Prompt: Bust a Cliche

From the ladies over at Tipsy Lit: Tell us what cliché bugs you and why, or why you really like one of them – break it down

(this is an excerpt taken from a conversation between me and Snow White)

My grandmother put an apple in my dad’s lunch pail every day before school. “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” she would tell her young and innocent child. He would look back with unassuming blue eyes and say, “Okay, Mommy. I love apples!” Most days she gave him a red apple, but once or twice a week a green one would find its way in there. There would never be a yellow apple, though, as my dad hated yellow apples, not because of the taste but because of the color. Yellow was his least favorite color.

The trend would continue through elementary school, and through middle school, until my dad finally reached high school. Like any high school freshman, he brought his mother-made sack lunches for the first few days, not knowing of the wonders (and mysteries) that lay behind the cafeteria doors and in the over-sized spoons of the lunch ladies and their black hair nets. “Mom, I don’t need sack lunches anymore. I’m too old for that now,” “Nonsense,” she would reply, “but if you must order from the cafeteria, do eat an apple. An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

My dad didn’t eat any apples at first. The world of hamburgers and pizzas for lunch mesmerized his stomach, as he would say to himself, “Wow! I get to eat pizza for lunch!” Those doctor-free apples started to lose their appeal. But one day, the lunch ladies put out a large bowl of apples at the end of the line – a large bowl of red and green apples, and my dad fancied himself an apple that day. It looked just like the apple his mom would put in his sack lunch. It tasted just like the apples his mom would put in his sack lunch. It probably was the most magnificent apple he had tasted in a while.

But then, during 6th period in science class, he began to feel funny. His eyes couldn’t focus on the chalkboard and his temples started to pulsate with a burning pressure. What if he was poisoned? What if he passed out on to the linoleum floor and the only thing that could wake him was a kiss from Cindy Hawkins? “Dennis, what is the second stage of cell division?” his teacher asked. “Um,” my dad hesitated, “I don’t know?” he tried to hide his embarrassment. “You need to pay attention.” his teacher scolded. My dad sunk into his chair. Why did he feel so weird? Then he realized that he had a headache. A headache! That was nothing; it would go away on its own.

By the next day, he was feeling like himself again. But, after another apple from the cafeteria, he had to suffer through another headache in science class.  This happened again and again until, finally, he talked to his mom. “It’s because they are not my apples, sweetie,” she replied, “Having one of mom’s apples a day keeps the doctor away.” And with that, she gave him a bright red apple and sent him off to school, but he still got a nauseating headache in science class. My dad realized that if he stopped eating apples, then maybe his headaches would go away.

They did, and until this day he does not eat anything apple, even if it’s artificial flavoring. The weird thing is that I cannot eat anything apple-flavored either. I get headaches. Candy-makers can keep their stupid fake apple flavors and Doctors can keep their stupid apples.

They’re poison.


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