Patsy Porco

Posts Tagged ‘Smoking’


In Humor on August 21, 2012 at 2:35 am

Over the course of my mid-length and mostly unvaried life, I’ve occasionally been asked, “What the hell is wrong with you?” Until now, I didn’t have a response.

Today, while I was in my garden, staking tomato plants that should have been staked a month ago, the answer came to me: I can’t identify plants to save my life. That’s what’s wrong with me, and it’s been going on for a long time.

Because I can’t tell one plant from another, I only have tomatoes in my garden. Back in June, I planted cucumbers, beans, peppers, onions, lettuce, spinach, and God only knows what else. I even wrote what I planted on little plastic sticks and planted them alongside the plants. My dog, Rudy, decided the identifiers were toys, or food, so they were gone immediately.  I didn’t worry too much, reasoning that once the plants bore fruit, I’d know what they were.

I didn’t count on the damage I would wreak with my weeding, however. Even though I covered my garden with black plastic before planting, weeds and morning glories managed to sneak in. Weeds I can handle, but morning glories are the bane of my gardening existence. While they’re pretty, they’re a major nuisance. They grow on long vines and twist themselves all around every plant they can reach. I tried to pull them up as soon as I saw them, but their leaves are identical to the leaves of young cucumber and bean plants. Therefore, I must have torn up all of the cucumber and bean plants along with the morning glories. I also ripped up the peppers, onions, lettuce, and spinach in my haste. Somehow, though, the morning glories survived and are on a mission to strangle the remaining tomato plants.

I should know a little about plants. After all, I took a botany class in my last quarter at The Ohio State University. I learned all about the identifying qualities of leaves and how they indicated what plant they belonged to. My crowning achievement in that class was being able to identify a plant by looking up its leaf serration and flower attributes in my botany book. That was my final, and my correct identification probably meant the difference between my graduating or having to repeat the class.

The class met twice a week, in the summer quarter, from 8 a.m. to noon. During one break, I came back with several of my classmates and we were laughing about something or other. The teaching assistant, who was probably only a year or two older than I was, was not amused. He pulled me out into the hall and asked, “What the hell is wrong with you?” Unfortunately, stressful situations always make me laugh. I just looked at him while attempting to suppress my laughter. He turned a frightening purple color and said, “If you and your friends ever smoke on break again and come back in this state, you will all be automatically flunked.”

I was confused. This was, after all, a time when smoking was a college prerequisite. I just looked at him. “Why can’t we smoke on our break? There are ashtrays in the hallway.”

“You know that I’m not talking about cigarettes,” he yelled at me.

“What are you talking about?” I said between laughs.

“Pot,” he spit out.

“We weren’t smoking pot,” I said.

“Then why were you all giggling when you came back from break? And why do you stink of pot?” I didn’t answer him. I can’t recall, 28 years after the incident, why we were laughing, but chances were good that we were laughing at him.

“Get back in the class and tell your friends what I said,” he commanded. “This is your only warning. I would think that a graduating senior would not jeopardize her graduation by doing something so stupid.”  I didn’t say anything else, for fear of making the situation worse, and returned to my seat.

After the class, far from the classroom, I told my classmates what had happened and they laughed uproariously. “What kind of botany teacher thinks tobacco smells like marijuana?” they asked.

Anyway, that was the end of my botany career. I thought I’d never need it again in real life, like algebra, but it turns out I did.

Too bad I was smoking weed at the time, instead of paying attention. (I’m kidding.)


A Reason To Get Up in the Morning

In Humor on May 12, 2010 at 1:42 pm

I rolled out of bed at 1 p.m. today. I didn’t have to work, so why get up? I remember liking to get up … I think. As a kid, I wouldn’t even sleep on Christmas Eve since I couldn’t wait for Christmas Day to start. The same thing on my birthday. When I was a smoker, I also couldn’t wait to start my day. I loved getting up at 6 or 7 a.m. and having my first cigarette and my first cup of coffee. I spent hours drinking coffee and smoking before I went to work. That wasn’t necessarily a productive way to spend my time but at least I was up. Put that way, maybe I would have been better off staying in bed. The only reason I got up today was because my hair hurt. It must have gotten bent while I was lying on it. I was also tired of dreaming about Greg Kinnear who was trying to pawn his 2D dog off on me. He swore that once it drank water, it would rehydrate and become a 3D dog. He never explained why I should take his dog, regardless of whether it was two- or three-dimensional. 

Some people get up so they can eat. A friend once told me that there are two types of people: those who live to eat and those who eat to live. (She didn’t even consider those who live to drink or drink to live, and I didn’t bring it up.) Since I fall into the latter eating category, and truly prefer to eat later in the day, food is not going to get me out of bed. Being a freelance copy editor offers me a very flexible schedule so I don’t usually have to rise early to get to work. I often work from home, so I can work from whenever I get up until I’m finished.

Another friend, a morning-lover, told me that I was in a depression and should seek help. While she might be right, why is preferring the night to the day a sickness in and of itself? I still get everything done–well, the bare minimum when it comes to housework, and my dog doesn’t get walked enough, and I always find a reason not to exercise, but I think those things would remain constant even if I got up with the birds.

Speaking of birds, we all know that the early bird gets the worm. But what about the raccoon? He wouldn’t accomplish much, stumbling around in the daytime.  And any owl foolish enough to wake with the robins would soon be crying, “What?” instead of “Who?”

I realize that, aside from my night preference, I need to develop a passion for something that will motivate me to get moving. A steady 9 to 5 job would probably fit the bill, but at what cost? If I can make the same amount of money not working 9 to 5, I will always choose that route. I sometimes think about hiring a personal ass kicker–someone who would show up at 7 every morning, drag me out of bed, make me exercise, put me in the car, and send me off to work. I just know we’d come to blows on about the second day, though.

I had a revelation recently, albeit by accident. My car alarm was pealing one morning, so I went out to turn it off and the dog ran out the door and around the block. Dressed in leopard-print pajamas and Fuggs (fake Uggs), I ran around the neighborhood, always a half-block behind the dog, cursing up a storm. When the dog and I finally fell into the front door, I felt an unfamiliar invigoration. I actually wanted to do something, to accomplish something. So, I took a nap.

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