When life gives you lemons….

There’s a saying I’ve heard since the 1990s that says, “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”  I’d like to argue that maybe you wouldn’t want to do this.

If life gives me lemons, which in fact it has, I say, “Why take the trouble to make lemonade?  Why not just eat the lemons?  Or put them in the fridge and forget about them.”  I’ve made lemonade before from a recipe.  It’s a lot of trouble and I’m not sure it’s worth it.  I had a lemonade stand when I was a kid. I think every kid tried that.  If you make the lemonade from a mix you might break even.  I’ll bet if life gave you lemons, you paid top dollar for those lemons and didn’t even find them on sale.  So you won’t break even when you sit in the heat all day with your lemonade stand, watching folks walk by and turn up their noses at you.  Selling lemonade wasn’t the best way to get yourself to feel loved by the world back when I was a kid, and I’ll bet it isn’t now, either.

Lemons do have many uses.  I’ll bet you can find those “household hints” books and find plenty of ways to use lemons to clean things.  Lemon juice and rind can both be eaten, as is or in recipes.  So please don’t despair.  If life has given you lemons…

Now wait a minute, does life really give us lemons?  Have I ever seen lemons fall from the sky?  Naw, I’ve seen rain, snow, sleet, and hail fall, but never lemons.  I’ve heard defective cars called “lemons,” back in the 1960s and ’70s.  This was the latest slang term and there were some very talented car salespeople who sold these “lemons” to unfortunate suckers, and lawyers who specialized in bailing out the suckers and charging them most of the money they won in their lawsuits.  So the suckers sucked on lemons, I guess, for a long, long time.  Maybe that’s why they ended up with toothaches and then got ripped off by dentists.  Do lemons really give people a toothache?  Heck if I know.  People probably only imagine that they do.  I do know you can put a lemon rind in your mouth and pretend that’s your teeth and make people laugh real hard.  We sure did that a lot when we were kids.  Don’t do that with a watermelon rind unless you have a big mouth.

When I was a kid, my parents bought a station wagon that was a “lemon” car.  It didn’t have a name.  My parents were they type to name their cars real names.  I’m not kidding you.  How many people give their cars names?  I’ll bet a fair amount do.  What sorts of names have cars had, over the years?  I recall we had a car named Fifi, when I was very, very young.  I don’t have any idea why she had that name, or why she was female.  I’ve heard that cars end up with girl names and I don’t know why that is.  We had another one named Angie.  We didn’t have Angie all that long.  I think she died young.  Both were small foreign cars, in fact, if I recall correctly, both Fifi and Angie were unusually small for a family with three growing kids to have and maintain.  It wasn’t common for families to have large cars in those days the way families now have these vans SUV’s and station wagons nowadays.

Our “lemon” station wagon was kinda funky to begin with.  I remember my parents were suspect of it from the beginning.  I’m not sure where or how they obtained this station wagon.  For whatever reason, it came with one door that wasn’t quite the same white color as the rest of the white on the other panels.  It wasn’t immediately apparent.  If anyone in my family was a visual artist at all, it was my mom and I guess one of my brothers, but anyway, I recall my mom was the one who noticed the one door and remarking on it not long after we brought that station wagon  home.  She begged my dad to go back and question the seller.  I guess he did.  The seller made excuses.  Much later, a repair guy noted that in fact the engine in this station wagon wasn’t the engine that originally was put in by the factory.  What he said (and my dad said seemed believable) was that this year that these cars were made, the factories left paint on the engines when they put them in.  This engine had no paint on it and no evidence that the engine was the original.  The mechanic said that he felt that this car wasn’t even a new car when my parents bought it but it was sold to them as new.  Parts had been replaced, he said.  He said that’s why the door didn’t match, because they had taken off the old door and put on a new one.  There wasn’t much my parents could do about the fact that they had been ripped off.  So we all sort of laughed and joked about it.  The car never really ran right, not ever, but I suppose it ran.  It died one day.  All cars do.

We did get a van but I don’t remember other families having them.  My family did a lot of camping and we had tents and hiking stuff.  My dad wanted to lug around canoes on top of the van, too.  I thought this was a nutty idea.  I remember trying to get those canoes onto the top of the van and that was about the hardest and thing I’d ever done.  It wasn’t the safest thing, either.  I can laugh now, but we dropped those canoes a few times.  We lived through it and no one got squashed.  Once, a tiny part of my dad’s finger stayed in the canoe, and part of it stayed on his hand, and the two parts weren’t stuck together anymore after that.  It was a bit of an emergency situation you don’t want to happen, one of life’s lemons, I guess.  But don’t make lemonade when you get an injury like that.  I’m guessing the lemon juice would sting you like hell.  Have the torn  part sewn up as best as possible, and move on with your life.

Feedback and comments welcome!