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There was Popeye yesterday, turned into a children's ride, a little boat for two where Natalie became his Olive Oyl.

I never liked Popeye. I thought it was a stupid show, thought that Olive Oyl was a passive-aggressive bitch who made herself out to be the victim just to get attention, thought that Brutus should pick on someone his own size. And Popeye, well he was just a wimp who could only stand up for his girl or himself when he had some spinach in him. Please. Spare me. Even as a kid I used to think, what the hell does he want with that Olive Oyl anyhow? She's ugly and scrawny and uses him to no end. Let her go with Brutus and let her find out what happens next time she screams for help and Popeye decides he'd rather kick back with a few brews than eat that godawful spinach again and risk his neck saving a woman who doesn't even appreciate him until his muscles show.

Then yesterday, as I stared at Popeye and his magic vegetable, I wondered if we don't all have our own version of spinach. Something that makes us stronger in situations that call for strength we don't usually possess.

Sure, I have my imaginary spork o' death, and I use it to pretend that I am picking out the eyes of those that want to bring me down. I have coffee, that gives me the adrenaline and caffeine rush I need to threaten to kick in the car windows of anyone who doesn't stop for a school bus or use a turn signal properly.

I have humor, which allows me to make frog-in-a-blender jokes and bad puns about dead people in order to stave off the depression that might otherwise sneak up on me when dealing with death and all things evil.

I think for Popeye, spinach was just a metaphor for the strength one finds when defending love and honor and self. Even if he was a poor misguided soul who never realized he was being played for a fool, Popeye sure had good intentions. You do anything for someone you love that deeply. Lay down on railroad tracks, stand in the way of a bullet, tell them you aren't the least bit embarassed by their bright Hawaiian shirt.

Spinach is love and love is what makes me stronger. Love and passion and I'm not just talking about the love that comes with children and soulmates, but the love of everything you do and the way you live and the way you want things to be. Passion for what you believe in and your right to believe in it. It's what makes you fight the good fight even though you know it might be futile in the end.

Even if Olive Oyl did secretly love Brutus, Popeye did the only thing his passion and spinach allowed him to do - fight out of passion and honor and hope in the end that some spark of justice would prevail.

What's your spinach?


My spinach, too, is love.

But more frequently, it's that cure-all : chocolate milk.

Currently my professional spinach is apathy.
Social spinach is probably caffeine or beer...

my spinach is a strange brew. it's a fire in my belly, anytime i see injustice. i want to stamp it out and set things right. it's also compassion, and empathy, and i suppose on a large level, love of life, respect for life, and my own need to do something worthwhile with myself. my spinach is drive.

Lord, what a difficult question to answer. I don't think my spinach is nameable. It's some odd little toughness in the center of me, tempered by my seemingly bottomless and, sometimes it seems, foolish interest in other people. It's just sort of there, underneath all the nerves, holding me up at the end of the worst of days.

How the heck did he get his shirts on over those huge forearms?

As a young girl, I saw Olive Oyl in a different light. When I looked at her, madly sought after by two diverse but almost equally powerful suitors, I thought it was possible to the object of someone's longing even if you were not Barbie-perfect in appearance. Big feet, bad hair and a limited wardrobe did not diminish her desirability. She had her own house, too, although I alwasy did think it needed accessorizing.

I knew that I didn't have Barbie's beauty or fabulous wardrobe - and probably never would - but watching Olive Oyl in action and seeing her female power gave me hope for my future as a woman.

My spinach is my husband, as corny as that sounds. Knowing that someone loves me, no matter what, helps me get through anything. I could also say my mother and my brother are my spinach. Humor is also my spinach. The day I can't find something at which to laugh, even in the face of something truly awful, is the day I'll just lay down and die.

As an aside, my husband and I were just talking about Popeye a few nights ago. Ever notice that he's able to pop those cans of spinach open by squeezing them? Seems to me, anyone who can open a can by squeezing it is strong enough to not need the spinach inside.

I've been searching for the spinach all my life.

Still searching.

But a weird guy keeps offering to gladly pay me tuesday for my hamburgers today.

I think its about sex.

I'm calling the cops.

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