Words from Dic(tionary)
Alfalfa: (n) a legume with clover-like leaves and bluish flowers, native to southwestern Asia; it is widely grown for fodder.
It’s really quite amazing.
I will never be able to consider alfalfa a legume grown for fodder. Instead, the fodder of alfalfa, to me, is a scrawny white boy with painted-on freckles, black hair parted in the middle, with a huge cow-lick sticking up in the back.
Yes, I’m talking about the young man who was the hero, sometime-villain, and always dopey foil of every ill-conceived plan from the cartoon, The Little Rascals.
Recently, during a particularly satisfying episode of channel-surfing, I stumbled on one of these grainy black-and-white productions done in the 1930’s and 40’s. I decided to watch.
It surprised me that as a young kid I would have been drawn to this adventure series. First of all, we don’t need to discuss how television negatively affects children today, when back then we sat them down in front of the box to watch The Little Rascals.
They were a nasty and cantankerous group of children, who did their best to perform evil pranks on their adversaries and promoted the bigotry of the day with a wide-eyed, purposely dumbed-down black child named Buckwheat.
Alfalfa was especially annoying to me. But I realized he was the exact representation of what makes America so mediocre.
- He wasn’t as attractive as he thought he was.
- He wasn’t the leader he thought he was.
- He wasn’t as successful as he thought he was.
- And just like so many of these musical shows on TV today, he couldn’t sing as well as he thought he could.
I kept waiting for something redeemable to come out of the escapade–some sort of Aesop moral which a young child could take away from the television set and proudly say, “There. I learned something positive today.”
It just wasn’t there.
Matter of fact, if some of the deeds of The Little Rascals were taken to juvenile court, they would definitely be spending some time behind bars, eating chicken pot pies.
So the word “alfalfa” is perhaps ruined for me forever because it represents a bratty, snotty, untalented young boy who thinks too highly of himself.
So please forgive me for failing to recognize the agricultural possibilities. Yes, I guess alfalfa is supposed to be a legume.
But on The Little Rascals … he was a fruitcake.