Sunday, October 16, 2011


When I was little I loved olives. I would to look forward to Thanksgiving just for the big bowl of black olives. Some people think they are a garnish, I thought they were a meal in themselves. My love affair with olives began a long, long time ago.

I grew up in a big family, so we didn't go out to eat very often. On our birthday we got to pick a restaurant and go out with just my parents. For my 7th birthday I picked my favorite Mexican restaurant in town, and I knew exactly what I was getting: taco salad. Why? Because it came in a tortilla shell and, most important, it had an olive on top. In fact, it usually came with TWO olives on top!

We went to the restaurant, just me and my parents. We ordered, and I waited. And salivated. I could almost taste the salty, pickley, tart goodness that was coming my way. Finally, the salad arrived! I looked down and admired the golden, crispy shell. The aromatic ground beef and fresh lettuce. The bath of salsa and dollop of sour cream. And then . . .


I was crushed. I didn't even want the stupid salad and its stupid shell. I just wanted my olives. Two whole olives that were going to be all mine. I would have taken one, maybe even just part of one. But there was nothing. I didn't want to make my parents feel bad. I was still eating out at a restaurant, which was a BIG deal for kid #7. So, after a small bit of complaining, I said,

"Oh well, I'll live!"

And then I started to laugh. And my mom laughed, too. Because "I'll live" sounded a lot like "olive". Which doesn't make any sense other than it was punny, and I knew it.

And in that moment, on my 7th birthday, without any olives, a Word Nerd was born.

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