Madi battles a bag of baby carrots: A not-quite-listicle

Madi Donat/The Miscellany News.

Well, hello again, friends.

I must admit; it’s been a while. I’ve been chilling all winter break, definitely not freaking out about it being my senior spring and my having many, many projects due that I totally should’ve been grinding on over those blissful four weeks and mostly was not. But this isn’t about that. It isn’t even really about me. 

Okay, that’s a lie. It is about me. It could not be any MORE about me. All of my other listicles I did for altruistic purposes: What dorm would fit you best? For example, if you like mostly quiet and chill vibes, I’d go Strong. If you like hating yourself and not having privacy, Main is the way to go. I literally went through Hell for you, all to tell you what we collectively already knew: The Deece has bad teas, and the only reason we all gaslight ourselves into liking them is because of its endless supply. But this? This listicle is mainly for my eyes only. This time, it’s personal.

So what, you may ask, darling reader, could I possibly care about so much that I decided to dedicate such verbiage to it? Well, I’ll tell you. The other day, I was explaining to my housemate my usual ails of consuming a bag of baby carrots, which is something I do very often as I am a fan of both vitamin A and fiber. I was outlining my carrot selection process, and then my carrot grading process, both things that I’m sure every one of you also does because I am normal and behave normally. Then, my housemate said something to me that shook me to my core: 

“I’ve noticed that your baby-carrot-consumption experiences can be quite stressful. To take the edge off, why not rank the carrots in this specific bag of baby carrots from Stop & Shop and make a Misc article out of it, to profit off of your sick mind?”

 

And, lo, an idea was born.

 

This took much time, as you can imagine; while I can consume a lot of baby carrots in one go, I certainly can’t eat a whole bag at once. And I would never want to subject you to the intricacies in taste for each individual baby carrot in the bag. So, as a happy medium, I’ve decided to organize the baby carrots into archetypes, much like you would find at the Venetian carnival, a Shakespeare play or TVtropes.org, three pillars of our culture. Once describing each archetype’s characteristics in both normal and baby carrot universes, I will provide a grade on a scale I’ve made up by myself, then come up with a total grade for the bag of baby carrots based on weighted averages. It’s really pretty simple; I don’t know why I’m taking the time to explain all this to you. Let’s just get going.

 

#1: The straight man (carrot)

Every sitcom needs a guy (or not-guy) to make silly faces while shenanigans happen around them. Sometimes, this is the main character: a Jeff Winger or Michael Bluth type. Sometimes, they’re slightly off to the side, like Ben Wyatt from “Parks and Rec” or, the most overt straight man of all time, the beloved Jim Halpert. Their comedy lies not in the silly shenanigans they get up to (usually), but rather in their reactions TO the chaos. Their expressions and mannerisms are never not meme-worthy, and they usually are the center holding the entire group together. To me, this is like the affable, lovable, get-what-you-see carrot. A carrot that makes you say, “I don’t know what I expected,” à la opening a bag that says “Dead Dove Do Not Eat!” and seeing a dead dove inside. When I take a baby carrot out of its little safe cellophane home, I am, perhaps naïvely, expecting a sweet, bright crunch that improves my life. The straight man carrot is what happens when, by some divine act, I receive a carrot which not only delights my senses, but also restores my faith in carrots as a concept forevermore. This carrot does what it is supposed to do, even with my high expectations. Isn’t that just beautiful?

Grade: A+

#2 Scaramouche (carrot)

A Scaramouche is one of the many archetypes of the Venetian carnival, characterized by his black mask and shirt. He is a lovable buffoon with a heart of gold, but he regrettably doesn’t have much going on in the brain department. The website I sourced from said he’s “lazy and gets beaten often,” which seems a little intense, but I couldn’t help but be reminded of my second carrot archetype: the promising specimen who returns only dissatisfaction. Instead of a clean crunch, for example, I am faced with a wet and limp mouthfeel. Or, instead of sweetness, I am simply left with a taste of nothing. Now, let’s be clear: These carrots do not taste BAD. They just make me forget why I like carrots sometimes, is all. A carrot that makes you think, “Why am I doing this again? What is to be gained by grading the carrot types in a bag of baby carrots from Stop & Shop?” Everyone has these thoughts. It’s okay.

Grade: B-

#3: The obvious villain (carrot)

Pieces of media with twist villains are always entertaining, but there’s something to be said about someone who you know from the jump is gonna be the bad guy. In “Twelfth Night,” the villain’s name is literally Malvolio. He’s going to do bad things. Or in “Othello,” where Iago just kind of lets everyone know at the beginning that he sucks and is going to cause chaos and terror because that’s what he’s into. You kind of know what’s going to happen after that. And, listen—I’m not a fan of judging people, books or even things by their covers; what may look odd to one looks great to another. That said, of course, sometimes you just know a carrot is gonna disappoint before it even goes in your mouth. The ones that look like fingers are especially egregious, with their brown knuckle lines and disconcerting curve. But, listen, I like to believe I’m a good person. I like to believe that I’ll give a carrot a chance, you know? So I try it. I try to see past its similarity to human phalanges and give it a go, but it’s never quite right. If it looks like a villain, a villain it will often be. There are no sleeper enemies in the land of Carrotville. I should learn this, and soon. 

Grade: D

#4: The wolf (carrot) in sheep’s clothing, AKA the Brighella

Now, this one is the most disappointing. Brighella’s archetype page states that he is a master liar as well as a fire-eater, so the man really has no shame. And a wolf in sheep’s clothing goes one step further, purposefully disguising themselves to be good when in reality they are nothing of the sort. While I don’t want to speak on the moral compasses of baby carrots specifically, I can confirm that when a carrot that looks delicious turns out to have deceived and is in fact terrible, that’s a level of betrayal known by few. Can I judge a carrot by its exoskeleton or not? If good carrots look good and bad carrots look bad, what then is this? Have I been tricked for laughs? I try to up my daily vegetable intake and get left with this? It seems incredibly unfair. From the outside, they seem like normal morsels, delicately shaped and bright orange. Sometimes, a small part of their appearance will be unusual, but nothing to throw me off. Their disguise, then, has worked: I am disappointed, the carrot bag is emptied, Brighella swallows fire.

Grade: F

Madi Donat/The Miscellany News.

So, that’s all there is to it, really. Next time you find yourself face-to-face with a bag of Stop & Shop baby carrots, use this grading system to assess the average of your bag. My bag, which was labeled bni22l27r, was at a solid B+ average, which is pretty good in my opinion. I hope you can remain informed for your future carrot adventures, and you can thank me later.

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