3 min read

Gradually Watermelon

because frankly we can all use a laugh

This past weekend was a holiday one in Ottawa, and I went to visit my friends Jenn and Nadine, recently married, ENTIRELY due to my goading them into dating each other, an act for which I have earned life-long bragging rights. I hadn’t been to their place since before the wedding, and an odd addition to the refrigerator door caught my attention.

“Hey,” I said, “Why do you have the words ‘gradually watermelon’ on your fridge?”

They burst out laughing in that way you do when someone points out a ludicrous part of your life which you’ve stopped really noticing.

They went on to explain that their nieces and god-daughter had shared a video with them — a video they would share with me now — which contained the phrase.

Perhaps you already know the video. Perhaps you are among the six million two hundred and fifty six thousand and four people who have already sampled its delights. I was not — and only dimly aware of the phenomenon of Google Translate Sings, where a tremendously charismatic young woman runs the lyrics of popular songs through multiple iterations of Google Translate until what comes out is amusing gibberish, and then sings it.

This was explained to me. Then Jenn and Nadine played me the video, which I shall play for you now.

Here’s the thing. I’m not particularly familiar with the works of Ed Sheeran, to the point where I didn’t know what he looked like until I watched Yesterday (a very charming film!) in which Ed Sheeran plays himself. His self-portrayal in that film did not lead me to think of him as a writer of sexy songs. No doubt this is my own failing. But actually reading the original lyrics (faintly pictured at the top part of the screen), which are very… body-forward, shall we say, and reconciling them with Ed Sheeran from the film, was extremely weird, especially as I find Malinda Kathleen Reese very attractive, even while she’s singing about man cubits.

All to say, there was a lot of cognitive dissonance going on, and so focused was I on the video that I completely forgot the reason I was watching it in the first place.

I experienced “gradually watermelon” in waves. First, the lyrics — “ah! THIS! Right!” — then the dead seriousness of the faces — “ha!” — then — then.

The watermelon.


Comes into view.

I absolutely lost it. I could not stop laughing. I was destroyed by the watermelon, rising  with the inexorable slowness of a moon, and all the subsequent shenanigans therewith.

That was three days ago.

This morning, I woke with “I like shapes” stuck in my head. Remembering with a dim fondness the experience of the weekend, I decided I had to show it to Stu, who usually hates what he terms “comedy songs,” but will occasionally indulge me.

I put it on. I grinned my way through, more focused on Stu’s reactions — and explaining my Ed Sheeran confusion — than particularly paying attention to the song. Stu chortled appreciatively a couple of times.

Then “gradually watermelon” started again.

It shocked me! I HAD FORGOTTEN IT AGAIN! Memories flooded back, remember, yes, THE WHOLE REASON I was shown this video, the words on the fridge —

and then the watermelon



and somehow I had forgotten that too, and began laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe, completely helpless before that sluggish squash, that careful canteloupe. Stu, at this point, was laughing more at me than the video. Eventually it ended, and I was released. I explained what I’d forgotten.

“You know,” said Stu, thoughtfully, “you really have a thing with slow-moving food.”

It took me a second, and then I remembered Parks & Recreation, and the scene that sends me into stitches if I just think about it too long.

That scene is this.

I immediately needed to watch it again. I did so. I laughed so hard I was in a thickness of tears — the kind of tears you cry when confronted with an enormous truth, when you learn something deep and irrevocable about yourself.

Slow-moving food is funny.

Gradually watermelon.