If you have ever tried to offer me a mango, or eaten a mango in my presence, you have probably heard this already and you are on the “mango people” list. There is no redemption. Even #LeonardoDavis is on there. If you are not yet on the list… be warned.
I grew up in the Bahamas. In the bahamas there are two types of people. The ones with mango trees in their yards and the ones without.
This dichotomy in the mango classes makes it possible for us to fall into a yearly ritual during mango season.
As the wasps, bees and houseflies pollinate the mango flowers (yes the same houseflies that were on dog poop and in your garbage earlier). Anyway… As the wasps, bees and houseflies pollinate the mango flowers, both the mango haves and have nots make note that mango season is approaching.
As the fruit ripens, the neighborhood have not children develop an affinity for broomsticks and stones that they carry with them hoping to pock or whap a semi ripe mango from the branches hanging into the public domain. More often than not, a half ripe mango is tossed on the side of the road only partially eaten by the savage children of the have not class. And occasionally, the “owner” of said tree descends upon the children to defend that single mango they being even more savage than the have not whelps.
I was a have not. But a rare one. We had no mango tree, but I was also born without the mango drive. That beady-eyed, lip licking lust you see on the faces of the mango lovers near a magnolia tree cannot be faked. I tried to feign enthusiasm for the bright yellows and the deep purples and reds. I even pocked a couple mangoes out of a tree in my time, which I desperately convinced my friends I was going to take home to “mommy”. I did not. It was not necessary.
Every mango have not family knows at least one mango having family. They look up to and adore them.
And every mango having family knows at least one have not family… and this is what happens.
The season waxes full and the mangoes ripen. The have nots regularly ask the haves if the mangoes are ready and they are rejected. “The mangoes are not ripe yet, They are sour, ” etc. They gorge themselves on the sickeningly sweet pulp and their fake smiles try to hide the truth of their abundant mango hoard. The faint smell of mango and the fibers in their teeth expose their lies… if you could not see the goblinesque glint in their eyes.
All the while, the mangolust grows in the have nots. The night raids on the unfenced have yards become more frequent and the swarms of have not offspring become larger and attack with increasing frequency. They become a force of nature.
And as humans have done for ages, in the face of destructive phenomena, the haves, turn away from their greed and find religion. They gather a portion of their unearned wealth and prepare to throw it into the volcano. They call their have not “friends” and offer them a box of mangoes. Maybe this will stop the raids, maybe the children will be sated, maybe the mango diarrhea will stop.
This is where my family came in.
I am ashamed to say, they celebrated that box of mangoes. I would watch the haves leave a box in the arms of my brother and run back to their cars, like they had tossed butcher store offal to a pack of hungry potcakes. My family would plead with them to stay and share in the mangoes. They would have none of it.
The box of mangoes took its hallowed place atop the kitchen counter. We could all see and smell the mangoes. For those that enjoy a mango, I am sure it was pure delight. Their enthusiasm raged and they would eat two or three mangoes that first day. Maybe a single mango the second. By the third day, they would have to skip a day. This enthusiasm would swell and dip over the course of two or three weeks, depending on the heat of the summer and the appetites of my siblings.
As I tried to escape the stench of the ever-decaying box I could sit on the porch, where the smell was only faintly perceptible as it clung to my clothing and clawed its way out the windows. From there I could see the haves knocking on the neighbors’ doors with the boxes in hand, then dropping the box and scurrying away before anyone could answer the door.
Our box would sit on the counter, threatening, like a square, odoriferous cat filled with the rotting mango flesh. A predator of souls waiting to pounce, devouring tongue and bowels.
Eventually the trance would wear off. Common sense and intestinal discomfort would prevail and the box would be banished to the floor of the kitchen. Now a sad dripping shadow of its former self with the juices of dozens of overripe mangoes bleeding through its all but forgotten hide. Yet, hope springs eternal and my family would be seen picking through the gooey mango carcasses and cutting away the blotches and bruises from the scavenged mangoes.
When I could build up the fortitude, I would surreptitiously steal a few mangoes at a time and toss them in the trash, gagging and retching all the while. But, I had to. I knew that the one person in the house not inclined to eat even the most beautiful of mangoes, would be the one cursed to carry the dripping carcass to the trash bin.
Yet, the glorious day would eventually come, they would all realize that no family can eat a box of mangoes before they rot.
It is at this point that they would hit upon the scheme of schemes! “Let us peel, slice and freeze the mangoes that we can save. We can have mango chutney and purée and jams and blah bla bla.”
And upon opening the deep freeze as I looked on in disappointed amusement, they would find the frozen mangoes from some forgotten year. They would then turn to me and say “throw those mangoes out, they’re stinking up the house.”
So no, I don’t like mangoes. Nothing is supposed to be hairy wet and orange anyway.