There used to be a pickle jar on a ramp on I-270, outside St. Louis. It greeted commuters there, like a briny little wave from a friendly stranger, for years. Then it was gone—only to be replaced by another pickle jar, and then another, and then another. Sometimes its absences are prolonged, while others are brief. While the brand, jar shape, variety, longevity, and juice-levels may vary, the mystery has remained the same: why the hell are there pickles on this ramp and who on earth is getting out of a car on the highway to place them there?
That’s what Team Pickle, a Facebook group nearly 3,000 members strong, has set out to discover. The Kansas City Star’s Lisa Gutierrez reports, in an article so laden with puns that it could rightly be called a work of art, that Team Pickle has diligently tracked the pickle jars for years, with sightings dating back to 2010. The journey has not been without its tribulations—one harrowing post detailed a gruesome fall, and warned members that pickle-saving maneuvers should be conducted “with extreme caution as drivers in STL suck. But, if anyone is willing to risk their lives for pickles, feel free to attempt the rescue.”
Still, on the whole, it seems to be a mystery that brings joy to its sleuths, both in the jar’s many appearances and in the chase itself. In fact, as Gutierrez notes, a poster worried that the exposure would take all the fun out of it: “Does anyone else worry that with all the current attention that someone else is going to mess with them and we may never REALLY know the truth behind the #publicpickles now?”
What Gutierrez neglects to address in her otherwise excellent report — seriously, there are so many puns, and they are glorious — is the most troubling aspect of this mystery. Who in the hell would waste perfectly good pickles like that? Do they not snack in Missouri? Are they anti-deli sandwiches? What gives? Pickles are delicious.