It's Not Easy Being Green

Tweeting about chard is the only thing that will save us

By Austin L. Ray

I’ve been growing chard in a small pile of dirt in my front yard since fall 2015. I’ve been been tweeting observations about that same chard since January 2016. And more recently, I’ve come to believe that tweeting about the leafy green vegetable is, perhaps, the only thing that will save us.

You don’t necessarily have to grow chard to tweet about it, but one does make the other easier.

Chard is resilient, which means you can grow it in all seasons. Water it semi-regularly during a brutal summer and it will nobly persist, its colorful stalks sprouting gorgeous blades that, much like Sheryl Crow, are gonna soak up the sun. In the dead of a Southern winter, it somehow does the same. The world is often a difficult, angry, and hopeless place. Chard abides—take some reassurance in that, and tweet about it.

Call your chard harvest “dope-ass.” Refer to your chard as “the shit.” The juxtaposition of swear words and chard is surprising and delightful. Plus, it lets people know that you’re fucking serious.

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Insert the word “chard” into DJ Khaled lyrics that you tweet in ALL CAPS. Try adapting Migos songs as well, but stop when “Bad and Chardee” just doesn’t work. Make chard into a meme. Dig into the absurdity in a way that makes others feel like they‘re missing out. They’ll ask if you have recommendations for keeping squirrels away. They’ll stop you in the office kitchen and say things like, “I want to start a garden—what should I do?” Grow chard, friends.

There are plenty of ways to eat chard, but the easiest is to tear the leaves from the stalk into small-ish chunks, then sauté them. Add chard to soup, pasta, tikka masala. “It’s healthy,” you can tell your haters as you shovel box after box of Annie’s Homegrown Creamy Deluxe Organic Macaroni Dinner down your throat. Don’t forget to tweet about the dish, which you now refer to as “chard ‘n’ cheese.”

Read Jessica Harris’s “Green, I Love You Greens,” from our Spring 2016 issue of Gravy.

It might confuse people that you seem obsessed with chard, but that’s OK. Grow so much chard that you don’t know what to do with all of it. Bring chard to the office and give it away. People will understand, or they won’t. Live your best chard life.

Thanks to chard, you can walk onto your lawn and be reminded that not everything is chaos and existential dread. Some things are good. Some things are chard. Don’t forget to tweet about them.

Austin L. Ray is a new dad and decent-enough gardener in Atlanta, GA. He’s written for Good Beer Hunting, Rolling Stone, The Oxford American, and one terrible gas station periodical.

Illustration by Kendyll Hillegas

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