Rethinking Cranberries

We now know that a small but significant percentage of the population come into this world with a defective gene; one which interprets the cranberry as something edible. The trouble begins when this minority infects everyone else (whose interest is marginal at best) with its deviant preference.

How do these few manage to foist themselves on the rest of us? What dastardly means are at their disposal? And perhaps most important: why do we not only tolerate cranberries in our world but also turn a deaf ear to our own inner protestations?

Proof of the undesirability of cranberries can be found everywhere. Persistent attempts to mask their true flavor can be quite telling. Grape juice, apple juice and cherry juice are only a few of a growing list of liquids used to hide the sour taste. Anything is an improvement over the real thing.

Juicy goodness is in inverse proportion to cranberry content. In layman’s terms, this means that as we approach 0% cranberry we start to get something nearly palatable. It is only when we have extracted the last vestige of the stuff that we finally have a satisfying and thirst-quenching drink. This is powerful evidence, widely known but seldom acted upon.

By yielding to these combo juices, we announce our willingness to settle for less, reinforcing existing negative (non-juice) patterns. No need to strive for excellence when Failure Mode (willingly drinking a juice you don’t even like is not an index of success) is perfectly all right.

They say that silence implies acceptance. By not speaking up we become enablers and co-dependents. We protect and conceal those with the flawed genes. We put on a happy face, pretending that everything is A-OK. But it’s not. Well it’s time to bring this pattern to conscious attention. Only then can we finally come to terms with the problem and rid this obnoxiousness from our lives once and for all.

What’s holding us back? Parental pressure plays a role here. Lies. “Kids, it does taste good, just give it a try.” Or, “Drink up, it’s good for you.” Such nonsense only fosters distrust which festers and leads to distress which leads to destructive behaviors like… more cranberry consumption, thus completing the vicious cycle.

The Cranberry Institute counters by pointing out the health benefits of fruit eating (not all fruit is created equal) along with its Thanksgiving Day popularity (not all habits are good habits). But this is self-serving sinisterness from an industry with a vested interest in promoting its mostly unsafe and unnecessary product. Do you think they care one jot about the above consequences? Of course not. And they’re in cahoots with the grapefruit people.

What would happen if we used gene therapy to eradicate this pathology? Or a more draconian plan could involve discouraging cranberry lovers from reproducing. But do we really want to go to such lengths to answer our needs? Instead, a little honesty with others and with ourselves can break the cycle of pain. Nip it in the bud, so to speak.

It’s only natural to think and feel: I don’t like cranberries and I don’t like people who do. But this is not the way to rebel. These people were born this way and cannot help themselves. Only by recognizing the villainy of Big Cranberry can we confront the root causes instead of just treating symptoms.