SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK
This isn’t going to be overly shocking to anyone who knows me, but I love spring. To paraphrase some action movie or other: Winter is the disease, and spring is the cure. Summer is that wild celebration you throw when you realize the disease is going to strike again, so you might as well party.
This being Indiana, there could be a foot of snow on the ground by the time you read this, but at the moment it’s been pretty nice in between the thunderstorms. Wait, let me check …
Yup. Freeze warning. But that’s okay, because in the spring you know it won’t last long, as opposed to early winter when snow seems to be some kind of permanent nightmarish superglue. Nobody ever froze to death in a thunderstorm, unless they hid in a chest freezer. Which, I suppose, would freeze their chest.
Maybe another phrase would be that spring is my drug, and winter was my withdrawal. That would be ironic, considering my allergies – the only bad things about warm weather are pollen and bugs, and the pollen can be medicated. I like to think of allergies as a luxury tax for being able to walk outside wearing less than eight layers of clothing.
One of the first signs of spring – other than any part of my skin being seen outdoors – is the appearance of budding plants and flowers. I’m sorry if it steals any of my ManPoints, but I love flowers. That burst of color, a visual shock after months of white and various shades of dirty gray, does more to cheer me than all the chocolate in Hershey.
Maybe you could say my love of spring is like a red, red rose. I came up with that all by myself, honest. Well, I stole it all by myself.
Here’s something that will shock all eight of my regular readers: Plants are growing all over my property. Ordinarily I’m the kiss of death for a plant. There’s a graveyard of flower pots in my garage: sad rows full of bare earth and dead, dry stalks. In the plant community I’m known as the Mark Horseman of the Apocalypse. The last time I walked through a botanical garden, twelve species went extinct. The only reason my lone aloe plant still lives is that we ignore each other.
I’m the Darth Vader of plants; I just choke them out.
And yet, just outside the house, plants are thriving. Like the spiders who invade my home every year, they live for the thrill of being near danger.
To show you that I’m both attentive to and knowledgeable of the landscaping around my house -- I had no idea what most of those flowers were.
Thankfully, I was saved by the internet, where I posted photos of the new blooms along with a confession that my botanical knowledge is overshadowed only by my knowledge of how to overhaul jet engines. I guess you could say spring is my FactCheck.org, and winter is my NakedRetiredSumoWrestlers.com.
(Now that I think of it, there probably is a NakedRetiredSumoWrestlers.com, but I’m unwilling to go online to confirm that.)
According to my internet friends, the various plants around my house include:
Lilacs, which produce one of the most wonderful scents since fresh baked chocolate cookies. I bought lilac scented laundry detergent over the winter, but it just wasn’t the same.
Narcissus, a variety of daffodil. Narcissus sounds so much more exotic and interesting, though. Narcissus is also a character from Greek myth who fell in love with his own reflection, and is thus a hero to many in Hollywood. Things ended badly for Narcissus; but then, the Greeks wrote tragedies, not comedies.
Tulips, a flower that first came from Holland, Michigan. Some people from the Netherlands visited Michigan, and so fell in love with the flower that they made it their own and also nicknamed their country Holland, which seems like some kind of intellectual theft, to me. But revenge is sweet: For a time tulips became so valuable in the Netherlands that they replaced the national currency, then their entire economy crashed when some kid took his thumb out of the dike, looked around, and said:
“Dude. They’re flowers.”
My tulips haven’t quite blossomed as I write this: They’re in hiding, waiting to see if I go crazy with the lawn mower or weed spray. However, a line of eye-poppingly colorful flowers eye-popped up against the neighbor’s house, where presumably they’re safe from me. Silly flowers.
Then there’s forsythia, a bush that sprouted some bright yellow blossoms. Someone told me I shouldn’t trim the forsythia, but it grows so fast that one of its branches once stabbed me in the leg as I was innocently walking by with the garden sheers. One year I didn’t trim it at all, and a film crew came by and paid me a hundred bucks to use it (the forsythia, not my leg) in their low-budget monster movie, “Attack of the Sixty Foot Sythia”. I don’t know what they left out the “for” for, except maybe that “S” sound is scarier: Stormtrooper; Scythe; Senator …
I also have some roses, but as of this writing they haven’t bloomed; maybe they’re standing by with the tulips. Waiting. Plotting.
Oh, and dandelions – how could I forget dandelions? Weeds, you say? Nonsense! They’re harmless and colorful, they become necklaces and wine, and they make cheap sidewalk art. Those are flowers, believe it; the narcissus lovers are just jealous.
Hm. Maybe the way to put it is to say flowers are like spring, coming out in a joyous celebration of warm weather … and I’m like winter, killing off everything I touch.
Guess I’ll stick with the disease metaphor.