Joni Mitchell a legendary Canadian singer-songwriter. She has influenced countless musicians, both contemporary and current, and written some of the most famous rock/folk songs in history. Ironically, we all know those songs mostly thanks to cover versions other artists turned into chart toppers. Okay, that’s a little snippy. Nonetheless, the point is Joni is a big deal. I get that. I really do. So it makes it all the more difficult for me to say this, but Joni is really starting to piss me off.
I’m the grocery shopper in our household. I’m a stay-at-home Dad, so I look after all the cooking and other homemaker chores. Buying groceries is one such chore and it’s become my Sunday morning escape from the family. Yeah, I know, sounds ridiculous, but trust me an hour alone in a grocery store on a quiet Sunday morning is splendid after a week of loud children and other assorted hazards of parenthood. It’s my happy place.
At least it is until I get to the produce section and begin my weekly routine of choosing apples. I grab a plastic bag and stare at the unfinished pyramid of delicious red, green, and yellow apples only to have Big Yellow Taxi immediately start up in my head and those ghastly, chastising words repeat over and over like a nagging, motherly earworm.
Hey farmer farmer
Put away that D.D.T. now
Give me spots on my apples
But leave me the birds and the bees
(Joni Mitchell, “Big Yellow Taxi”, 1970)
Well I’m sorry Joni but I don’t want spots on my apples. I don’t particularly care if it’s just the birds and the bees. Why are they touching apples anyway? Pollinate the apple blossoms, fine, but then move along and stop touching my food. I have no idea where they’ve been or how clean they are whilst touching my future nourishment. I also have a sneaking suspicion that some of the spots are from wasps and those bastards are pure evil. I won’t give them the satisfaction of eating their handiwork. And let’s not even mention the caterpillars, worms, grubs and slugs.
Nope, I’m sorry, but I want perfectly formed, unblemished apples in my grocery bag no matter how much a Canadian icon unknowingly begs me otherwise. Take your hit song and the fifty-three hundred cover versions of it and get it out of my head. Let me choose my tree fruit in peace.