I’d like to talk to you today about the joy of freshly cut mangoes.
Do you know how underrated mangoes are? Mangoes are the love-child of a pineapple and a peach. They are sweet, juicy, and the go-to fruit for most smoothies. They don’t drip excessively, they can be sweet while being a bit tart, and they’re not as cumbersome to carry around as, say, a watermelon…or an actual apple tree.
And yet, for all of their positive facets, mangoes get a bad rep. Their confounding shelf life is obviously one of their flaws. When you purchase a mango, there’s a good chance that the fruit isn’t ripe yet. It’s kind of like an avocado, but a little less pretentious (don’t pretend that you haven’t given fruits and vegetables personalities). I imagine avocados to be stoic, stuck up 30-year-olds from California who don’t eat fructose corn syrup and listen to Chinese singing water bowls all day.
Anyways, back to the mango. When you pick up a mango at the grocery store, you may have to wait a few days for it to be ready to eat. Or, if you’re a virgin mango connoisseur, you may make the rookie mistake of purchasing an already ripe mango, in which case you better just start peeling the fruit in the grocery aisle. In my experience, there are three stages of fruit ripeness:
- Unripe: typically, every single mango you find in the grocery store, if any are left at all. Mangoes are popular, kind of like the talking Chewbacca Mask and Pokemon GO.
- Ripe: The kind of ripe that lasts for about 33 seconds. It’s like a lunar eclipse or the fad of getting blonde highlights: it doesn’t last for long.
- Beyond Ripe: One minute, the mango is a waterfall of sweet, succulent nectar. The next minute, it’s a ticking time bomb about to explode all over your new kitchen backsplash from Home Depot.
Because of these facts, many people steer clear of mango when navigating the aisles of Wegman’s on Saturday morning (The only worse time to shop? Sundays after church. You might as well kick yourself in the shins a few times, buy the mushiest bananas, and stomp on a loaf of Wonder Bread, ’cause that’s what you’re going to get). Apples are an easier fruit to serve, as are:
- Twice-Baked Potatoes
- Tennis balls
- A subpoena
- A Thanksgiving Turkey, complete stuffed
To summarize, mangoes get a bad reputation for their cost, their shelf life, and for creating the 8th Wonder of the World: how to correctly peel and cut a mango. In human stereotypes, mangoes are high-maintenance.
That being said, can you conceive the pure joy of finding freshly cut mango at a brilliant price? I can, and did, at Get Go a few weeks ago. As I waited for my chicken salad sub to appear on the counter, my eyes flitted over to the fruits and veggies cooler. On the shelves, I saw potato salad, egg salad, macaroni salad…carrots, celery, broccoli…watermelon, pineapple, bananas…and then, sitting gloriously in the middle of the top shelf, was my fruity unicorn:
Freshly. Cut. Mango. For $2.50. $2.50! Yes, I know you can probably buy yourself an entire mango for the same price, but here’s why I got overly excited (as I am want to do about food):
- There were slices of pre-cut mango just staring at me across the store. They were peeled, they were sliced, they were ready to get in my belly. I wouldn’t have to do any insane prep work, which usually requires a peeler, a blow torch, and the jaws of life.
- I didn’t have to scour the produce section for a ripe mango. I didn’t have to wait for a few days for it to mature, and I didn’t have to put up with the smell of a rotten mango in my refrigerator. Someone had already searched far and wide for a mango fit enough to appear on the shelves of a Get Go, and they should be considered a national hero.
- Paying $2.50 for a cut mango is cheap. Do you realize how expensive freshly-cut fruit can be? Yes, I’d love to enjoy some pineapple spears, Wegmans, but I will need to go to my bank first and take out a second mortgage. I’ll have to tell the kids we’re not getting a fruit medley this year for Christmas.
I got insanely excited about my small plastic jar of mango. To understand my foodgasm, you need only understand the principles behind it. It’s like wanting something that is just too difficult to procure, like going out of your way for Starbucks. If a co-worker were to suddenly show up at your desk with a Smores Frappucino, you’re going to be elated (unless you dislike joy and avoid happiness…in that case, you can insert any kind of drink here). The nearest Starbucks to my house is a few miles away, and definitely not on my way to work. I’m not going to travel 5 miles in the opposite direction when I can barely make it out of the house by 7:00 AM in the first place. So, if someone presents me with a cup of joe from The Bux, I’m going to be pretty damn happy, even if it’s just black coffee. It’s the realization that you received something rare or fleeting. That’s a good feeling. And, it’s a better feeling to recognize those moments when you stumble upon them in your daily routine. Other examples:
- Free HBO on the weekends.
- Free Disney Dining Plan.
- Having a friend who constantly carries Motrin with them at all times (and never carrying it with you).
- Running out of time to make dinner and remembering those leftover pieces of pizza in the fridge from last night.
- The store clerk who lets you use a coupon even though you forgot it at home.
Secondly, I was about to enjoy something that could be expensive. Rule of thumb: you buy pre-cut fruit, you’re going to pay twice as much as the original piece of fruit. But, nay! Not in this Get Go. I was plopping down less than $3 for my cup of joy. It would cost me more to buy a mango and badly cut it up at home. That’s a great feeling, too…acknowledging that you’re receiving a deal when you absolutely prepared to pay more. You feel grateful. You feel like you unearthed a secret treasure…kind of like when you:
- Only have to pay $5 for a movie during the Early Bird Special.
- Get a $0.99 pastry at Panera.
- Get a free Redbox rental (okay, I fully acknowledge the rentals are $2.00 to begin with, but that extra film is always smile-inducing).
You feel an appreciation for whatever discount fairy sprinkled magic dust over your day. It’s a great feeling, a good enough feeling to foster more appreciation and gratitude throughout the rest of your day.
Thank you, Get Go Freshly-Cut Mangoes, for inspiring gratitude and appreciation.
Friends, what are YOUR freshly-cut mangoes? What small, mundane things inspire happiness in your life? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!