A Thorn in my Arm is but one of the Thorns in my Arm

20 Feb


If you ask a hundred Americans to name their favorite flower, eighty-five will say the rose. The remaining fifteen won’t hear you because they’re texting or playing games on their phones. No, seriously, I’m not sure about those fifteen people, but I would guess that they were somehow involved in the rose production process, which includes watering, weed removal, pruning, and wringing blood from socks caused by multiple, severe thorn injuries.

I worked with roses for three summers in a greenhouse the size of six Walmart Supercenters. A greenhouse–you probably didn’t know this–is a glass structure where humans are baked for eight hours a day at exactly 325°.


Gertrude “A rose is a rose is a rose” Stein

On this most fragrant of flowers, Gertrude Stein nailed its essence when she penned “A rose is a rose is a rose.”

Wait, what?

Let’s forget about Gertrude for a moment because the glam metal band Poison said it much better in their 1988 Billboard Hot 100 #1 hit power ballad “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” when they whined “Eeeeevery rooose has its thoorn.” I remember it well because radio stations packed away their OTHER songs to dedicate a solid three months to this ode to faded love.


Radio DJ: And that was Poison singing their hit song “Every Rose Has its Thorn.” Next, we’re going to shake things up a bit; we’re going to play Poison’s hit song “Every Rose Has its Thorn.”

But as I think about it, Poison didn’t know a thing about this popular woody perennial of the genus Rosa of the family Rosaceae. I mean, did they really believe every rose has just one thorn? Idiots! From experience I know that one rose stem brandishes no less than nine hundred thorns, which were all embedded into my skin on any given day.

Still, you’re probably thinking how wonderful it would be to work in such a beautiful, sweet-smelling environment, like your ultra-thoughtful partner is surprising you with roses all day every day. I have just one word for you: shut up! Two words- whatever. Who is this “Gertrude Stein” anyway and what did she know about greenhouses? Nothing!

Gertrude Stein, if working with me during the summer of 1990: “A rose is a rose is a rape of my nose.”

Sure, in my first hour of hard labor I thought “Wow, it’s so pretty in here and it smells so awesome!” By lunch it was “Roses are the stupidest woody perennial in the world and they smell like a pile of decomposing rats!”

Today, after putting so much thought into this matter, I have decided to sue Illinois Roses Ltd. for stealing my ability to enjoy the rose flower. Forget that it was over twenty years ago, that every sliver of glass is now gone, that Illinois Roses Ltd. is no more. The crime on my nose is too large to ignore for even one more decade.

Before that summer I enjoyed–no, I really, really loved–sticking my schnoz into the midst of soft rose petals and inhaling with all my sniffing strength, occasionally ingesting a petal or two. What I did NOT do was duct tape a dozen roses to my face and wear them around all day. I took one good sniff and moved on, like any sane person would.

Sadly, I can’t even surprise my wife with a fistful of daisies because it reminds me of how much I hate roses. So you see, the damage is widespread and very . . . damaging. And I’m going to do something about it.

But first I’m going to listen to that one-thorned Poison song because it really is a nice tune.

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