A crushing snack story
ZAC: A lot of people think of pineapple as a snack. But for me, especially when I look at this picture, all I can say is that pineapple is a source of great personal trauma. Look at me, so joyful in my naïveté. I was carefree back then, full of promise, just a young guide barely into my mid-to-late forties. And then along came Jess Perry, who challenged me to a bout of pineapple boxing.
JESS: I had never heard of Zac Munger (?) before this trip, I think he may have done one or two other river trips before this one, so I knew he needed to be fully micromanaged. After four days of watching him like a hawk and critiquing his every move, he finally showed promise in just one area of skill – the ability to cut snacks into games. I was proud, but would never give him the satisfaction of praise, so I demonstrated tough love by challenging him to the age old game of pineapple boxing. I had no idea what was coming from this extremely young river guide.
ZAC: If any of you have met Jess Perry, then you know she’s like most ARTA guides: selfish, mean-spirited, with a win-at-all-costs Ayn Rand mentality. But I didn’t know that back then; I thought pineapple boxing would be fun and lighthearted. The game is simple: you carve up the pineapple, leaving the “spine” to grip. And then you box. The loser is whoever’s pineapple disintegrates first. Simple and fair, right? But look closely at the picture above, people. Specifically, look at her thumbs. They’re wrapped right over the top for extra stability, a flagrant violation of democratic norms. I didn’t stand a chance…because Jess Perry cheats at games.
JESS: Despite my near-perfect micromanagement of every aspect of every river trip that summer, I was unable to predict or control the outcome of this tense match-up with the stern, serious, completely humorless young gun Zac Anger (?) The pressure was mounting as the group crowded around us, eager to cheer me on, the clear favorite, and humble too, as Zac and I faced off in a snack battle for the ages!
ZAC: I admit it, Jess beat me. It wasn’t fair, but she beat me. I’m not going to complain about it or highlight the fact that she cheated (because she’s a cheater) and that it wasn’t fair at all. I wouldn’t do that because I’m not a complainer. Even though Jess cheated and that’s not fair. A lot of people (like Jess) think that river trips are about winning or establishing dominance or about crushing your enemies. Some people—like Jess, who cheats—think pineapple is a path to personal glory. But I know better. A pineapple isn’t a weapon. A pineapple is simply a piece of fruit, the thing you eat after lunch when you’re pretending to be virtuous before you sneak over to the drinks table and pretend not to eat four Oreos with peanut butter on top.
Which isn’t cheating, Jess. That’s just smart snacking.