When life may or may not give you lemons

I was at the gas station and I overheard someone say “Did you know lemons aren’t real?” And the person they were talking to was like, “Yeah, I heard that.”

And then I couldn’t stop thinking about it because WHAT IS HAPPENING so I went on twitter for their feedback and most people were as baffled as I was, but quite a few people pointed out that there is an ongoing internet argument that since lemons are a hybrid of a sour orange and a citron then they must’ve be man-made and so technically life didn’t give us lemons….we gave ourselves lemons.

I googled “are lemons real” and google suggested I search for “DO LEMONS EXIST?” which makes me think that even google is a little confused at this point. I found an equal number of websites saying “lemons are man-made”, “lemons are a naturally concurring hybrid”, and that “no one knows where lemons come from”. But even if they were man-made wouldn’t they still be real? I mean, babies are man-made and don’t naturally occur in the wild, but they’re still real, right? Are the rules different for fruit? How does science work?

Anyway, I don’t have an answer about lemon origins except to say that they are at least as real as babies, and if they aren’t real then what the fuck did I just eat?

Edited to add: I was referring to lemons. I did not eat babies. Not sure that clarification is necessary but at this point all bets are off.

71 thoughts on “When life may or may not give you lemons

Read comments below or add one.

  1. Had a momentary concern there, thanks for the clarification. Grammar and sentence structure are hard…

  2. Ohmigawd, I live for this kind of shit! Thank you, Jenny, for this delightful nugget

  3. Great. Something else to worry about. I believe I am a hybrid. But I do not look like a lemon. Maybe a lemming, though.

  4. When life gives you lemons, you can make lemonade, but without sugar it’s going to suck.

  5. I appreciate the clarification. My first thought was, “A BABY?!?!”

  6. Well, babies and lemons can make one bitter or, add sugar and voila! Babylemonaide!

  7. Why lemons specifically? Almost all of our citrus fruits are the product of crossbreeding different things together until something better shows up. And I’ve never understood that phrase, I’d love to have lemons regardless of where they came from, because they’re just so useful for so many things. If life gives you lemons, great! Your cooking will have so much flavor now!

  8. Well that’s just totally messed with my already autistic, overthinking brain. Lol.
    I do love this type of weird conversation though as it is the same sort of thing my autistic 15 year old son and I have as well as with my brother.

  9. Corn (maize) isn’t real. It really was created by Native Americans breeding a really unpromising plant (teosinte) until they got we recognize as corn, but looks nothing like the plant they started with.

  10. Apparently, the tree I’m looking at isn’t there. I’d wanted it to be in a different spot, and now I don’t have to worry about moving it.

  11. I’m going to go with “if lemons aren’t real, then no domestic agricultural crop is real” since we’ve bred everything to be so far from the wild relatives that we started with. Wikipedia says lemons first appeared 2nd century AD, so that’s long enough of a history for me.

  12. This explains why my so called “lemon tree “ never has baby lemons.

  13. If life gives you lemons, what do you make with them if they aren’t real?

  14. Since tomatoes and potatoes are both in the nightshade family, I want someone to breed a hybrid that grows tomatoes on the green parts of the plant and potatoes on the roots.

  15. LMAO, lemons grow on a tree, so did we man-make the tree? I swear some people have too much time on their hands and need to use it to go back to school and get better educated.

  16. Almost everything on this planet is constantly evolving, mutating or crossbreeding.
    Dogs are a result of humans breeding friendly wolves to other friendly wolves until we bred the wildness of the wolf out of them, then we bred them for specific traits.
    So are dogs not real?
    Or are they, like lemons, simply the result of human interventions or impacts in the natural world, or mutations that would have possibly occurred anyway over time as part of the ever changing planet we live in, where diversity helps protect against disease, inbreeding or surviving natural disasters and an ever changing climate or environment?
    I prefer to think everything you can see or touch or hear or smell in the analog world is real, but whether it is natural or not, depends on how much human intervention it took to make something new and/or unnaturally occurring out of naturally occurring elements or ingredients.
    It’s either that, or it’s all an illusion….
    A giant fever dream in the universe.

  17. Well DANG! I’m 69 years old now and I’m way too old to take in this kind of information. I am vaclempt. I am gobsmacked. I need to take a pill and go lie down.

  18. Satre would say the lemon exists for itself. Therefore it exists. Except it isn’t human. Therefore it has no humanism, no being, and does not exist. I don’t let these thoughts keep me up at night. I’m only concerned if there will be a 14th season of Vera.

  19. If lemons aren’t “real” then people aren’t real either. We are all hybrids also. Also, virtually all food is a hybrid of some kind.

  20. Someone just gave us a Trifoliate orange tree and told us the fruit tastes like lemons and grapefruit.
    So I suspect oranges might be not be real either and now nothing makes sense

  21. Have you looked up “birds aren’t real”? The sentence was on a billboard I pass often. Of course I had to run a Google search. The explanation has just convinced me that the shallow end is very, very crowded.

  22. I was recently approved for medical 🍃 for chronic pain and anxiety. And I’m trying an increased dose tonight. And I just read this post three times and still have no idea what is happening.

    I think my dose is working. Because I don’t feel my pain and my anxiety has been replaced by thoughts of lemons.

  23. We are doomed if people are believing lemons aren’t real. Hell, we’re doomed anyway with this mindset and mentality (or lack thereof.)

  24. Wait, are we real? I warn you, I have an absolutely useless degree in Philosophy and I can go way deep on this one.

  25. So this is to say that there are dozens and dozens of crossbreed apples out there, and they seem to be real. Some have died out, but they were real. Look at all the breeds of chickens and dogs and cattle… which are the real (start with the ark) ones?

  26. Never order a baby for dinner. It takes too long to prepare and the delivery cost is high.

  27. Whether lemons are real or not, they make an excellent substitute for limes in guacamole, per my Ecuadorian mom.

  28. What a world we live in. Can’t even trust the common lemon. Which has over a thousand uses btw.

  29. Check out a thread/site called “Someday English will kill us” and all will be explained….Someone posted a sign at a lake or by a river that said “Crocodiles don’t swim here.” And I thought how nice that someone is looking out for the well being of crocodiles. But then I thought except crocodiles don’t read, unless they do… and then I thought Florida could post signs that said “ Sharks don’t swim here” so sharks would know where not to hang out . But then I thought, wait is this a trick and crocodiles actually posted the sign to encourage humans into the water… and now you see how the English language is the real problem likely to kill us and not crocodiles.

  30. With all the conspiracy theories out there I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that elbows aren’t real, they are a figment of our imaginations!

  31. My nephew is a teen who follows the “birds aren’t real” group which is also strange!

  32. My alleged lemon tree just bore a whole lot of allegedly fictitious lemons for the first time in 3 years and I have been consuming them with gusto. I don’t care if they are real as long as they add that zing to my tea and recipes.

  33. Does this mean I can throw lemons at people and not be charged with assault?

  34. I come from a long line of Citrus growers. My second cousin, Orton Englehardt, developed a citrus fruit which looks and tastes like a cross between an orange and a grapefruit. Very delicious! I have the unnamed tree in my yard, given to me by the Rare Fruit Growers Assn, upon Orton’s death. It was planted next to my kumquat tree. I neglected the kumquat tree and it almost died, but “morphed” into a lemon tree, which has very ugly, gnarly, almost juiceless, lemons. The kumquat was obviously grafted from lemon stock, which is commonly done by citrus experimenters.
    I also have a lime tree, mandarin tree and Washington navel orange in my yard.
    I’m in Southern California.
    Just thought I would share my weird, but fun info.

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  36. If you can plant lemon seeds and reliably get lemons from the resulting tree (eventually), then I think that’s a “real” fruit in its own right. Especially as there are multiple varieties of lemons that can be consistently grown. If you have to constantly cross two things or the results are unreliable, then that’s still a hybrid. This is not a botanical definition, just mine.

  37. Babies are MAN-made?! Not when I was carrying and giving birth to (and nursing) them. But I am totally behind the idea of men taking on or at least taking turns with child-bearing.

  38. Ermagawd!! You know what they’re saying, don’t you? Lemons are a GMO, and therefore, Not. To. Be. Eaten! (Every single form of produce we have today very, very hybridized, but OMG GMO).

  39. I am delighted to hear that you don’t eat babies. I don’t think that even Hannibal Lector ate babies. Not absolutely sure, but I really don’t think so.

  40. A not “an” – I know my grammar. And of course they exist. There’s even songs about them. “Tie a yellow ribbon.” “lemon tree it’s delicious.” And so on….

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  43. Of, for goodness sakes, people. An open comment thread is not the place to post your scammy job offers. I hope you at least read the amusing comments so you’re slightly brighter than you were before you began reading.

    Also, nobody makes thirty thou a month working three hours a day. This isn’t even a particularly smart scam. Stop harvesting other people’s emails.

    Now — back to lemons and babies…

  44. John Lennon told us that nothing is real.

    Strawberry Fields (lemon fields?) Forever.

  45. This makes so much sense!
    At home in Vietnam, the thing they call a “lemon” is a lime. There is no word for lime, but the thing they sell me that is, in English, a lime, translates as “lemon”. If I ever ask for a lime, I get a puzzled look. I don’t know why they chose to translate it as lemon since lemon’s are not real, but at least now I know why they don’t have two separate words!

  46. I disagree. Lemons are not naturally concurring, they are – in fact – quite argumentative. For example, they frequently want to debate issues of existentialism. Probably how this whole rumour got started in the first place…

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