html xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#' xmlns:expr='http://www.google.com/2005/gml/expr'> Lounging at the Waldorf: The Fruit Machine

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Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Fruit Machine

Behold: Marlon Brando in a wheelchair deciding what to buy from the Refrigerated Fruit-O-Matic.


You may wonder why an Academy Award® winning actor is rolling around in a wheelchair buying fruit and that is is a question I can't answer. What I can discuss, however, is the machine. We had one of these leftovers of the atomic age at my junior high and let me tell you, it didn't just dispense produce. The goods of the Fruit-O-Matic quietly explained to everyone who you were and to what group you belonged.

Oranges were purchased by boys who played soccer after school and on the weekends. The had close cropped hair, wore polyester track suits to school more or less everyday, and talked about college as if they would be attending one later that week. Process oriented and competitive, they couldn't simply peel and eat those oranges. They made a sport of it. They squeezed them repeatedly for ten minutes or so like a handheld exercise tool before exposing a tiny a bit of the flesh, inserting a straw into the orange, and sucking up the juice of their efforts. No other way would do.

The green apple girls were all about student government, cardigans, and history class. They were always painting the walls at a local community center or collecting clothes for charities. If someone had told you every single one of them had been born at the public library, you'd have believed it. They wore no make up and agreed with their moms about how bright of a color or high of a heel they could wear. They had goals. They gave speeches. They chomped on their apples with extra strong teeth. Unless, of course, the braces hadn't come off yet. If that was the case, they'd bring a sliced green apple in a baggie from home.

The last group encompassed a mixed demographic. Some were boys, some were girls. Some lived for all ages dance clubs while others worshipped heavy metal. More than a few fancied themselves deep thinkers with heartfelt convictions about politics, song lyrics, or surfing. The only thing these kids had in common were red apples from the Fruit-O-Matic and being bad. They were partiers in training who shared useless tips on the best way to hold a cigarette, steal alcohol, and ditch class. They lent each other copies of dope fueled true stories of teens in trouble like Christiane F. and Go Ask Alice. They thought they'd been born too late and talked about Warhol or Hendrix with awe and respect.

So now that we have the facts, I'm going to guess Brando is about to buy a red apple...

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