Answer Me! (please)

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A big part of journalism is supposed to be GETTING ANSWERS and one does this by ASKING THE TOUGH QUESTIONS. With that in mind, I want to ASK A TOUGH QUESTION, though my cynical, hard-boiled, ink-in-the-veins nature makes me think I won’t GET AN ANSWER.

(Before I go on, though, would you mind if I stopped doing the all-caps thing? Thanks.)

The big question I want to ask, the one that’s been hanging over our heads just as a giant ape would if Poe’s story of “The Pit and the Pendullum” had been called “The Pit and the Ape”, is this:

Just what did Popeye see in Olive Oil?

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that men are, above all, shallow. But that’s just on the surface. If you dig down deep into our psyches, you’ll discover … you’ve come out the other side because we really are that shallow. Anyway, the reason I bring this up is because the first thing a man generally notices about a woman is her looks. Sorry, that’s just the way we are.

It’s kinda reasonable, though. Nobody notices a person’s kindness first because it’s not the first thing you see. But you see a person’s “looks” right from the beginning. Except on-line. And then that “pretty young thing” you think you’re chatting with is either a 400 pound guy who lives in his parents’ basement or, if you’re lucky, an undercover cop.

Getting back on track, though: Olive Oil was not an attractive woman. I will readily grant you that Popeye wasn’t exactly Robert Redford and Bluto (or “Brutus”, depending on the episode) wasn’t exactly Paul Newman. [For you younger readers, who may not have understood that latest sentence, let me put it this way, “Popeye wasn’t exactly Justin Bieber and Bluto wasn’t exactly … that ‘Twilight’ guy. You know, the one with the hair. Not the one with the abs. ‘Cause with a beard, he probably WOULD look like Brutus.”] (Sorry about the all-caps thing.)

It would be hard to make a case that Popeye was attracted to Olive Oil for attributes other than her looks. She had a voice like nails on a chalk board [I probably need to explain chalk boards to my younger readers but I’m not going to]. She was fickle. Seriously, I don’t think she was just playing on Popeye’s jealousy. I don’t think she honestly knew whether she preferred Popeye or Blutus (or whatever his name was). One was abusive and controlling and the other carried cans of vegetables in his shirt, but at least the veg-ophile never tried to hurt her. Why would she give the brute (Ha! I just now “got” his name. That’s funny!) the time of day?

Spinach has had a rough couple of years here lately. First, there was that e-coli scare a couple years back, and now there’s all the irradiated spinach in Japan. It’s gotta be hard being a spinach farmer these days. But then, it’s been hard for decades because so many of us were taught from childhood that eating spinach would a] make you stronger and 2] destroy your taste in women.