Dear readers,

As the five of you know, every person I run into these days, whether it’s a waiter at a restaurant, Reverse-Byzantian Goat Herders, Computational Fluid Dynamics Engineers, Retirement Division Coordinators, or Waffle Salesmen, seems to have the same question for me:

Hai, where in the world can I find some silly icons of tomatoes? K Thx.

After decades and years and decades, I can now say “Go to my website, and type ‘tomato’ in the search bar.”
Please enjoy this short story as you wait the four seconds it takes to download the .zip file. You should read really fast.

Joe was a tomato farmer, as was his father. He knew every terrifying facet of tomato farming – that is, the business of farming tomatoes; as well as the less-subtle, spiritual aspects of tomato farming. Of course, he also knew famed, innumerable recipes featuring some form of the great and sultry orb of tantalizing ecstasy that is the modern tomato.

Joe’s father was also called Joe, as was his father; another figure in the history of The Magnificent and Infallible Tomato Farmers of Western Herendale County Proper. A proud line of workers, they all farmed tomatoes in a fashion greater than or equal to all tomato farming endeavors since the dawn of the tomato farming industry, which was Tuesday, 1994.

A long line of Proud Tomato Farmers.

Like all typically brilliant, husky tomato-farming farmers, Joe waited (as science and tradition demanded), that the tomato harvest not commence until the tomato herd grew as tall as the elephants’ eye. It is true; he had himself quite the elephant. Joe waited, and on the day expected, he eagerly paced in the kitchen with his lovely family: Josephine; his wife of 67 years, Joseph and Joey; his sons, and of course his precious daughter, Joanna Jo-Jo-Jo-Jo-Jo.

One harvest morning, in the crisp, nostalgic bosom of mid-autumn, Joe went into the the elephant shed, where an elephant is kept, in a shed. The elephant was dead. All hope was lost. Joe murdered his family and set himself on fire that night, in a dream. Later that night – well, the morning, really, the family had breakfast together, as they do every year on Harvest Day. After the meal, he briefly told his wife the great and terrible news of the elephants’ passing, and implored her to break this news to the kids with a tender and gentle hand, as they were promised to slaughter it that very next morning, as children will do on an after-harvest morning.

Joe set off to town, and bought a new Measuring-Elephant from the C.O.M.D. store, or the ‘Corporation for Organic Measuring Devices’, which is what the acronymstands for; not ‘Clammy, Oily Market of Despair’ – the general store across the street from the C.O.M.D.

Now, even though the ‘Clammy, Oily Market of Despair’ could also employ a sign that primarily uses the acronym ‘C.O.M.D.’ and have such an act be well within their legal rights, the owner, as Mister Ernesto Heminguillo, decided against doing so. “A lost cause” he’d concluded, largely because directly across the street from his storefront barrows a thirty-six foot (which is twelve-thousand meters) multi-colored, double-neon, reticulated, fringe-polymer fiberglass sign stood in judgement and declaration over the entire intersection, and read:

“C.O.M.D. – THIS IS WHERE YOU CAN BUY MEASURING ELEPHANTS, HOGS’ HEADS, HENS WEIGHTS, AND NOW SCRUPLES.”

Mister Heminguillo lacked the capital necessary to wage a modern, new-fangled advertising war with such a beast, regardless of their opportunistic theft of folks knowing that some store with the initials C.O.M.D. stood at the intersection of Main and 3rd Avenue. It was that association which gave them notoriety – many customers of the ‘Corporation for Organic Measuring Devices’ first came to the store thinking it was the ‘Clammy, Oily Market of Despair’.

Ernesto, in his infinite wisdom, decided that a battle with such a heartless fiend would be below the moral character of himself, and his products.

So he kept the original sign:

“Clammy, Oily Market of Despair: Well Sell Mollusks and Various Cooking Oils, and I, the Owner, am Adrift in a Sea of Hopelessness and Desperation.”

To his surprise, Ernesto Heminguillos’ strategy worked on the locals. They slowly grew a Walton-esque disgust for the intimidating, corporate behemoth in their backyard; the sketchy wholesale pricing, the vacant stares and plastic toothy smiles atop name-tags.

Joe is forty-three.

Download The Smarmy Tomato Icons Here.