Tag Archives: pollen

1983. Bird of Paradise

Rita and Carmen had been best friends for years. They were both widowed, and both had three children and four grandchildren. They lived not far from each other. Every Wednesday, to prevent a certain humdrumness, they would go on an outing. Sometimes it was just a cup of coffee in a café in town. Sometimes it was a bigger event, such as a visit to the city art gallery or a concert. Today they were going to the Botanical Garden’s Tropical Conservatory.

“Would you look at this one,” said Rita. “Such a pretty little flower!”

“I would’ve missed it if you hadn’t pointed it out,” said Carmen. “Smell this one here. It stinks!” And indeed it did stick!

“Look at this Bird of Paradise flower. It does look like a bird, doesn’t it?”

“They say,” said Carmen enthusiastically because she knew a little about the Bird of Paradise plant, “that the flower produces no pollen, so it’s generally great to plant if people are worried about allergies. Not only that, but they say if you rub a leaf on the palm of your hand you feel compelled to blurt out the truth whether you want to or not.”

“That sounds a bit dangerous,” declared Rita, rubbing the palm of her hand on a leaf. “And I might add that the way you slurp your coffee makes me want to spit.”

“That’s nothing,” said Carmen. “When I was having an affair with your late husband he gave me your bank account number and password. You wouldn’t have noticed, because you’re too thick, but a bit here and a bit there goes a long way.”

“You strumpet!” declared Rita. “So you’re the crumpet he so disdainfully spoke about; how your breath reeked of garlic and you were in need of a hefty dose of deodorant.”

The insults continued for another five minutes. It was a weekly event. In fact, one suspected that both had prepared the insults to hurl well in advance.

1891. On talking to a telegraph pole

I’m constantly amazed at how stupid some space aliens really are. The other day I caught one having a conversation with a telegraph pole. A telegraph pole!

I said, “You’re talking to a telegraph pole you stupid idiot. It’s not a living thing; it’s just a pole for holding up wires. It’s inanimate.”

“Oh yeah,” it said. (I’m not sure with the aliens if it’s a girl or a boy. Possibly neither. I read, apparently they breed like mushrooms. Sort of clouds of spores. I’d better watch out! Ha ha!) It continued: “Perhaps if you tried talking to a telegraph pole yourself you’d realize they are not as inanimate as you might think. Here! Try it!”

“Hello telegraph pole. How are you today?” I said.

Suddenly there was a cloud of spores floating all around me. I said that these spores were like mushroom spores, but really it was like a pollen explosion in a pine forest. I was so immersed in the all-pervading floating pollen that I could hardly see the alien. It was smiling in a ghostly manner; it was mesmerizing. Quite frankly it was grotesque.

Anyway, I had to dash off home. I was so excited, as was my wife. I just realized something then and there. Poof! In a flash! We’re going to have a baby! Possibly tomorrow morning.