This morning, I was faced with the task of preparing a bowl of fresh mangoes. Mangoes are some of the tastiest and finest fruits anyone will ever eat. Yet, I hesitated. I wish they would just appear in the bowl ready to eat. Eating them is the fun part. The effort, it seems to me, is nearly identical to the enjoyment, that is to say, enjoyment nudges out effort by only a smidge. Let’s get to it then, I sighed, resigned to the task.
It may seem simple. It’s fruit. How hard could it be? I assure you, to peel a mango is a difficult thing, so difficult, in fact, that I believe it to be an excellent measure of a person.
I have talked to country folk in Puerto Rico. I have watched Youtube videos. I have tried different kinds of peelers, knifes, and widgets. This is a test, the kitchen’s version of the Kobayashi Maru from Star Trek. How do you function in a no-win scenario?
If you want to see what kind of person someone is, whether they may be a potential mate or friend, ask them to peel a mango. They will fail, and it is in their failure you will find out who they are.
I have been peeling mangoes for 25 years, and I still struggle nearly every time. They are slippery. They are messy. They resist process. They resist technique. The knife must be razor sharp, your fingers nimble, your grip delicate. You don’t know where the pit is. It could be shallow. It could be deep. How could such a heavy fruit have so little flesh? They foil you in unique and frustrating ways EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
If you want to find out how a person is when they fail, ask them to peel a mango.
If you want to see how a person plans, ask them to peel a mango.
If you want to see if a person is open to new things, is curious or adventurous, ask them peel a mango.
If you want to find out if someone is a good sport, ask them to peel a mango.
If you want to see how perseverate a person is, ask them peel a mango.
It is all there, contained within the mango, the truest test of a human being I can imagine.