Slicker Coconut" theme tune by woMANgione while you read. We all need a soundtrack!
Ever try to open a coconut? I went to the grocery store and just when I thought I grabbed everything I needed for the week, I saw a pile of coconuts.
“Wow! A fresh coconut that should be swell.”
When I got home I realized that I didn’t know how to break open a coconut. I turned on the television and watched a guy on a re-run of Hawaii 5-0 whack at a coconut with a machete, pop off the top with one even swing and tilt it back for a soothing swallow of coconut milk.
“Oh, shit. That looks easy,” I said to myself, “I don’t even need to put my pants on to do something like that.”
Whoops . . . I don’t have a machete.
I went outside and grabbed a piece of the porch steps that broke off during the flexing temperatures of the Chicago pre-spring thaw.
I took the small but sharp piece of concrete and hacked at the coconut. Through all of my curses, a bloody finger and the violent scene I made in front of the neighbors (and the mail lady), I only made a couple of dents.
I gave up and went inside. While I tended to the small wound on my knuckle, I heard my neighbor walk into his apartment and slam the door. I heard his back-pack hit the floor. He started pacing around and screaming about something. I imagined that he may have been going through the same thing as me. He had his own coconuts to deal with. . .
a man and the last 2 cans in the kitchen
chicken broth and kidney beans
he doesn’t have a can opener
his bare hands and a couple of metal coconuts
he grabs his tools
he’s going to break into dinner with a hammer, screw driver and Kung Fu action grip.
11 minutes of stab and smash
it’s calm now
a pot boils
he stirs kidney beans and chicken flavored water with a plastic spork