Normally, I’m a mild-mannered, some would say meek, person. This is what I’m known for. But there are certain things in my life that people do NOT mess with, at risk of sudden and painful death. Theirs, not mine. These things are patently obvious. The Kone. My bike. And, of course, the garden.
Ah, what can I say about the garden that I haven’t said before? How about this – that it is a huge honking pain in the ass. Really. Gardening is tough, brutal, back-breaking work. It’s expensive. I’ve spent literally hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars on my garden. And even though I have vague hopes of selling some heirloom tomatoes to restaurants, say, in August, this is definitely not a money-making venture.
But I love gardening. With a passion. It makes me happy, puttering around, digging, even weeding. There’s something very tranquil and soothing about the whole thing, being one with nature and all that crap. But I could certainly never be a farmer, because it’s all just too anxiety-inducing, with too many things to worry about. The weather! Hail! Locusts! I read recently that farmers are having a bumper year, and while normally I seethe with jealousy at other peoples’ good fortune, here I think, you go farmers!
Plus in addition to the natural elements, one has to worry about the scourges of society known as garden thieves. Yes, thieves. Much to my dismay, when I was out at the garden last week, I noticed that someone had stolen a zucchini. A zucchini of all things! Need I remind people that these are the erstwhile Rodney Dangerfields of the garden?? So I was puzzled, and yet, figured that perhaps this was a crime of opportunity, if not passion, by someone with an unnatural fondness for large, tasteless vegetables. I passed it off as a fluke.
Until. I went back to the garden Sunday, to weed and water in 98 degree heat and humidity (yes, there are those hours of back-breaking work again), and discovered – MORE zucchini gone! This time, many! J’accuse!
This, I thought, will not stand.
Because if someone is craven and baseless and degenerate enough to steal zucchini, then what’s going to happen when the heirloom tomato crop starts coming in? Or, dare I say it, the pattypan squash? Will this cretin be able to resist those bright yellow harbingers of hope and change? Hell no. Do I really begrudge someone a few squash? Damn right I do.
I don’t know where anyone might have gotten the idea that I’m some kind of Lady Bountiful, planting everything for the good of mankind or random garden marauders. This is so not the case – I am a mean, bitter, selfish person, and don’t you all forget it. Okay, so I might tell my fellow tomato aficionados at the garden to go ahead and try some of the different varieties, and sure I give tomatoes to friends, and yes, I do plant cherry tomatoes along the perimeter of the garden as a snack for my fellow gardeners – but those are the only concessions I make to pretending that I am not in fact the mean and selfish person that I naturally am.
So yes, that means that the zucchini may be large tasteless vegetables, but they’re MY large tasteless vegetables, dammit. That I’ve nurtured from seed and grown for months, fretting over them and coddling them and……okay, that’s a lie. Zucchini are pretty easy to grow – but that’s all the more reason for people to grow their own. Even an idiot could grow them, unlike, say, the pattypans, that require the skill of an artisan such as myself.
But I digress. Clearly, to nip this trend in the bud, I need a foolproof plan. Oh sure, all the usual things immediately came to
mind: land mines, insisting the Skokie police put a 24-hour guard on duty (hey, it’s the suburbs – what else do they have to do?), motion-activated klieg lights with sirens, etc. Sniper fire. Alert Friend and Reader Bridget has offered to take up this particular gauntlet, and this woman has the military cred, so I’m confident she’d do a good job. Barbed wire. Steel traps.
Then I realized: all of the above.
My mission is clear now. Society must be made safe for the hard-working gardeners of the world, who deserve to pick the fruits of their own labor. This one Thieving Zucchini Bastard can serve as a lesson to the other wanna-be garden thieves out there.
I will report back.