MARTY RUSSELL: Blimey! Who stole all the limeys?



A friend of mine astutely observed Tuesday that something wasn’t quite right with me.

“Hey, man,” he said. “You celebrate Cinco de Mayo Monday or are you still hung over from too much Star Wars Blue Milk on May the Fourth Be With You Day Sunday?”

“Neither,” I groaned. “I was hit by a bus and gnawed on by tree weasels for four hours until the paramedics arrived. Yes, I celebrated Cinco de Mayo Monday but something wasn’t quite right about it.”

“Well, you had all the usual fixings, didn’t you? Tequila, guacamole, antacid tablets?”

“Yes, but there was something strange about the tequila and guacamole. Oh, now I remember, no limes. How can you drink tequila and eat guacamole without limes? That’s like sweet potato casserole without marshmallows, chicken without dressing, Fred without Ginger. I’ll telling you it was totally unnatural.”

“Then why didn’t you just go to the store and buy some limes, man? You that cheap?”

“No, and neither are they. Haven’t you heard there’s a critical lime shortage on? Ninety-five percent of all the limes used in this country come from one source – Mexico – and they’re having a lot of problems down there. Too much rain, a new disease attacking the crops and drug cartels hijacking shipments to cash in on the high prices. The Border Patrol has had to be beefed up to check for lime smuggling and farmers have had to hire armed guards to protect their crops. As a result the cost of a 40-pound carton of limes has shot up from $25 to more than $130 in just a couple of months.”

“What about lemons?” my friend asked.

“Oh, no, there are plenty of lemons, and not just at GM. But you just can’t have a lemon with a margarita. It goes against all the laws of nature and I think it’s actually illegal in Mexico and some parts of Texas.”

“Then what’s the problem? I mean a lime is just an unripe lemon, right?”

“Wrong, two different species of citrus,” I explained.

“Oh, that explains why that lime I left out to ripen turned brown instead of yellow. This is terrible.”

“You bet it is. Imagine never having another Mexican beer or margarita without a squirt of lime. Imagine a world without key lime pie. Think of the scurvy.”

“No, I was thinking of how I’m going to be able to afford to fix my lawn.”

“What?” I asked.

“I had an extension service agent come out and check my lawn the other day and he said I needed to spread some lime on it. Imagine how much it’s going to cost to go out there squirt lime juice all over it. It’s a big yard.”

“Here,” I told him. “I think you’d better have a shot of tequila even without the lime and then go have another talk with your extension agent.”

Marty Russell writes a Wednesday column for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at

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