History Will Thank Us for Determining Which Mushrooms are Poisonous.
BY Sam Kemmis
OK, folks—circle up.
I’ve heard rumors that people in the tribe aren’t happy with my leadership. Specifically, that people aren’t happy with my plan to discover which mushrooms are edible and which mushrooms are deadly poisonous.
But listen up: This plan is bigger than you or me. It’s bigger than who dies eating poisonous mushrooms and who doesn’t. This is about the culinary future of humanity, people.
You’re right, we do have fire, language, and symbolic art—the human race is doing pretty well. But I think it’s clear that we’re never going to reach our full potential until our dietary repertoire includes mushrooms. Somebody has got to step up to the plate and start eating random mushrooms. If we do this—if this tribe discovers which mushrooms are not poisonous—history will look upon us as heroes, my friends.
I never said this would be easy. There are literally thousands of different mushrooms in the forest, and so far we have discovered—let me check—zero edible mushrooms. Compare that to the seventy-three mushrooms that we have confirmed are deadly. I won’t sugarcoat it: Those are not good numbers.
But while the costs may be high, the potential benefits are enormous. Imagine eating a mushroom right off the ground—just popping it in your mouth. Or sucking on a cold mushroom on a hot summer day! The possibilities are endless—and delicious.
How do I know edible mushrooms exist, and that they aren’t all poisonous? That’s a good question—a fair question. To be honest, there is a chance that all mushrooms are poisonous. But hold on—hold on! Hear me out. I’ve just got this feeling deep in my gut that not only do edible mushrooms exist, but they are so delicious as to render all other foods obsolete. I could be wrong about this, but all I ask is that you trust me on this one.
This is exciting, people! This is a time of discovery. Who knows, maybe this blue mushroom is edible. Or this huge purple one with white dots all over it. Or this black, noxious-smelling mushroom.
It’s a mystery.
If the black one is edible I’ll name it whatever you folks want. Just go ahead and shout out some ideas.
Non-Poisonous Mushroom Number One? No, not that. Try to be creative.
Rocky Road? Hmm. That’s close, but not quite.
OK, OK, enough shouting out, let’s just go with Porcini. See? That’s a great name for a mushroom.
Alright, so that one didn’t turn out to be edible. But let’s keep our heads up, and maybe give Warren’s family some space to grieve. I’m sorry you all had to see that. But he fell as a soldier, a soldier in this war against mushroom-edibility uncertainty. And are we going to let his death be in vain? Are we going to give up on the battle he died fighting?
While I understand your hesitancy, let me assure you that the answer is a resounding no.
Now let’s get out there and eat some goddamn mushrooms and hope they’re edible!
SUGGESTED READSAn Eating Contest Begun in the Summer of 1996 and Continuing to This Day
by Levi T. Stahl (7/25/2000)
Traveling Europe in Style With Auckland Dingiroo, Dark-Age Tourist and Critic of Food and Drink: Avoiding Tainted Food
by John Hallmann (4/17/2007)
He’s A Porketarian And I Love Him
by Rose Gowen (7/30/2001)
RECENTLYLost Scenes from Generic Hipster Indie Romance Films Found in 2076 During a Museum Restoration of an Old MacBook Air and Subsequently Adapted for the Stage During Heritage Week at a Camp for 7th and 8th Graders Later That Summer
by Bethany Billman (7/22/2014)
McSweeney’s Quarterly Presents: The Road to 50
by McSweeney's (7/22/2014)
I Like Big Brass and I Cannot Lie: Confessions from the Tuba World: Enough Tuba Talk—Let’s Listen
by Elizabeth Eshelman (7/22/2014)
POPULAROur Band Only Sold One Copy of Our Album and We’d Like it Back
by Jake Tuck (6/26/2014)
List: Lines from The Princess Bride that Double as Comments on Freshman Composition Papers
by Jennifer Simonson (2/23/2012)
Client Feedback On the Creation of the Earth
by Mike Lacher (5/30/2014)