There aren’t many things I don’t like just because of the way they taste, but there is one fruit I can’t stand. I’m sorry pineapple, but it’s you, with your sweet, yellow tropical flesh and your prickly skin. Unfortunately pineapple has always made an appearance in my life just before I get a stomach bug.
Strike 1 against the humble pineapple
The first time was my eighteenth birthday party. I know what you might be thinking, eighteenth birthday parties are normally followed by a bit of vomiting. This was different. I had some pineapple upside-down cake with my relatives, was floored by stomach pains and spent the rest of the day laying in a dark room. That was a couple of days before I was due to fly to Cambridge for an interview at the university. I was ill, seriously nervous and, I realise now, not very prepared for what studying English at Clare college would have meant. I flew out in the end, my dad booking a last minute ticket so he could come with me, and I walked around wide-eyed and amazed. I flunked the two interviews by babbling nonsense about Beowulf and then I flew home again.
Strike 2 against the pineapple
After that I avoided pineapple for many years, until I was working late at YLE one night and the only thing that looked appetising in the cafeteria was a plastic tub full of fresh pineapple. How bad can it be, I thought? Next thing I know I’m in a Mexican restaurant in town with some friends, running to the loo to … yes you guess it, vomit. I’m still amazed I managed to get the tram home that night and I spent the next week or so recovering, during which time I read many self-help books and decided it was probably a good idea to quit my job and move to the UK.
Strike 3 against the pineapple
On Monday Gerry and my brother had brought home a fresh pineapple. They encouraged me to eat some and I said no, telling them my story about what the fruit had put me through in the past. I only sniffed a piece and the memories started flooding back. I didn’t eat any.
The next day, which was the day before Gerry and I were due to fly to Finland for a short holiday, I woke up and felt bad, really bad. What followed was what someone else described as all the hangovers in your life coming back to visit you at once. We ended up not going to Finland.
So here I am. Finally feeling a bit better, wondering what kind of strange random chanceness is at work here. I’m starting to think pineapple and stress is not a winning combination.