"I'd like to have a garden," Bobby Earl said, "but they're too much work."
"Tell me about it. I've got this one plant that I spend at least an hour taking care of every week."
"An hour? For one plant? That's ridiculous. Must be one of them fancy roses or something. But that's just when you first set it out, right? After that, you leave it alone."
"I wish it were that easy."
"Where'd you get this thing?"
"It was growing in the yard when we bought the house."
"Well, at least you weren't fool enough to pay good money for it. You wouldn't believe what some of them gardeners pay for plants."
"Actually, I do spend quite a bit on money on this plant."
"Maybe $200 bucks."
"On one plant?"
"On one plant. And that's not counting the machine."
"You gotta have a special machine for it?"
"Two actually. One of them I only need once a year, so I pay a guy who has one."
"And this is included in the $200, right?"
"No. Tack another $75 onto the bill."
"This must be some plant."
"You could say that."
"At least you aren't wasting your money on those prissy annuals--pansies and such. People buy 'em, they grow for 6 months, then they dig 'em up and plant something else. Dumbest thing I've ever heard."
"Well, this one's a perennial, but..."
"It starts to look scraggly and uneven after a year or two, so you're better off replacing it each spring."
"And how much does a new one cost?"
"You went to college, right?"
"Your parents should have gone to Daytona with that money instead. Didn't you learn nothin' in four years?"
"I was an English major. I read novels."
"Figures. See, if I went and bought some plant like this, people would want to make it illegal because dumb@$$es like me don't know no better than to spend our hard-earned paycheck on mess like that. "
"You've got a point."
"So what's this plant look like? It better be pretty."
"Do I look stupid? I'm talkin' about the flowers!"
"It doesn't have flowers."
"So what's it have? No wait, don't tell me--I read those garden magazines too--lemme see--it's got "a graceful, arching form" or "interesting texture that contrasts nicely with showy blossoms in the cutting garden."
"That's good...you want to be a guest blogger sometime?"
"Seriously, what's so great about this plant? Must be one of them "exotic ornamentals" from China or somewhere."
"I wouldn't call it 'exotic.' Or 'ornamental."
"You know what I'd call it? Gone. I'd yank that thing out of the ground, throw it in the truck, and haul it out to the woods. Then I'd plant something normal in it's place."
Something in Bobby Earl's words struck a nerve. Something so rare that I had forgotten what it sounded like. But there was no mistaking. It was Common Sense.
"You know something, Bobby Earl? You're right. It's stupid to spend that much time and money on one plant. Especially when you need to take out a second mortgage to keep it watered in droughts. Which I didn't do."
"So yours is dead."
"Dead. Brown, ugly, dead."
Bobby Earl shook his head and directed a stream of tobacco juice across the hood of his Monte Carlo. "So you gon' dig it up?"
"You're damn right. I don't have time to be messing with it, what with everything else I have to do in my garden. Wanna help?"
"I might show up about the time you finish, just to see what's left of this King MacDaddy plant. It must have been something's all I can say. What did you say it was called?