This all started when I discovered I was an onion.
At a work thing recently, the new boss decided to introduce an ice-breaker activity before diving straight into spreadsheets and task forces. I knew something was amiss when I walked into a room that had little piles of Starbursts on the tables and flip-chart paper on the walls.
We’re instructed to pull a handful of these square candies and all would be revealed. I haven’t eaten a Starburst since summer camp, but the sight of a pink Starburst immediately activated my salivary glands. Not to seem biased, I grabbed one of each but still snagged three pinks.
Boss started talking. Each color is a topic or question and we’re going to reveal our personalities to one another, or something.
I remember two colors and their corresponding questions. Because I had three and ate three, I remember pink. What’s a trip you want to take but haven’t yet? Easy: Scotland golf trip, family camping in just about any National Park, and Washington DC with my daughter when she’s older.
The yellow starburst asked us to identify with a food item. It was very nonspecific. One coworker identified as a condiment (not judging). Another was chicken tenders, which I get. It’s a favorite and beloved classic, just like her. Boss related to the cheeseburger. Just cheese and burger, but a good sized burger. That’s boss, easy-going, in-charge, no-nonsense and relatable.
Immediately, my brain went chicken wing. And why not, it rounds out the tenders, burger, condiment (I think it was organic catsup) trio nicely. Here’s this slightly more complex, but still down-to-earth option. Folks like chicken wings, and you can dress them appropriate to the occasion, not unlike myself.
At the last moment, I pivoted. I realized I wasn’t a chicken wing. I never identified as a chicken wing, and while I genuinely love chicken wings, I was an onion.
First off, onions are known for their layers. Ancient scientists marveled at the infinity-like depth of an onion. The common sayings all refer to peeling back the layers of an onion. I might be easy-going, but there’s more than meets the eye; very onion-like.
Onions are odorous, and depending on the moment (I.E. cutting onions vs sautéing onions) I too can smell like things. Some lovely. Others less-inviting. Again, onion-like.
I don’t do it on purpose, but I’ve made people cry. Could’ve been cutting off that woman on I-10 last week or the telemarketer who I cutoff mid-pitch. It could also be my personality, which again, working on it. However you slice it, I’ve made people cry, just like an onion.
A couple old friends, more than one I actually say proudly, told me they hated my guts when we first met. They made snap judgements about me, but over time I wore them down. We eventually became incredibly close; close enough for them to tell me that story I guess. Point is, onions aren’t for everyone. Not immediately, and for some never. But almost everyone can identify at least one situation where they like or at least don’t mind onions. I have more friends than enemies for similar reasons. I find a way to connect with people. Boom, onion.
Next time you’re sitting around with your friends hypothesizing about what food item you most identify with, don’t forget the vegetables. No, they aren’t sexy like meats and cheeses, but give them time. You never know, maybe there’s a squash in your life you’ve been ignoring.