As a veteran of marriage and of the fresh produce industry, I have found many words apply to both but don’t exactly mean the same thing in both realms.
Here are a few words that appear in both the marriage and produce “dictionaries,” along with their widely differing meanings:
bar code: In produce circles, the symbol of the Universal Product Code, readable by a scanner; in marriage, an unwritten agreement between men to never reveal anything to their wives that they discussed “with the guys” while drinking in a club.
broker: Produce buyer’s representative in negotiating purchase at shipping points or terminal markets; or, a term husbands use to compare themselves to one another.
buy one, get one free: Type of produce promotion; or, deal a husband gets when the woman he marries happens to want her mother to live with them.
checkoff: Term used to describe generic promotional efforts for a fresh produce commodity; or, in marriage, a type of list a wife creates to make sure a husband has enough “honeydos” to keep him busy and out of trouble.
Chile/chili/chilly: A nation known for some produce imports/a type of pepper/the type of reception a husband gets when he makes a candid remark about his mother-in-law.
colossal: Largest size of onions, exceeding jumbo; or, the type of mess a husband often finds himself in.
cooperative: Wholesale warehouse operation owned by individual stores; or the type of attitude a husband had better always have with his wife if he hopes to avoid sleeping on the couch or front-porch swing.
count: Number of items in a container, corresponding with the size of the produce; or, what a husband sometimes feels like he’s down for.
controlled atmosphere: Term used to describe an optimal atmosphere for storage of fresh produce; or, for a married person, an environment free of one’s spouse and children.
deal: Period of time in which growers and shippers in a certain area market their crops; or, what a husband had better make with his wife if he hopes to be able to spend some time with the guys.
demand: Desire for a produce commodity; or an unreasonable thing a wife makes on a husband.
disappearance: Movement from storage for such crops as apples, potatoes and onions; or, what a husband is always blamed for on Nancy Grace.
reusable plastic containers: Popular shipping method for fresh produce; or, what a husband eats every meal out of whenever he’s “batchin’ it” because his wife is out of town on an extended basis (i.e.: a used margarine container or a free plate included in a TV dinner).
ripe: Refering to produce that’s ready to eat; or, in marriage, an adjective a husband had better never use to describe his wife after she has returned from working out at the gym.
share: Portion of the market a produce company owns; or, a verb used to describe what husbands and wives did until about six months after their honeymoon.
shatter: Term used to describe when fruit like grapes or berries begins to age and separate from the stem and fall off the bunches; or, a verb used to describe what eventually happens to every wife’s dreams of what ideal marriage should be.
shrink: Losses to spoilage in the fresh produce business; or, in marriage, what a husband’s bank account tends to do, especially after he and his wife start having kids.
start-up: A newly formed company; or what a husband had better not do with a wife when he gets home if she’s had a particularly rough day.
supersweet: Term denoting fruit with extra-high brix levels; or a way to describe any rare situation when a husband gets his way in a power struggle with his wife.
turnover: Rate of rotation and/or replacement of produce inventory; or, what a wife tries to get a husband to do in bed when the husband starts snoring in her ear too loudly.
zero tolerance: Variation on “zero risk,” a standard for detectable pesticide residues on fruits and vegetables; or, a kind of policy every wife seems to have.
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