The Cupboard Potato


Did you think I’d got the above phrase wrong?

Cupboard potato?! Surely I must mean couch potato. That’s the phrase most people are familiar with. Generally used in reference to a person who sits lazily, motionless on the couch. As if they were a potato.

I don’t like the phrase; I think it’s unfair to potatoes.

You see, potatoes never just ‘sit there’. It might look like they do, but they are in constant motion. Once out of the ground, with no access to water or nutrients from the soil, they are in a race against time. It may look like they are doing nothing, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Once I was rummaging through a kitchen drawer, in search of something, when I felt something unexpected, something unfamiliar, brush against my hand. A little shocked by the sensation, I withdrew my hand quickly. Clearly, my mind reasoned, there was some rare breed of man-eating spider in the drawer.

However, upon further investigation I found that it was something entirely different. It was a pale tendril, a  sprout from some plant or other. It was huge…

Having carefully followed it back to its source, I discovered it stemmed from a very small potato which had clearly fallen down the back of the kitchen cupboard some time before. Shrivelled and on it’s ‘last legs’, this small, tiny, apparently motionless potato had produced a sapling over two metres in length. It was quite amazing.

Despite being well out of it’s ‘comfort zone’, despite finding itself in an almost impossible position, despite being the poster boy for ‘lazy’, this tiny potato was in search of the light.

This cupboard potato didn’t consider for one minute where it was. It didn’t consider the ‘reality’ of its situation. It didn’t question whether it could achieve it’s goals, or face the fear of failure. It did none of these. It’s just a potato after all.

But it kept moving. It kept growing. It pushed and searched for life, because that is what life does. It sought to maximise it’s potential, to grow into something more.  Something bigger, something better.

We are all in a race against time, and sometimes we find ourselves stuck in places we don’t want to be. Sometimes the reality of our situations makes our dreams and goals seem impossible, and let’s be honest, sometimes they are.

But regardless of our circumstances, regardless of our fears, regardless of ‘reality’, there’s one thing we could all learn from the cupboard potato: don’t stop.

When you think about it – what other choice do you have?

Image credit: By Sarang (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Edited from original in snapseed

Leave a Reply