How I Became Born Again Without Going To Prison

Call me crazy but I don’t think [insert deity of your choice] resides only within the walls of our penal system. Yeah, yeah, I know.  He/She/It seems to be found most frequently there but I’m here to tell you, I think I’ve got a Higher Power of some sort lurking around my crib.

Case in point….

I am an admitted serial plant killer. Unlike Dexter, however, I’ve been strictly homicidal and have no redeeming qualities or justifications for my killing.  If I had only killed, say, poison oak then I would be doing the community a service.  Please understand that my killings are not actually deliberate but rather….spontaneous as if my very presence causes plants to wither and die. I tried desperately for years to turn my black thumb green just like Crystal Gayle turned her brown eyes blue but it wasn’t in the cards for me.  Plantacide was my destiny, and I began to accept it.

A few lovely and unsuspecting friends gave me orchids as gifts over the last year. I smiled graciously, thanked them profusely and cooed over the delicate petals and fascinating root system of these glorious creations.  I promised to take good care of them.  I placed them in my kitchen window. And then more orchid gifts arrived. And then an African violet.  For the love of James Woods, what is going on here?  Doesn’t anyone know I’m the Ted Bundy of greenery?

But then…..[cue the dancing garden gnomes]….a miracle!   Halle-fucking-lujah, they began to thrive. All of them! And they bloomed multiples times!.  Again and again this miracle of regrowth played out in the window of my kitchen. I began speaking to them. I bought them orchid food. I lit incense and chanted. I was washed in the blood of the orchids. I was born again by their very life force.  I…began to worship them.  Just like Chris Cooper in Adaptation [without the drugs and weird sex shit].

The real proof of my transformation, however, came in the form of the miracle-infused potting soil that came with my lemon tree.  For some  reason, the squirrels that hang out in my oak tree and torment my dogs were suddenly going bat-shit crazy for the lemon tree dirt. Every day they’d dig like maniacs on crack flinging dirt everywhere. Frantic, searching, digging, clawing, playing out some sort of squirrel version of Trainspotting right on my patio!

And then…out of the dirt, sprouts shot up. Fast! They looked like weeds. I was tempted to yank them out and stuff them in my yard waste bin. But I resisted. No, Jules. Do not kill them. Resist…resist…..resist…..

I did. And I was born again.

As if to symbolize my transformation from killer to nurturer in the most profound and glorious way, sunflowers bloomed right there in my lemon tree pot.  They are over six feet tall now. I had to prop them up with a broom handle [no worries, I never used that broom anyway]. They are so yellow-y and full of radiant happiness, I think I could use them to run my dishwasher if I could figure out a way to get all that bright sunny energy into the house.

So, you see, it was the sunflower seeds in the potting soil that drove the squirrels whack-o.

They probably ate most of those seeds before they had a chance to grow. Little fuckers!  Whyyyy, I oughta….no, Jules, no…..resist…..resist…stay on the path of righteousness.


“There Is Hope For You!”

That was the subject of an e-mail I received from InkTip the other day.

I love Inktip.  They do a great job hosting the work of writers. I’ve gotten quite a few reads from industry pros being a part of this well-run, professional web-site.

Have to say I did a double-take on that subject line, though.  That’s probably the point, right?  I mean, they wanted me to read the e-mail and of course I did.

My thought process went a little something like this:

Thought #1: Thank God!

Thought #2:  Holy shit!  Just how hopeless am I, anyway? I must read on and find out … just in case I’m the last to know and this is some kind of gentle intervention.

The details of the e-mail are irrelevant beyond the super good part.  They say there is hope for me.  And gosh darn it!  I believe them because I fail to see a downside except, perhaps, living in complete and total denial that breaking into the writing business is a simple matter of being able to string a sentence together when the fact is it’s way harder than, say…..becoming a brain surgeon. Okay…so there’s that one tiny downside but whatever.  Let’s not get too bogged down with details, k?  I’m on a high here.


Not because of the e-mail.

Because of The Orchid.

It’s from my kitchen.  It is on its second blooming. It is a miracle. It deserves to be referred to in capital letters.

I say this because nothing green grows in my care.  N.o.t.h.i.n.g.

Until The Orchid.

It holds a shrine-line position in my kitchen window.  It is fed every six days with ice-blue holy water…..three teaspoons exactly.

Yes, indeed.  There is hope for me.

Hard To Kill

I do not have a green thumb.

I wish I did because I love beautiful flowers and lush green stuff growing in fertile earth reaching for the sun with joy and enthusiasm inspiring the human soul to go forth and plant and nurture and create a symphony of organic life.

And then….there is me.

Alas, as soon as I appear with one of those cute little metal shovels dragging a steaming bag of compost into my back yard, all things green shudder and shrink away.

If plants could talk:


Good god!  Will this human ever give it up?  Hasn’t she killed enough of us already?  If she would just Google the term “root bound”….

For which I would reply through appropriate legal counsel:


Said human is determined to make restitution for her past gardening homicides.  Actually, to clarify they would be gardening manslaughter as they lacked intent….see above disclaimer about wishing for a green thumb.  This technically gets my client off the hook because wishing for a green thumb effectively eliminates the possibility of any  premeditated killing of plant life. 

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, here’s my plan.


Thanks to an article in my local newspaper, I’m convinced this is the way to go.

There is hope for me.  

“Succulents are easy to grow and hard to kill.”

Oh, happy day!!  This is music to my ears!

I am overjoyed.  Born again!  Saved!

(Although, I would have felt a little better if they were IMPOSSIBLE to kill but hard to kill is good enough for now).

At last….something that can live with little care, does not wilt in the sweltering sun, can even survive occasional neglect and grows in a minimum amount of soil. 

Can this be?

I can’t say for sure but it’s in the paper so it has to be true, right?

Yes…today I choose to believe these printed words.

I shall extol the virtues of succulents!  I will spread the Good Word and witness to my fellow black-thumbers.  Go forth and kill no more! The newspaper has declared it so!

Oh, man. This is better than finding God (who is generally only found in prisons or by recently released felons bullshitting the average Joe during a 60 Minutes p.r. roadshow about how they’ve changed and need to be forgiven so they can restablish their sports career and…..don’t get me started) .

In the name of all things green and sacred, I declare my faith in succulents.