I ate an olive

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Many of you who read this post will look at the title and not realize its significance. You probably eat olives all the time and are thinking, “So you ate an olive—big deal.”

And then there’s the handful of you who have known me long enough to realize the statement is, in fact, a very big deal.


We’re not talking about a simple dislike of something I could push through if it’s all there was to eat. I really, truly, utterly, completely HATE olives and will go out of my way to avoid them. It’s so extreme that when my mom makes what I consider the best potato salad on the planet, she actually makes me a special portion without the green olives that are normally among the ingredients.

But guess what. I’m not a kid any more. I’m 45—an age I should be able to push through something I dislike for the greater good of adult responsibility. And who’s to say I can’t have a little fun with the stepkids in the process and make the disgusting ordeal worth while.

So this week, while having lunch with my family at Olive Garden, I made a deal with the girls who’ve been trying off and on to bribe me into eating an olive for a couple of years now. The deal centered around a chore that my disdain for doing comes pretty close to the same level of disdain for olives—cleaning the cat litter box. I told the girls, if they each cleaned the box twice this week, I’d eat an olive.

They agreed.

So then I proceeded to make good on my part of the deal by picking an olive out of the salad and popping it in my mouth.

I really wish I’d had the presence of mind to have someone take a video of the stunt. Sadly, I did not. Shame, because now I can only imagine the facial expressions I produced as I choked down the foul little black blob of bile.

But I did eat it.

According to my wife, I apparently chose just about the worst time to decide to make the attempt, claiming that the flavor of olives in an Olive Garden salad is far sharper than typical olives from a can that her family often produces at meals. For that reason, alone, I’m giving considerable thought into extending the deal to eating one on successive weeks the girls are home for the same chore on their part.

The jury is still out on that one.

One thing is firmly certain: after the decades that have passed since, as a child, I last sampled an olive, during which time my metabolism and taste preferences have morphed a bit as I’ve matured (yes, it happens), I can say with absolute impunity that the exact same childhood hatred of olives remains in full effect today.

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