The Odd Bunch, it says on the pack. But what they are, in fact, (along with clever marketing) is the anomalies of the carrot industry, bagged up and sold cheap: the equal opportunity of the vegetable world – ensuring even the bumpiest, lumpiest, stumpiest tap roots can still dream of becoming someone’s soup.
And, while exploring the bag of rogue orange freaks (laughing out loud at some of the amazing variations) I realise how interesting non-normal is. Why would anyone want to be a boring, even-featured tap root, when you can sprout two orange legs that rival Razzamatazz’s fifteen denier Brazen Tan circa 1989?
Why appear ‘normal’?
Who wouldn’t want to be exceptional? (err… everybody?). Most of us succumb to appearing normal (or try to in high school, at least). But why?
And why were these imperfect picks segregated? Why can’t we accept a few carrots-with-character in our bunch? They may look different, but they’re still carrots. They’re still nutritious. Still have a right to be pulped like ‘any carrot’.
And the very act of grading produce, rejecting those that don’t adhere to our idea of acceptable, merely precipitates the idea that carrots are all the same, pretty, perfect, proportioned specimens you seen lining the greengrocer’s shelves. But I figure, the more weirdo carrots that are allowed to mix with the ‘best’ of them, the less ridiculous they look.
Thus, the gauge of normalcy widens. The standard deviation grows. What’s deemed ‘average’ starts to look different.
Be a little ridiculous
If we all allowed ourselves to be a little more ridiculous (as many of us are, in fact, behind closed doors/in-front of our real friends/drunk), outliers would no longer lay in fringes, but be free to impact attitudes of the masses by their very existence.
Normalcy would be a thing of the past. Healthy variation would be the new black.
So to all those quirky carrots, wishing and hoping (as you read this) that your ochre days culminate in a crisp Julienne cut, keep at it. Because if you keep trying to feign normal, you’ll never know how amazing you really are.
Wrangler of her sticky brood of boys, internationally published author of women’s fiction, and self-confessed chocoholic, Brisbane writer Kylie Kaden’s debut Losing Kate was plucked from the Random House slush-pile and later translated in Europe. Her second novel, Missing You, was published a year later.
Kylie penned her first book while on maternity leave with a kid on her knee, ABC kids chirping in the background, and can often be caught purging out the day’s fermented thoughts at home, sometimes in the laundry so she can’t be found.