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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

This Calls for a Head Transplant

When Jodi left for Scotland, she left me with lots of treasures. Unfortunately, most of the treasures were living things, and I am not good at keeping living things alive... I've been exceptionally lucky when it comes to my children and dog. The cat, I give the neighbor credit for because he feeds her more than I do. One of the things she gave me was a luscious flourishing vine, and I told her I would treasure it as a symbol of the life our friendship will have despite our distance. But when it started to die, I got nervous and changed my mind, saying that the cactus that she gave me would be the symbol instead, and I thought for sure I would be able to keep a cactus alive. Up until about a week ago, everything was just fine. But then one day I noticed that the stem had suddenly died. I am certain that it must have decided to die very very suddenly, because it didn't look sick or anything prior to dying. But it turned into mush. The head still looked healthy though, so I did some research and found that there was still HOPE for the cactus... and my friendship with Jodi.

After much internet research, I found that these common cacti, called "moon cacti" are actually transplant patients to start with. They are actually grafted in mass in Korea and then shipped over to the United States where consumers are always impressed. Most professional cactus enthusiasts snub their noses at these novelty cacti, though. How they are made is sort of interesting. They start with a round green cactus growing in the ground. Then they somehow zap the chlorophyll (the stuff that makes things green) out of it, which makes it turn red. But the cactus can't live without chlorophyll, because chlorophyll is what makes the food for the plant, SO they cut the top part off of that cactus and then graft it onto the top of another cactus (which gives it it's chlorophyll). And so I thought that if it can be done once, why can't it be done again?

So I went and got a cactus that looked like it would have a good body and then performed a head transplant. Actually, it is either a head transplant or a body transplant, depending on where you think the soul of the cactus resides. If it resides in the head, then it is a body transplant. If it resides in the body, then it is a head transplant. I realized this concept after reading "Stiff" which talked about the possibility of performing head transplants on people. If I were to have a head transplant I would choose the head of Hillary Duff, Taylor Swift, or Lara Flynn Boyl (but only before she had the lip transplant, not after).
Also, the original cactus had two very large buds growing on it that were getting very large and looked as if they might soon be too heavy and fall off. So, I also purchased two other smaller cacti body donors, and grafted those two bulbs onto the tops of the smaller stems. In this case, I think we could say that I have multiplied the cactus Jodi gave me, symbolizing our compounding love over time. Of course, all this is depending on all of my transplant patients surviving the operation in the long term, and I am praying that they do, but not keeping my hopes up in light of how I did with the vine and all of our tadpoles.
Clyde commented to me that since my children and dog are about the only things I have had luck keeping alive, perhaps I should have transplanted the cacti heads onto them. Now that's a great idea, except that then it would probably hurt to hug them.


jodi duby said...

this is awesome! i love the compounding idea... so much love=) i think you once reminded me that my faith should be in god and not people since people will always disappoint me. maybe this is a good analogy for our friendship too... our friendship doesn't just exist if the cacti do... hmm, or our faith should be in our friendship and not just the cactus? unless the cactus is very successful, in which case, yes, our friendship grows exponentially and distance makes the heart grow cacti.... (i'm aware i'm not making sense).
i'm so tired...

Aunt Donna said...

I think you're showing your Florida farmer heritage. Most of your FL grandfathers, great-grands etc were orange growers. Oranges are usually grafted! Did you know that?!?! They take a sour orange or lemon tree root, then add a sweet orange on top. Why? Because the sour root is more cold hardy.

Good Luck with your cacti!!

Daphne said...