“I have too many tomatoes!”

It’s a common cry this time of year.  People with plants or who have been overzealous in an afternoon of picking at the farm find themselves with 40 pounds of tomatoes and don’t know what to do with them all. 

I don’t like tomatoes.  I don’t have plants.  I don’t go mater picking at the farm.

By 6pm last night, I stood in my kitchen and said to myself, “I have too many tomatoes!”

Because, that’s how I get down.  Or, to put a finer point on it, that’s how I calm down.


Mild insanity, I’m convinced, is mildly contagious.

A few days ago, the remnants of Tropical Storm Fay slipped across the Georgia border and dropped five inches of rain and a few little tornadoes on our little slice of Paradise.  In terms of weather, it was more wet than wild.  For a guy who likes a good dose of both, it was anticlimactic and more annoying than invigorating.  It also signaled the zenith of a group bug-out.

This is one of those things I can’t really write about without breaking several confidences.  Let’s just put it this way.  Many of my close friends are loopy right now, and I’m not quite stable myself.  Everyone has their own stuff going on and none of it is particularly fun.  With every little peccadillo arises another dilemma, and with every dilemma springs a new problem.  It’s ridiculous and unnecessary, but it is what it is and I am as much at fault as anybody else.

This is not about that, however, inasmuch as it is about what happens to me when I get buggy.  Typically, when in the middle of a mild freak-out, I turn to vice.  It’s usually a bar and it rarely ends well.  Yesterday, as the silliness bubbled, I sat at this computer on a slow burn.  I put one album on repeat and tried to calm down.  By 4pm, I knew it was going to be impossible.  I scouted potential landing zones and was nearly out the door, in a seat, and in front of a pint of Sweetwater 420 before 5pm. 

But that would’ve been a bad idea, right? 

Something in the back of my head whispered, “You should have too many tomatoes.”

I looked up and thought, “I should have too many tomatoes.”


The Greenville Farmer’s Market is a two-minute drive from my house.  It’s not the best market in the world, but it has a pretty good selection.  It was almost closing time, so I worked fast.  I picked out 20 giant maters, a couple of big onions, some green peppers, and some mushrooms.

The woman at the counter looked at me funny.  I was sweaty, unshaven, wearing a two-day old shirt and the mud of a mid-afternoon round of disc golf.  I nodded at my tomatoes as if to say, “How do you like them apples?”

When I walked back in the house, the wife looked at my bounty.

“Tomatoes?” she said incredulously.

I spent five hours last night making roasted tomato sauce.  I made enough to last through December. 

I used every one of the damned things.

Today, I need more tomatoes.

Brad Willis

Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

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5 Responses

  1. Falstaff says:

    Yeah, but why ARE we all going nuts? I shouldn’t be, but damn I just wanna jump in the car and drive east til my hat floats. Or south til I drown in tequila.

    We’re too young for mid-life crises, regardless of how much grey is in our beards.

  2. Skip says:

    Mmmm… tomato sauce. Hey, Otis, are you moving to Canada?

  3. Victoria Lucas/AKA/Sylvia Plath


    “Tea leaves thwart those who court catastrophe,
    designing futures where nothing will occur:
    cross the gypsy’s palm and yawning she
    will still predict no perils left to conquer.
    Jeopardy is jejune now: naïve knight
    finds ogres out-of-date and dragons unheard
    of, while blasé princesses indict
    tilts at terror as downright absurd.

    The beast in Jamesian grove will never jump,
    compelling hero’s dull career to crisis;
    and when insouciant angels play God’s trump,
    while bored arena crowds for once look eager,
    hoping toward havoc, neither pleas nor prizes
    shall coax from doom’s blank door lady or tiger. “

  4. Da Goddess says:

    I’m kinda glad to hear it’s not just happening to me. Honestly, I thought I was losing my mind. Is some weird post-full sturgeon moon thing? Is it the end of summer and oh my God, what’s becoming of us sort of thing?

    The thing is, there’s comfort in knowing I’m not entirely alone in this.

    I hope your tomato sauce keeps well. Sounds like I should get some of my own.

  5. Strawberry Shortcake says:

    Fay was a slut to us in FL – wet AND wild….as she sat on us for a week…ick.

    and now, this bitch Hannah is heading to my home as well 🙁

    I HEART TOMOATOES especially cut up in my eggs!