It’s hard to be vain while you are gardening. Vanity may come as an end result of your gardening, be it pretty flowers or delicious produce, but it is hard to be vain while you are in the act of gardening. I base this theory on the physical positions one must assume to garden effectively. When you garden you spend an awful lot of time bent over. Being bent over leads to your pants riding too low, as well as to lower back pain, and a person with low riding pants, grimacing in pain, is hardly attractive. This combination is not a recipe for vanity. Your neighbors are not looking out the window thinking, “Wow, look at him garden. He looks good!” Instead, they are thinking, “Lordy! I wonder what just bit him?”
I have seen some folks wearing stretchy pants to combat the drooping trousers effect, but, let’s face it, if you are at the stage in your life where you are gardening for pleasure you have probably passed the point in your life were you look good in stretchy pants. No offense. Bless your heart.
Just a quick review of outdoor occupations/tasks associated with attractive participants: Pool Boy, Cabana Boy, Lifeguard, Lawn Boy River Guide, Swimsuit Model. No gardeners on the list.
Lawn Boy is close to gardener, but the truth is, when we think of famous gardeners we think of folks like Mr. McGregor. When I think of gardeners I get an image of a teapot in my head. This is no doubt a result of all the gardeners I remember from childhood being bitter, bunny killing, English characters in stories.
Further detracting from your ability to be “hot” while you are gardening is the fact that while you are gardening you often have to interact with compost, dirt, and slugs. It is hard to be vain while you are dealing with rotted broccoli, manure, and the stink of rotten leaves. The same thing holds true for cooking poultry. No matter how good you think you look, nobody wants you touch them when you have raw chicken on your hands. And just see how far you get if you say to someone, “Baby, umm, you look like a slug and smell like the bottom of a pond.”
Anyway, my point is that vanity wrecked my garden last year. I got into the gardening arts because I love spaghetti sauce. We grow parsley, oregano, basil, rosemary, cattails, dandelions, and weeds in a small herb garden by the kitchen door. When I make spaghetti I’ll snatch a handful green stuff from the herb garden, chop it up, and throw it in my skillet full of Newman’s Own Garden Herb & Garlic pasta sauce. Why? Because by putting my own homegrown herbs into the sauce I feel I’ve contributed to the ‘homemadeness” of the meal.
And then I got the bright idea, “I bet I could make sauce just as good as Paul’s, and save money to boot if I planted my own garden and made my own sauce from scratch!” (I tried not to think about the fact that Mr. Newman raises money for sick kids by selling his sauce) I also thought this would save time. Gotta be quicker to run out to the backyard, pick some tomatoes, peppers, garlic, onions, parsley, and catnip, chop it all up, and render all that into sauce, then it would be to drive two miles to Kroger. Right?
I planted the plants and made my offerings to the various gods of organic gardening. An interesting side note on the gods of organic gardening is that most of these gods are agnostic and thus don’ t even believe in themselves- and they are omnipotent, so they should know.
I began dreaming of all the pasta sauce I was going to make. I dreamt of eating pasta every night, or maybe every night I dreamt of eating pasta. Both statements are true. I like pasta. I had visions of canning pasta sauce in Mason jars, putting the jars in food baskets, giving them to friends, family, visiting dignitaries, deserving secretaries, distinguished functionaries, legionnaires, engineers, my paper boy, postman, and trash men. (I’m not being sexist. My paper person, postal person and trash people are all male.)
I dreamt of handing out jars of sauce by the thousand and each time proudly stating, or even shouting, “Everything in this jar came from my garden!”
There would be “Ohhs” and “Ahhs.” Awards. Offers of marriage. Sponsorships. Private jets. A TV show. Tabloid stories. Fast cars. Addictions. Detox. A bad movie starring Larry the Cable Guy. Oh man, I rest my case. Any subject about which you could film a movie starring Larry the Cable Guy can’t possibly be about anything sexy. Go ahead, take another bite of that waffle while thinking of Larry the Cable Guy bent over- in stretchy pants.
So I toiled in the soil. I watered, I sweated, I tended, I pruned, I weeded, I killed bugs (organically, so they didn’t mind) I fertilized, I picked. I harvested, I chopped, boiled and canned.
But my vanity was like a blight. It attracted the bugs like a pheromone. And not just an ordinary pheromone, or even a county-pheromone. I’m talking about something like a state-pheromone. The kind of pheromone that draws thousands of cotton candy starved RVers to the fair grounds every August.
No matter what I tried, something always ate my produce before it was ripe enough to harvest. I ended up with about eight tomatoes, two peppers, and something that was either a small clove of garlic or a grub.
In the end, I held up a single jar of spaghetti sauce and lamely proclaimed: “Everything from my garden is in this jar.”
I listed it on Ebay starting at $1,250.00. That’s what it’ll take to get my original investment back.