Turnips and the Ungrateful Poor

  • conservativej...

    Posts: 2465

    Dec 28, 2010 4:32 AM GMT
    Turnips and the Ungrateful Poor

    There is a touch of pathos in that tale of the benevolent produce dealer and his turnips. There were 171 barrels of last year’s turnips and they were left on his hands, wherefore he determined to give them to the poor. But the ungrateful and reckless poor neglected to take the turnips, and they were sent to the garbage dump. Many another philanthropists has as keenly felt the gross ingratitude of the people, and doubtless the produce merchant will recover from his surprise with heart unhardened and continue in his benevolent ways. The cost of transporting the turnips to the dump was considerable, of course, and could have been avoided if the poor had not been so heedless, but better times are close at hand and what was thus lost can be made up in some other way.

    Meanwhile both the ingratitude of the poor and their senseless aversion to turnips are worth pondering over. If the benevolent produce man had announced his willingness to give away 171 kegs of beer or tubs of vanilla ice cream, there surely would have been a great rush to his front door. The trouble seems to have been with the turnips. We cannot believe that this was due to the scientific assertion that a turnip is 92 percent water, and hence to be explained by the natural aversion of the multitude to water. For, although habitually, scientific folks are frequently and not undeservedly poor, yet the poor as a class are hopelessly unscientific. No ordinary wayfaring man could be induced to believe that the turnip is largely composed of water. He could see at a glance that there is no water in a turnip.

    Perhaps these turnips were rejected simply for lack of uses to put them to. They are considered cheap fodder, but horses and cattle are rather scarce in the tenement districts, and while goats will eat anything, and will therefore even eat last year’s turnips, it would be hardly worthwhile to carry a basket or a barrel of turnips from West Street to the Harlem River just for the sake of feeding goats, who are never at loss for something to eat. As missiles the turnips would be useful, but it is not a custom of occasionally quarrelsome folks to prepare for broils in times of good feeling.

    In fact, the poor, like the rich and the moderately well-to-do, are extremely human, and what nobody else wants they do not want. Colonel Sellers made believe to enjoy his meal of turnips, but they were probably new turnips, and, besides, Colonel Sellers is a fictitious personage. With the thermometer in the eighties and nineties, a diet of old turnips, which contain very little nutrition, does not seem conducive to either good appetite or good digestion.

    July 12, 1897
    The New York Times

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 28, 2010 4:48 AM GMT
    For you, Merry third day of Christmas, that of three french hens.


    Scroll downwards and you'll see them. icon_wink.gif

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    Dec 28, 2010 4:59 AM GMT
    Could use some virtual turnips to missile around here what with all the broils.
  • Webster666

    Posts: 9217

    Dec 28, 2010 5:05 AM GMT
    Here's to the good taste of the poor.
    I'd sooner starve to death than eat a turnip.

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    Dec 28, 2010 5:37 AM GMT
    beneful1 saidCould use some virtual turnips to missile around here what with all the broils.