Is it Racist to Call Your Plant “Afro”?

I’m going to be perfectly honest here and tell you that plants scare me.  Between watching some sci-fi show where rutabagas screamed if you pulled them out of the ground and wincing through 15 minutes of The Little Shop of Horrors, I am absolutely convinced that plants are just biding their time until they take over the earth.  This was difficult when I became a vegetarian for about 5 years, and the only reason I didn’t give up eating plants as well as animals was because the only other option available in my limited imagination was to become a vampire.  And Twilight hadn’t come out yet, so that wasn’t really the fashion at the time.

So when my daughter came home from a trip to the nursery (plants not infants) with my husband, I was fine with not knowing what purchases had been made.  Dimples, though, loves to share.

“Guess what I got!”

“Ladybugs?” I asked, hopefully.  To me, those are the only benign living things available at the nursery.

“Nope.  A Venus flytrap!”

Yay.  Please don’t put it anywhere near the vicinity of my bedroom.

Since I wasn’t very encouraging when Dimples made the initial announcement, mostly because I was convinced that the Dusty Miller I killed in my classroom last week had ordered a hit on me and that her plant was a “plant”, I decided to try again at dinner time.

“So, what are you going to name your plant?”  Thinking that giving it a name might de-creepify it somehow.  Although that didn’t really help with Dusty Miller.

Dimples is not big on putting a lot of effort into names.  Her blue fish is named, “Sky,” for example.  And her stuffed dog has never even had a name.  She’s had it for 7 years.

“Afro,” she declared immediately.

Great.  So now plants and African-Americans will hate me.

“Uh, why?”  That seemed a better response than, “Are you the only person in the world who sees naming a plant as an opportunity to be politically incorrect?”

“You know.  Venus.  Aphrodite.  Aphro.”

“Oh,” my husband and I both breathed audible sighs of relief.

So, it seems I’m safe.  Even safer now that she moved Afro outside after trying to feed it hamburger meat and attracting a bunch of ants to its strangely disinterested (because it only wants human blood) trappy little mouths.

Until she goes outside to check on it, and yells for the whole neighborhood to hear, “Mom, I think my Afro caught some bugs!”

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Posted on May 29, 2013, in Dimples, Family, Humor, Parenting, Phobia and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 32 Comments.

  1. Oh, my gosh, I love your posts. I love that your daughter got “afro” out of “venus” and I love that you think your dusty miller had a hit out on you. Oh, Lordy, I about split my side laughing at that. By the way, one year I had many gorgeous dusty miller plants – and ever since then I’ve killed every single one I’ve bought. Today I bought plants…but zero dusty millers. Now I need to blog about it.

    • So, funnily, I had no idea that plant is called a Dusty Miller until a tech guy came in my classroom to fix my computer and he said, “What happened to your Dusty Miller?” I didn’t hear the “your” part, and wondered, “Who in the heck is Dusty Miller, and how would I know what happened to him?” I thought it was some singer who got killed in a plane crash or something…

      • Oh, definitely a country music singer, yes? That’s hilarious. When I was in college a friend of mine who was a student from Hawaii couldn’t understand why Fred Meyer kept inviting everyone over to his place – turned out Fred Meyer was a department store he had never heard of!

  2. I named my pansy plant Gloria. And somehow I’ve kept it alive all quarter. Venus fly traps always scared me. Like, what the heck?

  3. I wouldn’t worry about your daughter if I were you. I often get mixed up on the spelling versus meaning of words.

  4. To paraphrase US Grant, I only know two plants. One of ’ems a rose, the other isn’t.

  5. White dudes can have afros, so you’re cool either way. I like it!

  6. Wow, Venus Flytrap is pretty cool! Loooove the name Dimples picked (even more so after hearing the explanation!). Why don’t you start a ticker on the sidebar to chronicle how long Afro stays alive?

  7. Doesn’t look like anything Wonderbutt would eat, but who knows. Keep us informed. Great post. Still giggling. Thanks for sharing.

  8. In my experience Venus Fly Traps don’t last long. Hopefully, it’ll shrivel up and die before the word Afro is yelled too many times from the yard. Just in case, you should probably start packing and house hunting.

    • In my experience, NOTHING lasts long. But my husband has an extremely green thumb, so I might have to go to extreme lengths to make sure Afro doesn’t haunt me for the next 10 years.

  9. BOL I love how dimples mind works BOL

  10. hahaha! Oh, I hate to tell you this, but ladybugs are NOT as sweet as they look. One bit me once, and I will never forgive the entire population for it. It hurt!

  11. this has to be the best post title ever and I about peed my pants a little when I read the post and the first two comments. dusty miller totally sounds like Kenny Rodgers. I woulda’ been all, “the f*ck??? are you talking about???” oh, and I kill every living thing (not the kids…yet) EXCEPT the afro plant. I had one in elementary and it lived FOREVER. I think my mom wouldn’t let me get a dog so i got a venus fly trap (jipped again). everytime I kill a plant and hubby gets mad I say, “yeah, but i’m good with venus fly traps………..and cacti.”

    • Yes, my cacti also live to be octogenarians. I think. How do you know, really, if a cactus is dead or alive?
      Perhaps I can give the afro plant to you and tell Dimples I gave it “to a good home.”

  12. I killed mine as a kid by over-feeding it.

    Squish is quite envious of her plant. He has been alternately begging for and terrified by flytraps.

  13. Thank goodness my son has never asked for one of those. I couldn’t sleep near one either. I live in NC and it’s the state plant. Now I have never, ever seen one in the wild.

    Love the name. How clever of her. Every time she yells it outside, you could just holler after her, “Dite!”

    • Wow! I had to look it up, and not only is it your state plant, but it’s your State CARNIVOROUS Plant! I am very jealous because TX does not have a State Carnivorous Plant. Apparently, “the only place it grows naturally is a small 75 mile radius on the North and South Carolina coast near Wilmington.”

      However, we do have a State Cooking Implement (the Dutch Oven), AND a State Molecule (buckyball), so I will try not to be too envious.

      • Yes, we have been to Wilmington many times. I guess just not the right “patch.” Probably wise though.

        State cooking implement. I would not have guessed Dutch oven for Texas.

  14. At least she didn’t go for ‘rhymes with venus’.

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