The Big Zucchini Problem
It is my birthday today. A friend gave me a zucchini as a gift. A zucchini of such a size that anyone who saw it would almost surely say that it was a very large zucchini, and that they had not known that zucchinis could be quite so very large. Unsure of what to do with such a large vegetable, I set it upon a shelf. There, I could remark on its largeness whenever my gaze drifted from the small tasks of the day. I could wonder what should be done with it. I could, of course, eat the zucchini. It was certainly not too large to eat if only I were to divide it up between a number of meals. But it still seemed too large to be eaten. That is, in the sense that there ought to be something suitably different that one does with a very large zucchini, something different to what one does with a zucchini, or indeed any vegetable, of a regular size. Namely, to eat it. Growing exasperated by the lack of any ready solution, I decided to renew my efforts in the morning.
Unsure of what to do with such a large vegetable, I set it upon a shelf. There, I could remark on its largeness whenever my gaze drifted from the small tasks of the day.
The next day, my gaze no longer drifted to the very large zucchini between the small tasks of the day. Now, I was almost entirely fixated upon it. It seemed to be ever so slightly larger, perhaps only because it was now the centre of my attention. I had already neglected to eat both breakfast and lunch, consumed as I now was with the big zucchini problem. The idea of eating the very large zucchini was, so to speak, off the table for certain. But it could not be left on the shelf for much longer. My small apartment was cluttered enough already. Nor could it simply be thrown away. That would not only be wasteful, but a failure of imagination for which I could not forgive myself. Perhaps the very large zucchini had not been a gift so much as a passing on of an unbearable burden.
I did not sleep that night. Instead, I moved a lamp from the corner of my room to the shelf so that I could keep the very large zucchini clearly illuminated at all times. Pacing up and down the room, ever keeping an eye on it, I discovered that I could best study it from the corner of the room in which my bed was set. I then decided to remove the bed from the room so that I could vary my perspective on the very large zucchini by pacing up and down in that optimal corner. Yet every idea of what should be done with the very large zucchini inevitably failed to do justice to its remarkable largeness.
Over the next few days, I removed everything from the room except the very large zucchini so that I could focus on it more clearly.
Over the next few days, I removed everything from the room except the very large zucchini so that I could focus on it more clearly. What remained, besides the very large zucchini, was only the shelf on which it was placed and a single chair on which I needed to slump ever more often, weak as I was from hunger.
Being no longer able to produce new ideas on a stomach left empty for many days, and being distracted from thinking by its pained howls, I permitted myself a moment to search the kitchen for food. By now, all the food had gone rotten. It was, however, impossible to lose any more time by leaving the house for fresh food. I was unsure how long it would be until the very large zucchini itself turned rotten (the zucchini, being so very large, did not fit inside the refrigerator). The problem of what to do with it had to be solved before then. It had to be solved before nothing could be done with it at all.
I have taken the very large zucchini from the shelf and set it on the floor close beside me. I am too weak to stand. I drift in and out of fitful sleep, always waking with a start, thrown back and forth from a dreamless black void into a world of zucchini green.