Christian Homeschool Resources & Homeschooling Advice

Talk to Tomatoes

  • Terri Camp Home school author and mother
  • 2002 30 May
Talk to Tomatoes

Not long ago I found myself yelling at my computer.  It wasn’t really the yelling part that made me laugh; it was what I said to my lovely computer.  I screamed at it, "Why don’t you just act like a human being for once and do what I want you to do!" For some reason I assumed it understood my most basic of commands, so I proceeded to tell my computer what to do.  "I want you to print THIS page.  I don’t want you to stall for five minutes.  I want you to print it NOW!" My computer responded by stalling.  This act of rebellion forced me to shut down the computer and begin anew, which also made me late for an appointment.

I’ve often wondered how computers or any inanimate object, although that phrase might be debatable with computers, can produce in us an incredible desire to throw something.  I used to have a corded mouse just so I would be able to retrieve it if I threw it across the room.  Perhaps you’re even thinking if I were nice to my computer it wouldn’t act so "dweeby," which is my technical term for "non-human with thought-like attributes."

Oh, I’ve tried being nice.  Once I even kissed my printer hoping that would make it work.  It didn’t.

For the past few months I’ve been noticing a bunch of things going wrong on my computer.  I was thinking it was simply reacting to my own life, or perhaps I was reacting to not being in control of one thing that is not supposed to be rebellious.  Either way, it was time for the computer to have an overhaul. 

I ventured into the nearest software store determined to find something to fix it.  I bought a lovely program in a box that looked like Tide.  It was a great marketing gimmick for a mom who wants to clean up her life!  I bought the box of Tide and went home to install it on my computer.  First it tells me I must uninstall all virus protection programs.  This was extremely difficult for me to do.  You see, I’ve had viruses.  And I will not go unprotected!  It’s kind of like my bottles of Lysol and Echinacea when someone in the house gets the sniffles. 

I did what the instructions said.  Then it asked me for the serial number.  I didn’t have the serial number.  I had to search online for a serial number.  Finally I sent a request for the number.  I have yet to hear back from them.  Now I have a fifty-dollar program which claimed to clean my computer, but instead I still have ring around the hard drive.

My solution? Delete every unnecessary item from the hard drive.  Funny thing though, after deleting many programs, drivers (what are those anyway?  I thought I drove this thing), etc., my system resources were lower than before.  It was like I had spawning programs, growing and devouring my memory.  Why don’t they sell a can of spray to clean out the bugs? 

After several attempts to do vital work Sunday afternoon, only to have all attempts met with frustration, I decided it was time to begin again. This is a scary thought, as I know it takes a lot of time, and I am certainly not an expert by any stretch of the imagination.  If I mess up, some of my life will be gone forever. I stayed up until three o’clock in the morning backing up files and programs.  I needed to be focused, and late at night is the only time I am assured I will not be interrupted.

Something strange happened to me in those wee hours of the morning though.  I began to sing.  I wasn’t singing just any song though. I began singing the "Bob the Tomato" song.  I’m sure you know it; it goes something like this, "If you like to talk to tomatoes, up and down the produce aisle..."  That’s all I know of the song, so I sang that over and over again. 

As I sat in my office chair, I began making up my own words to the tune.  "If you like to mess with computers, late at night when all are in bed, then you are more insane than I thought, yes you should rest your weary head.  But instead you are thinking computers, don’t you know life will not end, if you don’t get this done tonight, you might act like someone’s friend." It didn’t make any sense to me either, so I finally went to bed.
I often feel like my brain isn’t functioning properly.  I wonder if they sell a box of Tide-like stuff for that?  Just when I think my brain has turned to mush, I will be suddenly overcome with real thought.  I’ll have a brilliant idea.  Or perhaps I’ll finally remember what I did with my keys.  In the wee hour of the morning, it was no different.  As I lay there thinking that I had finally lost my mind and it was replaced with a singing tomato, I suddenly had a vision of my calendar and that I had an appointment first thing in the morning.  I rolled over, set my alarm, and then promptly fell asleep. 

In addition to devoting herself to her husband and the eight children she home schools, Terri also enjoys writing and speaking to offer encouragement to women in an effervescent, humorous way. Visit her Web site at or e-mail her at