It wouldn't be the first time I've been drawn-in by cute.
Be it whimsical wine bottle packaging, containing sparkly purple vinegar with a piquant woody afternote...
Or 50s retro-look cosmetics with the power to instantly transform anyone into a knockoff Warhol portrait...
Or my crush on Ricky Schroeder in the 80s, before I realized he would grow up to look like Richie Rich on steroids enjoying a pro-wrestling career.
So cute, yes. I've been taken in by cute. But the box of clementine oranges, well, it was just irresistible.
They were so small... so virtually bite-sized... so cheerily-hued... they had to come home with me. Sitting there all together so bright, so adorable, they were like a litter of spherical kittens.
(Y'know, if kittens were a delicacy and we didn't worry about all that fur getting in our teeth.)
Only now, after having them in my house for a day, I've had to amend my kitten metaphor. (And not just because of the deep inappropriateness of snack kittens, either.) No, now I'm starting to see these little fellows are like Tribbles.
I fear they are multiplying.
See, I got them home and popped them in a large fruit bowl. Two toppled off the giant mound in a try for individuality and self-liberation. I ate them. They were sweet and far superior to your standard oranges in their tiny tastiness and peelability.
I found myself reaching for another.
By the end of the evening, I had had four.
Initially, I was praising myself for this great new addiction. Surely picking off platoons of tiny oranges was preferable to potato chips, or Butter Lovers' Popcorn (or rather "Mantequilla Extra," as my multi-lingual box tells me). This was even more nutritious than the beauty and nippy tang that is Cheez-It Perfection.
"I have just prevented scurvy!" I thought proudly. "Because, hey, scurvy could hit Western Pennsylvania at any time and maybe the public health department just doesn't want to talk about it...
"And think of all those servings of fruits and vegetables we're supposed to have each day!" I wondered how many clementines made up a serving. I was betting two. Since according to the back of the box, about a tablespoon of chicken pot pie is a serving.
These things need to even out.
So this morning I grabbed four more Clementines and tucked them into my lunch bag, feeling excited for more sweet, citrusy fun. And I thought about one of my friends at work, and popped in two for him, too...
Everyone should savor the joy that is tiny seedless mutant oranges!
But in looking at that fruit bowl, there still seems to be this giant crowd of Clementines sitting there. Ten Clementines have been pulled from their ranks in the last 24 hours, and yet they appear to be no less for the noshing.
I go to work, yet I fear that when I get home, the entire window seat, on which the bowl currently sits, will be filled with petite orbs of fragrant fruit.
By Tuesday, I will open my back door only to have a wave of them greet me, rolling down the steps and out into the back yard in an attempt to take over the neighborhood.
I will eventually have to call an exterminator, or set-up a small business and arrange tours. I can be the House o' Many Tiny Oranges.
I can get in that Weird USA book, and I'll beg tourists to take bags of the things home with them, along with souvenir t-shirts and local music talent on CD, each playing their own unique version of "Oh My Darlin' Clementine."
It's not the future I was planning for, of course. But sometimes we just have to roll with these things.
And, looking on the bright side, at least I don't shop at Sam's Club.