Per Puerto Rican Folklore, I Twisted off my Apple Stem and Now I Must Effervesce

An apple a day can keep the doctor away? Who hasn’t heard that piece of advice before? Supposedly such sage advice came into vogue back in 1866 originally as a Pembrokeshire proverb that stated: “Eat an apple on going to bed, And you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread.”  The fact that healthcare is so expensive now in the United States, one couldn’t blame a person, who is watching their pennies, for trying to eat an apple a day.

Besides its folkloric medicinal properties, apples also were held in high regard in my Puerto Rican household growing up as apples can help divine one’s future.  See, when you twist the stem off of an apple, you are supposed to recite the A,B,Cs until the stem twists off. When it comes off, you are to note the letter you were at. That letter, depending on the quirkiness meter of your family, can signify: the first letter of your future spouse’s name, could be the first letter of the name of the person who is giving you the evil eye, or it could be the method by which someone is trying to blacken your cloud (curse you, give you bad luck, etc).

Now more recent research on the health benefits of apples has shown that the quercetin found in apples protects brain cells against neuro-degenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s Disease.  Thus, the letter at which the stem comes off could just perhaps serve as a reminder of the name of someone important in your life. It’s a different way of combating Alzheimers.

I have a four year old toddler. When he eats an apple he does not recite his A,B,Cs when he twists the stem off of an apple.  I feel the need to instill in him this time-honored Hispanic tradition. I’d love to see the look on his catholic school teacher’s face when he goes in spouting such wackiness. Not that it is entirely wacky, mind you. I have found it quite helpful in the past. For the letters have forewarned me of what was to come.

Just this morning, right before heading out to work, I twisted the stem off of my green apple and it came off on the letter “E.”  What could the “E” represent?  It could be “elation” at that it will finally reach 69 degrees today! We may be finally getting rid of winter.  It could be “eerie”; in that I am up at 5am writing this blog entry and it is super dark outside and I keep hearing weird noises that sounds like someone is being dragged outside. Overactive imagination much? Maybe I should not watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer right before going to sleep.  Or it could represent “economical” in that I am back to work this week and I must find ways to save the company money; address the outrageous workplace spending (exuberant spending) that occurred while I was gone; and tighten my own belt now that the credit card expenses from Italy will be trickling in. Yup, economical might be what my apple stem was trying to put into my consciousness.

Although, I think my main word of the day will be effervesce.

Knowing the day and week ahead of me, I will be in constant need of an effervescent drink. And those come in many, many forms!  It can be a tangerine, honey caipirinha; a jolly rancher cocktail or a straight up coke zero. But besides my effervescent drinks, I myself will have to exude effervescence in order to get through the numerous wacky situations I will have to sit through and will have to remedy as well. People often say go on vacation and leave work at work. Guess what happens when you do that? You come back to chaos that you need to spend much energy on fixing. Why did I go on vacation again?  In order to still the waters sort of speak, I must show liveliness and exhilaration at being back.  I must effervesce as I try to be economical, enterprising, and embracing while dealing with the both the earnest and the egomaniacs as I try to instill a sense of empathy. More to come on these topics. Stay tuned.

Now what was that noise again?  Do I dare eat another apple? Not today.


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