Okinawan Slime Potato
Okinawan slime potato, are you for real?
Okinawan slime potato, will you be my spirit animal?
If you were my spirit animal, I could stop striving. I could go to yoga class, and every time there was an “optional flow,” I’d go into Potato Pose instead, like Child’s Pose with all the striving taken out of it. Potato Pose is a lot like Moose Turd Pose, only a little more shapely. Moose Turd is more advanced, because it requires willingness and ability to be scattered, to be unhinged, to fall to bits while still remaining connected in some indefinite way.
Okinawan slime potato, if you ran for President, I would definitely vote for you. Your cabinet appointees might be a bunch of fungusy root vegetables, but none of them would have shady petrochemical pasts. I choose the optics of a bunch of lumps over yet another polished pupu platter of the patriarchy. Okinawan slime potato – may I call you OSP? – your values are dark and subterranean, but in a healthy way. You prevent global warming by never actually bothering to do any of the things that cause it.
Okinawan slime potato, you are the end of every career and non-career, and in fact, you don’t distinguish one from the other. It’s all slime to you, Potato. Just another slimy day underground. I open my heart to the sky, I bring my heart down to the ground, I balance on steady legs, backbend, shovel snow, initiate community arts projects, and meanwhile you, OSP? You just potato along underground, maybe multiplying yourself like dahlia tubers, and maybe not. What’s going on down there? You’re not a blogger gently coaxing others into recovery. You’re not a partisan, nor an expert, nor a buffoon. You’re a slime potato, for gods’ sake, and I’m beginning to think you’re genius.
This morning I woke up with two fur-potatoes neatly curled up on the right side of my bed. Which proves they know how to orchestrate themselves in this way, and also confirms my suspicion that, when they take up 98% of the bed, they’re fucking with me. Dogs can be fur-potatoes, and they know how to be polite about it when they so choose. Don’t let them tell you otherwise.
Fur potato, slime potato.
Why make use of Okinawa? Because it’s right there in the name.
Are you a truffle, Okinawan slime potato? At special occasions, do people slice into pâté with you as a treat in the middle? Foie gras sometimes comes in trapezoidal cans, which you have to heat up with warm water in order to melt the outer grease layer just enough so that you can push the whole loaf out from one end through the other. As a child, I remember eating quite a lot of this on toast: whenever it was someone’s anniversary, or birthday, or even Jesus’ birthday, though I suspect he’d’ve preferred we’d stuck with hummus. Then someone told me about force-feeding geese and I gave that whole scene up. One less trapezoidal slice doesn’t mean the loaf’s still not being squeezed out of the can. Do they at least use the geese’s feathers for pillows and coats? Or is there a strict separation between different types of geese-Inquisitors?
Okinawan slime potato, if we ate you instead of foie gras, would the geese get a break? Probably not. We are not good at giving creatures (including ourselves) a break. This week I found out about mulesing, which I had never heard of, from an ad online for something I didn’t want to buy, even though it was mulesing-free. Mulesing is when you flay the buttocks of sheep, so that the skin will grow back naked. It is basically a permanent bikini-wax for our woolly friends, only much, much worse. The claim is that this process prevents a terrible skin infection that sheep sometime die of. I am horrified. All the socks and long johns and sweaters are from tortured sheep? What the fuck? Okinawan slime potato, this kind of thing makes me want to join you underground, where it's probably warm enough not to need to mess around with long johns and down coats. It makes me want to grow full-body fur like those German Mary Magdalenes who surely never again turned to the garment industry for anything.
Okinawan slime potato, you don’t have buttocks, do you? No buttocks, no wings, no abs. You are one potato, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all, amen. Amen. No buttocks means you can sit anywhere. No buttocks means nothing to excrete. How do you excrete, Okinawan slime potato? Through your skin. Through the tendrilly leaves you send spiraling up through the soil, once the temperature is right. Your leaves and stalks, eating sunlight. Your potato-ball nourished by the soil. What a wonder! What a gift.
Slime potato fries can’t be a thing, because you can’t fry slime.
On the other hand, you can fry ice cream, so what do I know?
Slime potato fries and coleslaw.
I oscillate between being thoroughly sick of everything and wanting to play a part in relieving the suffering of all beings. I suspect this is not unusual – it’s just that many of the suffering-of-all-beings types keep quiet on their don’t-give-a-fuck days. They don’t write slime potato essays. They don’t flip the bird at teenagers who don’t know how to make a decent playlist. They don’t admit just how difficult it is to keep coming back to involvement, though maybe they should. And, to be clear, I’m not talking about graceful expressions of we’re-all-human-here. I’m talking about the kind of mood where you want to burn down the house and snort cocaine, even though you’ve never done either of those things, and likely never will.
In that house-burning, cocaine-snorting mood, dear Okinawan slime potato, I turn to you. You have no words of wisdom, but you just sitting there, slimy and useless as a rotten log, reminds me not to compound harm with harm. It’s a hard thing, this being human. This striving/non-striving, this weathering storm upon storm, heartbreak upon heartbreak, and re-finding center. Okinawan slime potato, you are my unseen keel, the mass looming under my hull, beneath the waves, keeping the whole ship upright when nothing above the surface feels steady at all.
Julie Püttgen is an artist, expressive arts therapist, and meditation teacher.
108 Names of Now