Sam Venable 

Department of Irony

It is time to add a new, official oxymoron to the English language.

Right in there amongst such classics as “jumbo shrimp,” “perfectly awful,” “first annual,” “even odds,” and “long shorts,” this glaring opposite begs to be included:

“Seedless watermelon.”

Those two words constitute a lie on par with “Yes, I’ll respect you in the morning,” and “Don’t worry; your check is in the mail.”

Even the perpetrators of this “seedless” folly don’t believe their own hoax. Just check the label slapped onto the skin of any of these green orbs. It says, “May contain occasional seeds.”

“Occasional?” Ha.

That’s like warning someone who is wearing short pants—short-shorts, knee-length, or otherwise—that crossing four acres of waist-deep grass in the middle of July may result in an “occasional” chigger bite.

“Seedless” watermelons most certainly are not seedless. Not even remotely. I haven’t compared them side by side, but my guess is that “seedless” melons and their “seeded” cousins contain the same number of pits. The only difference is that “seeded” seeds are mostly black and stout, while “seedless” seeds are mostly white and flimsy.

The black “seeded” seeds are easy to see and simple to remove because they tend to separate from the melon’s flesh. Those pantywaist white “seedless” seeds stay hidden. Removing them is like trying to pick beggar lice off of wool pants while wearing thick gloves.

By now you should have come to the realization that I’m not a fan of “seedless” watermelons. Indeed, they are an abomination.

Mary Constantine, food editor for the Knoxville News Sentinel, says some people claim “seeded” melons are sweeter, a taste imparted by the seeds themselves—sort of how a pork chop or chicken thigh on the bone tastes better than one with the bone removed.

Perhaps this is true. Yet it’s been my experience that sweetness, or lack thereof, has more to do with the variety of melon and conditions under which it was grown. In any event, I wish Congress would outlaw these ridiculous “seedless” monstrosities until they have been perfected.

If, somewhere down the pike, a truly seedless watermelon—attention food industry, this means no discernible seeds whatsoever—is developed, fine. If it can be further refined into one giant “heart” of firm red flesh—none of that soft, fuzzy, mid-level stuff—even better. But until then, keep these things where they belong: in the laboratory and off the market.

Admittedly, I am somewhat of a watermelon snob. Or slop, as the case may be. I prefer to clean an entire melon at the sink—seeds and rind removed and remanded to the compost pile and succulent chunks of red flesh placed in a plastic bin for the refrigerator.

Yes, this results in a bit of watermelon waste; my knife work does grow sloppier as the job progresses. But the result is a mound of pure, unadulterated, heavenly eating. With no seeds. As in none, zero, zilch, ixnay.

Not even an “occasional” one.

Sam Venable is an author, stand-up comedian, and humor columnist for the Knoxville (TN) News Sentinel. He may be reached at .