Ah apricots, a gift from China courtesy of the Silk Road, “golden eggs of the sun,” such tasty fruit — unless you’re a tanker. In that case, these deep merigold delicacies are a curse whose very mention is enough to send shivers down a grown man’s sweaty backside.
“I got out years ago and still don’t f--k with apricots,” wrote one Reddit user.
The superstition surrounding the small stone fruit started during World War II.
“Every time a tank broke down, apricot rations were always on board,” according to an excerpt from the USC folklore archives. “This would make sense, as rations were generally distributed evenly among armor crews. And statistically if a tank were to break down, you would most likely find the orange fruit. Ever since then, tankers and APC crews have been deathly afraid of apricot.”
This superstition carried on through the Vietnam War and remains alive and well today.
According to the American Armored Foundation, tankers “have not eaten apricots for close to 30 years, as they are believed to be a jinx and bad luck for LVTs, AAVs and tanks.”
In 2000, there was even an article circulated among the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit about the scourge of apricots.
“On my first float, we had an engine blow up in one of the AAVs,” Staff Sgt. James A. Brown said in the story. “No one could figure out what caused it. We took it apart at the very bottom was an apricot seed.”
Out of an abundance of caution, the tanker said he never allowed anyone aboard an AAV who had consumed apricots within 24 hours.
“If I know someone has been drinking something with apricot in it, I won’t let them on,” Brown said.
Many additional stories across Reddit claim to confirm suspicions about the sweet, peach-family fruit.
“Lost radios, broken suspension, breakdowns, getting shot at, IEDs, etc.,” wrote user FishPilot. “All after immediately consuming something with apricot in it.”
Another described an incident where the presence of apricots caused a scene.
“Bloody ‘ell apricots are one thing you DO NOT bring anywhere near a tank ever,” exclaimed user Balthrop. “A long, long time ago an attached captain brought some dried apricots onto one of Charlie Company’s tanks. The loader saw this and shoved” the officer.
Who knew something so sweet could cause so much strife?