So last weekend, after an unnecessarily grueling hour in the kitchen department at Home Despot, Scott and I swung by Sunflower Market, which is a grocery store that runs toward the unusual and organic with a huge natural supplement department, kind of like Trader Joe’s-meets-Vitamin Warehouse.
My eye was caught by a sweet little cactus in a tiny pot. The cactus was extra charming because it had little yellow flowers on it. The sign said “Straw flower cactus, $6.99.” I had never heard of a straw flower cactus, but it was cute, and because I am queen of the impulse buy, it went into the cart.
Most of the groceries ended up in the back of the car, but I gently cradled my new baby cactus on my lap on the way home. As Scott was driving and I had nothing better to do, I examined my cactus, because I noticed that there was some kind of goopy pitch from which the flowers sprouted. It was an interesting growth mechanism, and I’d never seen anything like it.
As I’m telling Scott about the pitch, I come to a flower that is sitting ON the cactus needles. Not attached to the pitch and poking THROUGH the cactus needles, but perched on them. I turn the cactus around a few more times to look at the other two flowers and this oddly disconnected one, and it’s at this point I realize that this funny goop bears an uncanny resemblance to wood glue.
They glued the flowers on. They glued the frelling flowers on!
“This cactus is a fraud!” I announced to Scott, gutted that someone would do such a thing. “I don’t even want it anymore.” As we were already half-way home, though, I was stuck with it.
“You still have a real cactus, right?” he said, reasonably, but I was not feeling reasonable. I was feeling totally cheated.
“You picked it because of the cute little yellow flowers, and you can still enjoy them even if they’re not part of the plant,” he said, trying to placate me, but I was implacable. My cactus was a lie. A fake. A hoax. I had been scammed.
Now you may say, “But the sign said ‘Straw flower cactus…’” and you’d be right, but I thought that was just the type of cactus. Plants have all kinds of weird names. I thought this one was called that because its little flowers indeed seemed like straw. I don’t think that “sunflowers” are made of the actual sun, either; having flowers that perform fusion in your garden might well turn out to be dangerous. It never occurred to me that anyone, in a million zillion years, would glue entirely unrelated straw flowers onto a cactus. I mean, why?
The cactus I have is supposedly one of these, and it will, in time (and if I don’t kill it) have flowers of its own. So why the charade?
Now it sits in its bucket in my office, and I can barely look at it. I cannot enjoy its flowers. And I am not sure I can remove them, either, because they used a tablespoon of glue to stick each flower on, and it looks like it doesn’t want to move. I will either mangle the cactus or die the death of a thousand cactus spines if I try.
Plant fraud. It hurts everyone.