From Liking to Loathing

For me, as I’m sure for many others, Popeye cartoons and spinach are forever connected.
There was a time when I liked both. It’s easy to picture a little kid liking cartoons, but spinach? Most children hate it; hating spinach is practically
a childhood tradition.

And then, when I was still in nursery school, something happened that changed my feelings towards Popeye and towards spinach.

Popeye himself was going to make an appearance at a local store

I don’t remember the exact event after so many years, perhaps I never knew it.
It may have been the opening of a new store, or it may have been an important anniversary. I probably wouldn’t have cared what the occasion was.

My Baba took me to the store to meet Popeye. I brought with me a can of spinach.
We went to Popeye’s dressing room, and I rather shyly proffered the can of spinach to him.
And he turned and YELLED at me.
Baba got me out of there….. fast!

A few nights later, there was spinach on the supper table. I took one bite, and became terribly, violently ill.
Baba, who did the cooking in our family, never put spinach on the table again.

When I grew older, of course, I realized that I’d been yelled at by a man in a Popeye costume.
But the damage had been done.

A traumatic childhood event can stay with you and affect the rest of your life. Even now, after so many years, I shudder at the memory, and I have a deep, deep antipathy towards Popeye cartoons, and an absolute loathing for spinach.

I’m just glad Popeye doesn’t have any connection to chocolate!


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