Allotted apple time

     I am a bold man. One that stands at about 5’6” and lacks the ability to grow anything that may resemble facial hair, but bold, nonetheless. See, whenever I meet someone who tells me their parents are doctors, I promptly ask a question concerning a particular Welsh proverb that we’ve all wondered, but have never had the audacity or bravery to ask: “So, how do they fare around apples?” Maybe some fear the possible answer or perhaps they consider it disrespectful to address the weaknesses of a peer’s parents. Regardless, I ask the question… And what do I get in response from these teenage medical prodigies? Well, I ran the numbers. 83.7% of MD kin respond with their own symptoms of bewilderment and disorientation, while 16.3% respond with dismissive chuckles, and, most unsettling of all, 0% respond with a clear answer describing the possible product of a doctor-apple reaction. Though I may never know how exactly an apple upon going to bed will keep the doctor from earning his bread, I know one thing’s axiomatic, and it’s that an apple a day cannot keep me away.

     My name is William Buhay, and I consume exactly one apple per day. Not for any particular reason, I just do it… or so I thought. About 10 minutes ago, sitting on my back porch while watching the sun set on the first weekend of the school year, I enclosed my left hand around a Westminster-green Granny Smith (not the traditional forest green, rather the lighter, more vibrant “Love. Challenge. Lead. Change.” green), and I hesitated to take that first bite. For the first time in nearly 100 combined Honeycrisps and Granny Smiths, I approached the apple with uncertainty. That first bite had always been thoughtless, as if the action had been ingrained in my autonomic nervous system, but something had changed. See, about two Granny Smiths ago, I stumbled into the open doors of my history class, where I was asked to write one interesting fact about myself. Without much consideration, I inscribed the first two sentences of this paragraph on the thin three by five inch notecard allotted to each student. Upon sharing my fact, a classmate began to query my claims, telling me that every action has a motive, and about 10 minutes ago, I too began questioning myself. So… Why do I eat an apple every day? Let’s explore, shall we?

     Perhaps my subconscious yearns to honor and remember the great American hero: Johnny Appleseed. Mr. Appleseed may not be my favorite historical figure, however, he was the first one I ever learned about. I remember my kindergarten’s Johnny Appleseed day better than most phone companies can remember their own phone numbers. My Appleseed hat was my masterpiece, a tin foil magnum opus derived from four hours of intensive planning and labor. Little did I know, it would eventually all go to waste… or waste would go to it, rather. Towards the climax of the day, as all 14 of us miniature Johnny Appleseeds congregated towards the lunch table, I removed my reflective cap in attempt to safeguard it from any danger that a malicious five year-old may bring, and let’s just say I was far from successful. See, as the week’s designated paper-passer stalked his way around the table, delicately handing each student a sheet of paper detailing the ways to identify the types of apple slices we were preparing to treat ourselves to, he began to eye me and only me. He stopped at my desk, his lively visage morphing into one of paralysis. As a steady trickle began to echo around the room, I started to notice what was happening below it all. You may ask, “Was it the faulty faucet in the rear of the classroom?” The answer: something far worse. The trickle was the amber-colored product of my poorly-hydrated classmate’s own kidneys soaking through my aluminum creation. Though it could have been worse, the incident was no Saturday at Six Flags, and it’s horrors are all I can associate with Mr. Appleseed. So, is there any reason why I would want to honor Johnny Appleseed and remember this instance everyday by eating an apple? Certainly not.

     Maybe the snack is a coping mechanism, a product of an unideal experience from the seventh grade. One where my singlet-clad 80-pound frame stumbled upon the wrong bus en route to my first wrestling tournament. With my headgear enveloping my overgrown Carol Brady-esque hairdo and chants of “I believe that we will win” escaping my lips, I surmounted the final steps up to the bus to be welcomed by laughter from the eighth grade girls basketball team, as many gnawed on their pre-game apple slices. With dozens of girls howling at me, some spitting out the remains of their half-eaten apples, I felt as powerless as a tortoise in the supine position. Perhaps the crunch of the apple grants me the power that I wish I had in that moment. A sense of strength and superiority that had been stripped from me by the female apple-bearers. But was the laughter actually that traumatic? Do I truly need to eat an apple a day just to cope with the incident? I don’t think so.

     Perhaps I eat the daily apple just for the sake of the time it takes out of my day: my allotted apple time. A time free from rigid schedule, structured thought, and direct meaning. A time to unwind\ and let me venture away from the school projects and deadlines, working towards the apple’s core as well as my own. I don’t devour the apple just for the sake of doing it. I take a bite because I need this time, this freedom. In reading this, I hope that you are inspired to grab an apple and step outdoors, to take a bite and see where it takes you… even if you are a doctor.