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Monday, November 16, 2009

4153 of my eye

The grocer's convention of assigning numeric codes to fruit and vegetables may seem unnatural, reductionist. I admit, when a lush bunch of radishes arises, that my first thought is no longer their color nor their salad potential, but: 94089. Yet a remarkable number of numbers actually seem to edify their edible equivalents. 4689 is a yellow bell pepper, round and golden as an eight or nine. 94409 is a Bartlett pear, crisp and heavier on one end, fourlike. With popcorn in bulk, diminuitive ones burst repeatedly into puffed threes: 1313. The mango's 94959 is a tropical rhythm on the keypad. And adjacent codes are friendly, as in 93127 (the pomegranate) and 93128 (the purple potato). Surely it is right and good that such colorful, surprising beings as these two, though from disparate soils, would be digital bedfellows, and that even numbers, underestimated and scorned, could be poets of produce.

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