Sunday, November 8, 2009

Trans-gender Papayas

Here’s a BREAKING NEWS story in today’s Los Angeles Times: “Papaya sex change is in the works.”

This is the kind of story that humorist Dave Barry used to write of, saying, “You can’t make this stuff up.”

Okay, it didn’t make the front page, was buried in the middle of Section A, and topped out at around 200 words.

PJ and I love papaya but the only time we eat it everyday is while vacationing in Hawaii, where a papaya costs less than one dollar. By the time Hawaiian papayas reach our supermarkets they cost over three dollars, and they rarely taste the same. Papayas are good for you. How? Let’s just say they move things along.

There are three papaya sexual orientations: male, female, and hermaphrodite. It’s the third that produces the tasty cleansing agents. A hermaphrodite carries both male and female sexual organs.

A University of Illinois biology professor has been given a grant by the National Science Foundation to encourage more papaya sex changes to hermaphrodites, which supposedly would save on production cost and potentially pass on the cost savings to consumers. Like that could happen.

If perfect papayas grow in Hawaii, why wasn’t the grant given to the University of Hawaii? Urbana-Champaign (home to the U. of Illinois) is not a hot spot for growing papaya.

I have no idea how anyone could tell the sexual orientation of a papaya, but apparently the sexual orientation of papaya can only be determined when they have grown and flowered. So papaya growers have no use for the weaker sexes: male AND female.

When our son was between the rug rat and pre-teen stage, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were the rage of Saturday morning TV. We bought him a turtle, which he named Donatello. It was only later when we took the turtle to the vet that we had a name change to Donna. There was just no way I was going to be caught trying to determine the sex of a turtle.

We had to find a new home for Donna. Our son couldn’t cotton having a female turtle for a pet.

I’m wondering if there is a trans-gender turtle and if that is the source of turtle soup, about the only thing of any value from a turtle.


John Gonzalez said...

When I was a freshman in college I was sitting on the stoop of my apartment and a cute beagle/mutt walked by...I said, "Come here, Butch." A few hours later, after Butch had become part of the family, I noticed that he indeed was a she.
Butchess, as I the appropriately re-named her, stayed with me for years, and starred in all my Film school projects. I miss Butchess!

Eileen Williams said...

I have to say, after reading your post, I will never look at papayas the same. To give shoppers a "heads up," perhaps they should start dying them pink, blue and yellow so we know we're getting our money's worth!

Tom Bailey said...

I am never going to think of turtles the same way.