Dear Potted Plants

Dear Potted Plants,

The oldest of you has only been with me for six months now, and already I can see that we are having some problems. I think it's important that we review the terms of your stay in my living room. I purchased all of you to add some green to the living room, improve air quality, get the satisfaction and pride of nurturing things that are alive, and to feel like I'm living in a more organic environment. And by "organic" I mean organisms, not all-natural. Indeed, it was pretty obvious from the beginning that some of you had chemical dependency issues (I'm looking at you, Peace Lilly.)

I've followed the directions that came with all of you. You have been put into appropriately-sized pots. I put you all in nutritious potting soil with the proper pH balance. I water you all three times a week. I've arranged you closer or farther from the windows based upon your declared light preferences. The temperature is always 70 +/- 3 degrees F.

And what do I get in return? The Dumb Cane is constantly wilted. African Violet- Two blooms? Really? Two blooms on a plant of your size? You should be ashamed of a half-assed effort like that. Ficus- I like the braided trunk; but since the first month, you've been shedding dead leaves onto the carpet like a brown, crinkly thunderstorm, and if any of you can translate, tell the Bonzai that he's no longer welcome in my home after what he did to Kerri at the party last Friday. Hell, the only one of you that looks even half presentable is the Peace Lilly, and she's wacked out of her mind on Miracle-Gro most of the time.

I brought you into my home to add some flare and impress people, not make the room look like a plague-ridden hospice floor for the dying. It's so embarrassing, I've had to skip the living room when giving people a tour of my house for the first time. If my guests find it later in the evening I tell them I'm running a quarantine unit for some of my friends' plants that have become rife with disease. I'm trying to impress the ladies with my green thumb, not show them what a radioactive, post-apocalyptic hellscape written by Cormac McCarthy would look like if it were played out in miniature.

If you guys don't shape up and fly straight, I'm shipping you out and bringing in a couple extra pieces of furniture. And if you think I'm making empty threats, please recall how I handled the goldfish who kept pooping outside of his bowl. I think we all remember how that ended.

Sebastian Braff


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