JWR Schticks and groans

Jewish World Review May 18, 2001 / 25 Iyar, 5761

Hold the pickle

By Jill R. Jacobs

http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- WITH National Pickle Week beginning today, an out of court settlement threatens to turn the festivities sour.

Blame it on Veronica Martin, who successfully resolved her claim against McDonald's in an out of court, no-pay, confidential settlement --- for the second degree burns she suffered when a pickle dropped onto her chin from a burger she was gobbling in Knoxville, Tennessee. The suit claimed that the pickle was "defective and unreasonably dangerous."

Mrs. Martin sued for medical bills, lost wages and physical and emotional pain. She sought $110,000 in damages, while hubby Darin claimed $15,000 for the deprivation of the "services and consortium of his wife."

McDonald's stands by its pickles and continues to "view this as an allegation without merit," according to a spokesman. They further deny any malice by the pickle as alleged in the lawsuit.

While the overwhelming majority of lawsuits filed in this country are credible, many Americans are growing increasingly intolerant of questionable lawsuits and wonder if some lawyers are pushing the legal envelope too far. There has even been a backlash against the Martins, who have received international media attention from this case.

While the case of "The Martins v. McDonald's" has been resolved, many questions remain unanswered. What did the Martins receive as compensation if there was no money involved in the resolution of the claim? Perhaps a lifetime supply of Happy Meals?

What emotional damage did Mrs. Martin suffer as a result of the pickle incident? Does she suffer from pickle flashbacks, or "PTPS, Post Traumatic Pickle Syndrome," that anxiety disorder that renders patients helpless upon the sight of a pickle or the color green?

Forget St. Pattie's Day. Just another day with the shades drawn for those afflicted with "PTPS." Mrs. Martin and fellow sufferers may never know the joys of a summer picnic or watching Kermit The Frog, as life has become torturous now, all because of that insidious green monster, the pickle.

Hubby Darin, while physically unscathed, has had to deal with the emotional aftermath and pain of being deprived of the affections of his wife as she has been unable to consort with him on any level since the pickle incident. This has left him questioning his own physical prowess in the bedroom. He has developed what psychiatrists refer to as "Pickle Envy."

"Pickle Envy" afflicts men and is not as rare as one may imagine. It primarily occurs during those intimate moments between couples, when the sweet talk of "amour" is replaced with incoherent babbling about gherkins, dill, kosher and Clausen.

Pillow talk is now pickle talk as the woman rambles incessantly about pickles, diminishing libido on the part of the male, rendering him completely disinterested in physical intimacy. Currently there is no treatment available for this disorder, not even Barry White, oysters or Viagra. It's a rough road for the male.

Later this month, many will attend pickle festivals during National Pickle Week, but it's my guess that the Martins and the many other sufferers who are aware of the dark side of the pickle will not be joining in the celebration.

There have been unconfirmed reports of demonstrations and candlelight vigils during this holy week where pickle lovers will unite and attempt to save its tarnished name.

The pickle, a misunderstood sour cucumber or a tasty vegetable? The jury is still out on this one, but for Veronica and Darin Martin, the case is closed.

Maybe Burger King had the right idea with their prophetic ad campaign a few years ago where customers were permitted to "Hold the pickle, hold the lettuce," because special orders didn't upset them. Had the Martins heeded those words, they could have taken a detour down the fast food highway of life and ended up bypassing this whole unfortunate incident.

But life is full of irony, tragedy and often best viewed in hindsight. I think Shakespeare said it best, when in "The Tempest, V.1," he asks, "How cam'st thou in this pickle?" It's a question that many of us find ourselves asking of late. I know I do. And it's food for thought.

Jill Rachel Jacobs is a Manhattan-based writer and singer. Send your comments by clicking here.


04/27/01: Forever a "Rules Girl"?

©2001, Jill Rachel Jacobs