On the Color of Thumbs

- By Michael!

There are people out there who have green thumbs.

Any living thing to which they turn their attention flourishes obediently, as though eager to please. Vegetables yield theirplenty, flowers yield their beauty, their grass is even and soft, you get theidea.

My thumbs are brown.


I’m telling you, I could kill a peace lily.

In fact, let me check something…

Yup, our peace lily is dead.

See, I like to save money. So does Joanie. And so every nowand then we’ll spend money on something that is supposed to save money over a long period of time. Sometimes it works well – our bread-maker,for instance. Sometimes …

Well, sometimes we just end up with ceramic flower pots fullof death.

Last summer, for instance, we planted several things in our little patio garden. We’d tried this before and met with failure, so we thought– foolishly – that we had learned from our mistakes. So we headed to a local place and picked up some ceramic pots, some potting soil, and a couple of other odds and ends that were going to help us save money once we started getting our return on our planting. We had some herbs going, some form of leafy green, some green beans, and tomatoes. But since Joanie was performing in Oklahoma, the health of the plants was left in my hands.

The rosemary, a hardy little plant, made it the longest. I harvested exactly one green bean. But the prize for heartbreak goes to the tomatoes.

It’s not that I don’t follow instructions. I’m obsessive about them. Especially when it’s something I don’t really know how to do, like gardening or anything on my automobile beyond filling it with gas. I talked to the personnel at Lowe’s and at a local gardening store, I trolled the dark corners of the internet for unholy secrets of vegetation growth, I asked friends and family to help.

To no avail.

My tomatoes came in beautifully for about a week. They were of the cherry-tomato variety, and I think I harvested about twelve of them –beautiful, plump cherry tomatoes, the kind that you can hardly even wait to pull off the vine to eat, much less wash. They were gorgeous, they were delicious, and then…

And then they showed up.

These are leaf-footed bugs.

They are directly from Satan.

They move just slowly enough that you think you can catch them easily, but are just agile and slippery enough to always manage to duck away from you… and when you do catch one, and squish it, they stink to high heaven.

They stink to high heaven while their hundreds of brothers and sisters laugh at you, contentedly munching upon your beautiful tomatoes.

I tried removing them manually, but they were still there and the plants were withering. I then purchased an insecticide that was supposed to protect our fragile plants from these nasty little invaders. Andthe plants were withering MORE. Within two weeks, my once-glorious tomatoeslooked like this:

This is an Ex-Tomato Plant.

And the worst part? Joanie never got to have one tomato. NOT ONE.

In our desire to save money, we purchased seeds, planters,soil, pesticides, what have you – I’d say that all told, we spent at least four dollars per tomato out of our little garden. And it’s all thanks to my brown thumb.

So let this be a lesson to you – trying to save money is a good thing, but remember your thumbs!