On the day his wife passed away, Roger Carlson got to carving out the inside of their prize winning giant potato. The potato was a Yukon Gold potato, named as such for being found near the Yukon River, and its yellow tinged flesh. In the potato, he carved himself a potato bed, a potato couch, a potato television set, a potato bathroom, a potato door, and amongst other potato furniture and items, he carved himself one single potato window. Roger was not taking the passing of his wife well. As soon as he closed his potato door, no one saw him for weeks and weeks on end, despite the strong efforts of the townsfolk. They stopped by with sympathy gifts and letters, meals, but none of it was enough to entice Roger to leave his potato home. Roger survived during this time unsurprisingly on potatoes in many forms; French fries, home fries, scalloped potatoes, baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, and so on. During this time, Roger found himself drinking large quantities of potato vodka.
Years passed and Roger remained in his potato home. One day, an old friend, Eleanor, came by and yelled up to Roger hoping her voice would carry through his potato window.
“Roger!” she yelled. “Roger, it’s Eleanor, your old friend. Roger, listen you’ve gotta come outta that potato. It’s not healthy and its starting to smell terrible.”
“I’m used to the smell,” said Roger, “And the world has nothing for me.”
“Roger!” yelled Eleanor again, “You gotta get over that shit. Loss is hard, you know I lost Buck just recently, but you can’t just bend over and take it. You’ve gotta push back.”
“Push back how?” said Roger, “Everything I’ve ever loved has disappeared on me.”
“Well…” said Eleanor, “You’ve gotta go out there and find new things to love. You’ve still gotta love yourself.”
But Roger wasn’t having it. Drunk on potato vodka, he cut a large wedge from the potato floor of his home and crammed it into that one empty window, blocking out all daylight and any interaction with the outside world. Lying in his potato bed, Roger noticed how empty the floor looked. Where once was the round cross-haired silhouette of the window, there was now nothing. Roger fluffed his potato pillow and fell asleep.
When Roger awoke some odd hours later. He had no idea what time it was. He had no idea what day, what month, what year it was. No idea what the weather was like outside of his potato. Roger, hungover, thought about his poor wife. He thought about their farm and their dreams of having children and growing their farm. He thought about their dreams of having horses and riding them through the beautiful gold rush country of Northern Canada. Roger thought about his life now. He always wanted to see the great art museums of the world. He especially wanted to see the works of Frida Kahlo. He loved her work, and it was especially sentimental to him as his late wife would spend her spare time painting replica paintings of Frida Kahlo’s work. His favorite was one entitled What the Water Gave Me, a point of view painting of Frida staring at her feet in the bathtub, floating on the water images from her life; Frida said the painting was about her childhood and the passing time of her life and reflecting on all the bad things that happened to her. Staring up at the dark potato ceiling, Roger could just see the painting now. He could see his wife in the darkness, recreating the beautiful painting. Roger thought to himself, it’s time. It’s time to get out of this potato.
Roger threw on his pants and went to find the door to the potato. He pressed against the walls searching and searching for the door handle he’d carved out. He circled the entire perimeter of the potato several times, searching up searching down. The handle must have fallen off. Roger began pushing hard on the walls of the potato searching endlessly for the loose wall and his gateway to freedom from his own potato prison. He had to see Frida Kahlo. He had to live his life, but the more he searched the more he found there was no wall to open. Lying on the floor, he cried, a slight light seeping in through the cracks of what was once his window to the world. He was lost.
Frida Kahlo once said, “Don’t build a wall around your own suffering or it may devour you from the inside,” but poor Roger Carlson had never heard that quote.