Monday, November 30, 2015


Today my fellow teachers and I were eating lunch together and we were talking about the house plant that the art teacher has outside her room.  It's poisonous and several years ago for some unfathomable reason a kid picked a leaf off and ate it and then his mouth and throat started to swell and they had to call an ambulance to take him to the hospital.

Did I mention I work in a high school?

Anyway, that reminded me of when I turned 40.  My mom gave me a beautiful Jerusalem cherry tree.  It had gorgeous tiny orange fruits on it.  I raved.  Before my mom let me get a good look at it she said, "Hey! You can't eat it. It's poisonous."  What 40 year old woman looks at a house plant and wants to eat it?  Did she think I was a glutton or just a moron?  I was offended.  But then.... well, here's my thought process:

She thinks I'm an idiot.  I'm 40 effing years old and she is still giving me moronic commands like "don't eat houseplants."  How ridiculous.  Why would she get me a plant with such beautiful fruit on it if I'm not supposed to eat it?  How poisonous could it be?  Would I get die from it or just get a little sick?  If she thought there was even a chance of me eating it, why would she give me a poisonous plant?  Is it "throw up" poisonous or  "brain damage" poisonous?  I wonder what those little fruits taste like.  They look delicious.  I bet they taste like tomatoes.  They look a little like tomatoes.  She's watching me like she's going to slap my hands if I touch it.  How insulting.  I'm way faster than her.

Then I plucked a little orange fruit off of the plant and ran to the opposite side of the room.  My mom said, "I knew this would happen.  I thought you'd like it because it is so beautiful, but after I bought it I learned it is poisonous I thought you might do this.  DON'T YOU DARE EAT THAT!"

Did I mention I was 40?

I wasn't going to eat the fruit.  I believed it was poisonous, but I wanted to make a point that I CAN DO WHATEVER I WANT, MOM!  So I took the teeniest, tiniest bite of the skin.  And my mom said, "You are an IDIOT."  Shortly after taking the teeny tiny bite my lips and tongue got a little numb and weird feeling and I got a little concerned and wondered again about HOW poisonous this plant really was, but I couldn't admit it. I had doubled down and showed her she couldn't tell me not to eat poison.  I couldn't get sick and prove her right!  A bit later mom asked me how I was feeling and I had no choice but to say, "I'M FINE!" through lips that felt like I had just finished at the dentist.

That plant was a challenge to have.  Not because it was particularly hard to care for, but because it was a constant temptation to see just how poisonous it was.  I remember cutting one of the fruits open once and I MAY have stuck the tip of my tongue in the pulp. I googled it after that to find out what I was messing with and the top symptom is coma followed by delirium and diarrhea.  I didn't have any of that.  (Well, not the diarrhea anyway.) I'm fine though, so I think I've made my point.

What is my point, you ask?  There are several:  I AM actually an idiot, my mom is right; the term "poison" is relative to how much discomfort a person can stand before they cave and go to the hospital; I really really wonder about what that plant outside the art room tastes like.

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