Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Picking A Fight With A Potted Plant

I am currently in considerable pain : and it is all the fault of a potted palm tree. I was carrying the manky specimen you see illustrated here to a new location when my way was blocked by a closed door. Bending over to put it down whilst I opened the door I felt my back suddenly go. I was unable to fully investigate the physical consequences of this process as it was accompanied by the most intense pain which caused me to collapse and scream like a banshee. By the time the pain struck I had managed to open the offending door and therefore I fell, not on the hard floor, but upon the form of my ever-sleeping son. My screaming (due to piercing back pain) was now joined by his screaming (due to having a "slightly" overweight man fall on top of him). Amy, the dog, watched all this with great excitement and decided to join in by barking and whining. I thought I had at least slipped a disk, Alexander thought I was having a heart attack, Amy thought it was time for a walk. The medics tell me I have done nothing more than strained my back : but whatever it is, it hurts.
If a potted plant could lay me low, what real damage could it do if it took a serious dislike to someone? I went in search of an answer on the Internet. And, dear reader, you would be shocked and surprised by the scale of the danger we all face from potted vegetation. Did you know, for example, that US President William McKinley was killed by a potted palm tree? (well OK, his assassin hid behind a convenient potted palm tree but that is clear causation in my book).  Or did you know that the potted plant, Dieffenbachia, can cause serious eye injuries? (Ottosen CO, Irgens-Møller L et al Ugeskr Laeger. 1984 Dec 10;146(50):3927-8). And what about the dreadful case of the Lady in America who was re-potting a indoor plant and found a nest of Copperhead snakes curled up inside the pot? (the type of snake varies with the version of this story you read).
No, I consider myself lucky to have got away with nothing more than an horrendously painful back. It will be a long time before I pick a fight with a potted plant again.

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