Humans 101

Find Your Watermelon.

The secret to experiencing joy is learning how to notice it.

Sophie Lucido Johnson
Human Parts
Published in
8 min readAug 18, 2022

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Illustrations and photos by the author.

In a vacuum, I don’t really like watermelon all that much. I mean, if I’m just sitting in this vacuum, devoid of context, at a neutral temperature and with no one around, and a robotic hand is placing foods into my mouth and having me rank them, one to ten, I would probably give watermelon a five. The pros of watermelons are: they’re sweet, they’re juicy, they’re pink, they smell fresh, they’re easy to cut. The cons are: after one piece, they start to be TOO sweet; they’re sticky; they are a melon, which I like in theory but not in practice; and they’re really too big to eat alone.

I guess that last point could be a pro, too. Not if you’re in a vacuum, but in real life, with all its contexts.

If you definitely hate watermelon, and you’ve already read this far, (1) thank you, and (2) I’ll tell you right now that watermelon is actually sort of a metaphor — or more accurately, a word that I’m using to mean something else. You know how sometimes you can read about God and if you swap the word God for something else (humanity, love, The Great Mystery) the reading works better for you? (Or vice versa: maybe you read “love” and the word “God” works better.) “Watermelon,” for the next 2,128 words, will mean watermelon, but it will also mean God. At least, a kind of God. Insofar as God also means, as it certainly sometimes does, the impossible but undeniable existence of joy.

I used to subscribe to VegNews Magazine¹, and one month, they asked all the contributors to say what their favorite vegan summer treat was. ALL OF THEM said “watermelon.” At first I was dubious, but when I thought about it, “watermelon” seemed a sensible answer. A watermelon is simple, accessible, cheap. A watermelon is complete, and without any intervention, it’s the food you want it to be, especially in the summer.

(As a practical aside, if you did want an intervention for a watermelon, an ex-boyfriend of mine once picked cups of mint from our backyard and threw them in a blender with the meat of half a cold watermelon and blended it all up and we drank it and it did seem kind of magical that you didn’t have to add any water or anything to make a juice that was so juicy and so…

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Sophie Lucido Johnson
Human Parts

A person who writes and draws and eats her feelings.