The call wakes me up from the bottom of a bottle and bottle slumber, a coma induced by cocktail, equal parts Nyquil and Jack Daniel’s. I grumble into the phone, creating coherent words an unspeakable chore. A voice I don’t recognize spits an urgent stream in my ear. I only make out the important details. A body. Gashed. Potato Town. I want to say I’ll be right there. I hang up and get dressed instead.
I arrive on the scene. Uniforms have already scattered the crowd, holding back a few key witnesses. Apparently there’s some kid, Peewee, may have seen the whole thing. I need to examine the body. Figure out who the poor bastard was. Get a grip on what I’m dealing with. A yellow brick road of police tape leads the way.
Shit. It’s a Russet. My job just got a lot harder. The Russets are the elite and powerful of Potato Town, bigwigs with big wallets, the charitable ball type, fundraising the easy way, just tell me when to stop writing zeros. I need to solve this case fast. It’s going to be all over the news. That means my ass if I don’t find a perp to pin this on soon. What was the dumb bastard doing down here? Doesn’t make sense that a Russet would be in this part of town, mixing it up with the bargain bin spuds.
The body’s in a bad way, chunks of skin cut straight from the face, a pool of blood coagulating around a gaping wound, serrated knife still lodged in deep. At least I’ve got the murder weapon. That’s something. Whatever sick fucker did this enjoyed himself. Took his time. This was deliberate. And brazen. Don’t normally see this type of hack job in the middle of the street. It’s more of the closed door type of affair.
I cover the body and head for the witnesses. I need to talk to the kid…
Baked Potato is pretty damn brave. It takes a lot to put yourself out there, to show your guts to the world. Baked Potato doesn’t think twice about it. Baked Potato only knows how to live one way. And that way is open. Way open.
Now you might look at Baked Potato and have the urge to yell, “HEY, PUT ON SOME DAMN PANTS YOU CRAZY POTATO! THERE’S KIDS IN THAT PARK!” But Baked Potato wouldn’t listen if you did. Baked Potato is too busy soaking up heat rays. Baked Potato doesn’t worry about anything. Look at the size of that take-out box Baked Potato is in. THAT’S WAY TOO BIG OF A BOX FOR ONE POTATO. Baked Potato doesn’t give a fuck.
Maybe it’s because Baked Potato doesn’t feel. Maybe it’s because Baked Potato is the most chill of all the potatoes. Maybe it’s because Baked Potato was born a Russet, raised in a culture of dominance and privilege. Whatever the reason, Baked Potato doesn’t care who sees Baked Potato. Baked Potato just does what Baked Potato does, staying open, honest, exposed to the whole world. No butter. No sour cream. No chives. Baked Potato doesn’t need coverings. Baked Potato doesn’t hide from anyone.
What if we were all as open as Baked Potato? What if we all just hung it out there all the time? Imagine a carefree world run under the governance of Baked Potato. Sure, lots things might not get done. But why do things ever get done to begin with? Baked Potato doesn’t know the answer to that. And Baked Potato doesn’t care.
OKAY, EVERYBODY JUST CHILL!
Last Friday, when I wrote about the endless march of the Russet, the last thing I was expecting was to incite a violent potato coup d’état. But no more than an hour after my post went up, my sister sent me the picture of this mutilated potato, with the caption, “Just found this in the parking lot.” Not cool, you guys. Not cool.
Yes, the Russet is an endless machine, an infinite point of starch on the human timeline. No, that doesn’t mean we need to launch a full-on potato smashing assault on taters. We’re human beings. There’s no reason to demonstrate so violently. If you need to feel superior to our Russet overlords, just challenge them to a written debate. Potatoes are notoriously terrible with punctuation. You can laugh at the Russet’s futile attempt to incorporate semi-colons into its writing.
Honestly, I’m just really disappointed by this whole debacle. Sure, I feel somewhat responsible for building societal outrage at the Russet, but more than that, I’m let down by what I thought I knew about humanity. I thought we were above this. I thought we learned we can resolve differences peacefully. But, no. There’s always some asshole who has to escalate things. Don’t be that asshole. Don’t smash potatoes.
This is it. The one you’ve always been expecting. It was inevitable. When you close your eyes and picture a potato, you picture this. We all do. The potato world belongs to the Russet.
Today I walked into a grocery store, wound my way to the produce section, took this picture, and, to the confusion of the worker building pyramids of red bell peppers, turned right back around and left. I managed not to purchase a potato during this trip. But I will soon enough. We all will. The Russet demands we consume.
Stacked upon dozens and dozens of nameless clones, the Russet peers through your soul. It knows your deepest desires – chips, fries, loaded baked potatoes. From Idaho to Ireland, the Russet is an international entity, overshadowing all who would challenge its rule. The Russet knows all. The Russet sees all. The Russet is always there waiting, outlasting any would be health craze or starch challenger. The Russet crushes all opposition, forever trudging forward in its steady march of spud superiority.
There is no choice but to embrace the Russet. No one human can rise above the potato empire. We are all caught in the endless turning wheel of the Russet. We will buy. We will eat. We will rinse and repeat. This post was inevitable. The Russet is inevitable. Our consumption is already a foregone conclusion.
When the sands of time drop their last grain through the hourglass, when humanity has been washed in fires of wind and dust, the Russet will still be there. Waiting.