Home - Top Row


Home - Bottom Row

Let's Panic: The Book!

Order your copy today!

How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

Some Books
I'm In...

Sleep Is
For The Weak

Chicago Review Press

Home - Middle Row

Let's Panic

The site that inspired the book!

At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it. → 

« Buckets of fun! | Main | If you’re trying to make me cry, son, you’ve picked a good week for it. »

Rotten fruit from a pretty tree.

After Henry and Scott leave for Henry’s school (Henry deigning to leave me with a distracted “I, uh, love you too” and a limp wave as he is wheeled down the stairs) I head out with Charlie. It’s overcast and damp from last night’s rain. The wind is thrashing the trees around, the leaves are swirling all over the sidewalk, and Charlie is leaping and snapping at them. It’s perfect.

We go for a longer walk than we usually do, and at each block Charlie looks up at me as if to say, “We…we’re not heading back? We’re still going? Are you shitting me?” and then he resumes his cavorting and peeing.

The ginkgo trees have begun dropping their uniquely nasty fruits all over the sidewalks. I don’t know if these trees are everywhere, but if you’re not familiar with them—take it from me. The fruit smells like puke. Charlie won’t even pee on it, that’s how bad it is.

Across the street, there’s a man in a business suit wearing latex gloves and holding a large bag. He’s carefully picking the fruits off of a car and dropping them into a bag. This strikes me as reasonable—would you want your car smelling like vomit?—but then I see him continuing his work on another car. As we walk, I can’t help but look back, and he’s moved onto a third.

Either he’s the most thoughtful neighbor ever, or that is going to be one indescribably foul pie.

UPDATE!: Apparently the ginkgo fruit is used in various Asian delicacies. Carry on, sir!

Reader Comments (49)

POISON, not "poisong." I guess the latter would be when you kill someone with bad singing?
November 10, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterBelinda
Long time reader, first time poster. Delurking to point out that gingko is supposed to be good for memory, and from what I remember of the Botany class I took, it's an ancient, ancient tree that's basically unchanged since the time of the dinosaurs.
November 10, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterTessa
Ooh! Ooh! MR. SHOW! Ten cool points for you, missy!
November 10, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterLaziza
Better yet, Belinda, "poisong" is the act of slowly torturing someone to death by singing Poison songs. Beware the "Unskinny Bop".
November 10, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca
Gingko trees are popular in cities because they grow straight up and not out. '

The scent of the gingko is actually one of the things that connects me to my youth. I am one of those people that recalls everything with smells. I also like the smell of cow poop and skunk, but do not get me started on the stench of the Ralph Lauren perfume in the red square bottle. I could wretch-talk about shit!!
November 10, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterclickmom
Ooh! I think this is the weird fruit that my one roommate got my other roommate to eat at the restaurant we were at. And so after she tells me how horrid it is and she almost puked, she tells me to try it. Because, yeah, with that build up how could I not try it? She was obviously insane.
November 10, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterDM
Ginko trees were all over the place growing up in Tokyo. I LOVE them... but I do admit they smell foul in the fall. The golden leaves totally make up for it, though. And the ginko nuts taste sooo good. They put them in chawamushi, a savory custard, and it's my favorite part of the dish. Mmmmmmm!!!
November 10, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterBetsy
i was convinced for months that there was some bum that was taking his daily shit out side of this church that is on my way to work because it smelled so fucking vile. then a co-worked informed me of the true origin of the nastiness. i can't believe people plant that tree on purpose.
November 10, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterVena
"The seed is edible after removing the ovary pulp, shelling, and after being cooked. An overdose of the fruit could cause poisoning because the fruit produces hydrogen cyanide as a side product. It is reported that a dozen raw ginkgo fruits are toxic enough to kill a small child."

-well, I guess it's a good think they stink!
November 10, 2005 | Unregistered Commentersteph
ha ha!nice Freudian.
November 10, 2005 | Unregistered Commentersteph
I have been spelling ginkgo wrong my entire life. I think maybe I spelled it gingko or ginko. I don't even know. I'm just sure it wasn't ginkgo. Sometimes I wonder how I get my pants on in the morning.
November 10, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterMeagan
i am so glad that it was a mr. show reference and not an abel meeropol reference, because a "pastoral scene of the gallant [northeast]" would be one of those jokes that would be sort of funny and would also make me sort of uncomfortable, and i like to think of you as being at least slightly more nuanced and sensitive than i am.
November 11, 2005 | Unregistered Commenteranne
I think my Mr. Show reference makes me automatically less nuanced and sensitive than you are. If, instead of a title, I could put up a picture of a butt, I probably would.
November 11, 2005 | Unregistered Commenteralice
I am getting a little off topic now but re mr show: apparantly there is a fake david cross making the rounds in nyc that is claiming to be the real david cross and trying to pick up unsuspecting female fans. Don't get duped alice! Even if he promises to hand feed you roasted ginkgo nuts. (I too have been misspelling ginkgo my whole life. So glad your commenter made me notice)
November 11, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterLetterB
Bradford pears! God I hate those trees. Developers love them because they are symmetrical and grow fast, and have pretty white blossoms, but the blossoms give me a raging headache; they stink in an indescribable sort of way...not poop, but a metallicy/poopy smell. I was really mad when they planted some in my old Hell's Kitchen neighborhood. I had to change my walking route until the blossoms fell off.

Trees that fruit in general are just a bad idea for cities, I don't know why people think it's a good idea. There's always lots of rotting fruit and flies, and splatter on the sidewalk. Yick.
November 11, 2005 | Unregistered Commenteremjaybee
i remember collecting ginkgo fruit with my mom, wearing latex gloves and gagging from the odor. she used to roast the pits...once you crack open the seeds, the roasted fruit inside is actually pretty darn good...don't knock it until you've tried it. =)
November 11, 2005 | Unregistered Commentertiny cricket
I wonder about the word 'delicacy.' Does it mean: Something incredibly horrible that the Other (capitalization is compliments of grad school) likes? Do we call any of our food delicacies, (I say, in a fake politically correct way)?

But I'm glad I browsed through the comments. Now I know that if I go to New York in the Fall I can kill myself if I happen to be short on cash.
November 11, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterozma
I just like that emjaybee began her post with the exclamation, "Bradford pears!" It's a little like shouting "Great Caesar's ghost!" and then letting your cigar fall to your desk as Clark Kent and Jimmy Olsen recoil in surprise...
November 11, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterscott
I agree fruit trees in the city is a bad idea, but maybe not so bad as our plan to envigorate our boring grass yard with some pears and apples. We woke up in the middle of the night this summer to our dog going nuts by the back door as a couple bears snacked on our landscaping.And about the American delicacies, I recall some Japanese visitors saying Jell-O is disgusting and my Australian friend thinks root beer tastes like bad kids' medicine (Aussies do eat that crap vegemite, though). I also remember someone from Europe saying peanut butter was like flavored oil paint.
November 12, 2005 | Unregistered Commentermignon
A friend of mine down here in VA was talking about wanting to plant a tree and "Ginkgos are so pretty!""You don't want one." I said."Why not?""Have you ever smelled the fruit they drop in the fall?""No.""Two words, Beer Puke."

She won't be getting a ginkgo.
November 12, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterliz
Bradford pear blossoms smell like semen. And not freshly released semen, but the nasty dried sheetstain morning after semen. Sort of fishy-metallic-bleachy. Not that I know what that smells like.
November 12, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterLaurie
Any fruit this strange should ignite the imagination of Chem or Bio Grad students. Could be there's an undiscovered benefit here somewhere. At least a subject for a research paper.
November 17, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterwalter Bauer
No one would believe in this: the fruit is made into a famous dish by the cook of the Confucius family, hundreds years ago in the Song Dynasty.Here's the original story:

The dish is officially called: Poetry Ritual Ginko. This dish is well-known in the Shandong Style of Chinese cooking, which is one of the 8 major famous cooking systems in China.

The Recipe is here:

You can taste this dish in an upper class restaurant in a big place such as Tianjin, with advance reservation. Try this one:

December 25, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterLi_Hong_Kuan
All of you are dummies. The Bradford Pear smell is reminiscent (no pun intended) of rotting meat. The reason? Carrion Flies are-were-responsible for sreading the pollen. So guess what? The "smell" evolved to attract it's main ally.

Semen- For Christ's sake, how old was the guy?
January 16, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterKCD

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>