It's quiet at Dole Fruit today. As of this afternoon at 3pm, the Canning Operations department is shut down, Cannery Row is silent (we call it that because it’s where the actual canning happens, also because it’s shaped like a straight line, or “row”), and the entire Dole Fruit Plant (get it? Fruit Plant? I don’t know who thought of that, but I have two words for them: GENI and US!) is eerily dark and somber. We are closed next week because we are not the “US Postal Service” and unlike the mail, we do not “must go through.”
All the peaches and cherries and pineapples that are going to be canned by Dole in 2007 have been canned, pursuant to paragraph 6, section (b) of our Agreement To Can The Following Quantities of Cherries, Peaches, Pineapples, and Other Sundry Goods (hereinafter referred to as, “The Can-Can”). And now the giant, stainless hulks sit downstairs, stilled but nevertheless ominous, with their various tubes and robotic arms sticking out at the kind of menacing angles that would give a child under 8 years old nightmares that would ultimately result in therapy sessions not covered under the Dole Health Plan. The cleaning crew has been through and cleaned the last bits of fruit blood, or “juice,” off of the metal, and even though the scratches and scuffs run too deep for the machines to ever truly shine again, there’s something quite agleam about the whole scene.
It hasn’t always been an easy year, particularly for poor Ronnie Balboa (yes, that is his real name) who began 2007 with a dismal showing at the Briggs-Goering Existentialism-athon in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. Thankfully, he managed to redeem himself at the company Pick-A-Nick (co-sponsored by Hanna-Barbera) with a medal-worthy performance in the “Eat Only What You Can” contest. Also, just last month, he found out that he didn’t have The Herpes, so he has that going for him too.
For me, though, I’m going to remember 2007 mostly for the debacle of opting out of my contract with Dole. And also, for my date with Jennifer Love Hewitt before she got fat. Mostly though, my memories of Aught-Seven will be of the uncountable nights that I laid by the fireplace in my suburban house in the suburbs with bacon and a glass of brandy, and how much bacon loved me. And how much I loved bacon. And how I would slather bacon grease on my pectoral muscles and also the bald spot on the back of my head and sing classic bacon love songs while tears streamed down both of our faces. I truly love you, bacon. Come back to me in ’08. I promise it’ll be great.
Up here in the C-Ops break room at Dole, I can see the behemoth silhouettes of the machines on Cannery Row and hear the soft beeping of the coffee maker that someone forgot to turn off this morning. I’m betting there’s a sticky, tar-like substance chemically bonded to the bottom of the coffee pot by the time the rest of us are singing “Old Lang Syne.” I can smell the light and fragrant aroma of bacon from the grease I used to smooth my hair this morning. And I keep coming back to the same age-old conundrum that has plagued philosophers for dozens of years now: how pissed off must Andy Williams have been that he wasn’t invited to join the Rat Pack?
2008 promises to be an exciting year in the Copse. I’m already proposing to ol’ Rex “The Supervisor” Hyman that we look into debuting new product lines, including canned cherries with bacon, canned pineapples with bacon, canned grapes in bacon grease, bacon-wrapped-bacon, and what I hope will be the centerpiece of Dole Fruit’s vegan line: Canned To-Fruity And Facon, which is a tofu-based fruit substitute mixed with a tofu-based bacon substitute. I don’t know how you prefer your fruit – personally, I like my fruit the same way I like my women: stuffed in a can with bacon – but, my friend, this could really be your year to make the switch to Dole. If you haven’t already.
So from all of us at Dole Fruit, have a very merry holiday season, and a bacon-grease-coated new year too.