A Glut in The Garden of Eden

Every year, without fail, for as long as I can remember, my mum has planted too many tomatoes.

Everyone she sees get asked the same thing. Do you need any tomatoes? I got loads of tomatoes. I planted way too much. Go on, take some tomatoes….

Nip over there for tea one night and you’ll leave with arms full of tomato plants. You’ll have probably also have had tomatoes for tea. All her friends are smothered in tomatoes all summer long. She gives them too many, they give some to their friends, again, too many, so they give some to their friends, and suddenly my mum’s tomatoes are like triffids, taking over Pembrokeshire.

Imagine, if she deliberately planted too many tomatoes. She would impress you with her tomato yum yums, but that’s all you would see of them. The rest would go to rot on the greenhouse, in the garden, in the cold frame, behind the compost bins; they’d be everywhere.

She would roll around in her tomatoes, revelling in their tomatoness, gleefully gloating over the fact that they were all hers. No-one else gets these tomatoes. And she’d rather they rotted away than give them to someone else. She may even sell some of those tomatoes, to buy, guess what, more tomato seeds, perhaps a different type of tomato, a beefsteak, to go with the plum and cherries. And she could behold her tomatoes, think about her tomatoes. Everyone would know that she has more tomatoes than anyone.

Imagine, next – bear with me- that suddenly, tomato growing becomes really difficult. No one else has any tomatoes. She’s got loads, and can see that no one else has any. Their salads are gonna be shit, she thinks to herself. My salads are the only ones with tomatoes. If they want tomatoes, then they’re going to have to really pay for them. She could decide to sell a few; she may well price them above the reach of the ordinary man, so that only a minute percentage of the population had access to tomatoes. Turns out, they’re tomato growers too. They’ve been squirrelling them away just like my mum, and they also refused to give any of their plants away, even though they had way too many.

You end up with a situation where a small tiny elite control all the tomatoes. They could, if they wanted to, end the worldwide tomato drought immediately. They could make salads red again. But they think.. nah.. I like the tomatoes exactly where they are, hidden away from the masses. My tomatoes are a symbol of my brilliance, and therefore, if I allow anyone else to share these, then I will lose all my power.

Is it any coincidence that a lot of the richest men in the world have links to the computing industry and IT? Did the games they created, that encourage us to collect coins and gold rings come from those minds that see the only possible pastime in the world worth doing to collect shiny things? The more shinys you collect, the stronger you become, the more lives you get, the more continues, the more chances. If you lose your shiny things, game over, lose a life, go back to the beginning. Coincidentally, the new games all seem to be about farming and growing stuff. Perhaps now they’d rather you played at being content, than at nicking their coins. You can grow some virtual tomatoes, and all is well.

The ultimate humanitarian question is surely, how many people, when faced with more tomatoes than they can ever possibly get through, would actually, just decide to keep them all to himself, and deliberately destroy everyone else’s salad?

Turns out, about 1%.

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Published by Tess Delaney

I mostly only come out at night... mostly....

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