Robert Kirby is busy doing some serious preparation for the coming April Fools’ Day, so he’s offering this reprint of a previous column:
Something green reared its ugly head in my yard yesterday. It appears to be a daffodil with a poor instinct for survival.
Fortunately for the flower, my wife saw it first. Just last week I beat a crocus to death. But now that the bloom of life has actually been witnessed, I shall have to switch to a slow poison.
The daffodil transformed my wife into a giddy eco-terrorist. She’s out in the yard wondering why other stuff she planted in the fall isn’t growing.
“Strange,” she said. “The earth seems really compacted right where I planted all those crocuses.”
“Maybe it was a meteor,” I offered.
Our backyard is the size of France. And, like France, I have a dream of seeing it one day completely covered with concrete. But in one huge corner my wife showed me where to have my first heart attack.
“We’ll plant a garden right here,” she said. “We’ll have peas, carrots, onions, beans and maybe even a place to bury you.”
Before you send letters fertilized with fatheaded logic, please understand that I am not against stuff growing. I’m against stuff growing that I have to tend. Fruits and vegetables should be obtained naturally — at a grocery store.
Gardening is what people do who aren’t good at more important endeavors like golf, fishing, drinking, watching movies, loafing, serving time and dynamiting stumps.
Things would be fine if gardening were left to gardeners. Unfortunately, the first thing all good gardeners believe they need is a yard slave.
It starts out innocently enough. The green thumb asks for a favor, typically something small like a flat of pansies carried from the car to the yard. A sensible person would run away. Not a spouse, though. We’re idiots.
The small favor is followed by unabashed flattery such as “I need someone strong to move this planter” or “You’re smart enough to figure out the directions on this bottle of Mutant Grow.”
Helplessness is the final bait. These gardeners can’t build a gazebo all by themselves, or surely you aren’t going to make them shovel all that manure.
Eventually this behavior graduates to outright extortion. “You cannot go hang out with Larry Erdmann until you dig me a root cellar.” Be careful. Once you pay, they have your number, and the demands increase.
Kidnapping and ransom are essential eco-terrorist tactics. They are not above holding your golf clubs hostage until you perform some chore.
Soon the trap is sprung, and your summer is toast. August finds you haggard, deranged and injured in your yard, shoveling some animal byproduct in or out of a wheelbarrow.
You could fight back. A little bit of laundry bleach does wonders for zucchini. So does a misdirected spade or a poorly guided weed wacker. Just be careful to maintain plausible deniability. Tell them it was a meteor or something.
Or you can just join them. My yard boss must have been feeling generous, because this morning she asked me what I would like to grow. I thought about it until the pain in my back clouded my mind and gave me an idea.
“They get heroin from poppies, right?”