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Oklahoma legislators try to declare watermelon as vegetable


Gazette staff April 26th, 2007

Welcome to Oklahoma, where our chickens aren't animals, our beer is nonintoxicating, our watermelons are vegetables, and our doo-doo don't stink.   The efforts of RushSprin...

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Welcome to Oklahoma, where our chickens aren't animals, our beer is nonintoxicating, our watermelons are vegetables, and our doo-doo don't stink.

 

The efforts of RushSprings' favorite son, state Rep. Joe Dorman, finally bore fruit.

 

Oops. Make that vegetable. The rural Okie Democrat moved heaven, Earth and apparently genome to get the state vegetable to be declared as the watermelon.

 

Oh, thought that big, round, juicy green orb with red, juicy pulp in it was a fruit, did you? Well, according to his bill, that ain't so.

 

The terse one-liner doesn't mince words.

 

"NEW LAW" the bill declares. "The watermelon is hereby designated and adopted as the official vegetable of the state of Oklahoma."

 

It's important to note Dorman might have had a not-so-hidden motive behind his fruit fetish. RushSprings is home to one of the largest watermelon festivals in the state. Dorman said he hopes that the effort plants a seed, The Oklahoman reported.

 

"It will help spread the word about the watermelon festivals around the state and promote one of our best agricultural products," Dorman said in the story. "With the push for agritourism, this ties right in with promotion of these goods and encourages people to visit these festivals. When people visit, they spend money, which contributes to the local coffers. This will help each of the small towns."

 

The job was split between Dorman and his Senate counterpart, Sen. Don Barrington, R-Lawton. Barrington passed the Senate version of the bill, declaring that although Merriam-Webster defines the watermelon as a fruit, it is also a vegetable relative of the cucumber " in the gourd family, according to reports.

 

An attempt to squash the bill failed, and the measure passed the Senate by a vote of 78 to 19 (and what's up with those 19? Did the rest miss something obvious?).

 

Barrington said, "The controversy on whether watermelon is a fruit or vegetable has been officially decided by the Oklahoma Legislature," The Associated Press reported.

 

Yeah, yeah. And, years ago, a judge ruled that chickens aren't animals, and the Legislature decided that 3.2 beer is nonintoxicating.

 

Why not okra as the state vegetable? Apparently legislators decided that the idea wasn't worth spit. The watermelon measure now goes to Gov. Brad Henry for his chop.

 

But the governor might be in deep doo-doo of distraction for a while. See, he recently signed into law a measure that declares manure is not hazardous in Oklahoma, according to a recent story. A good thing, considering.

 
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