Friday, January 14, 2011


I come to THE HOPE LADY Blog today chastened by the after-effects of having been forced to make a life-and-death decision--not the most serious decision of its kind, you might claim, but important to me nonetheless. Today I once again had to decide whether to kill, or not to kill the 14th phalaenopsis.
Outright phalaenopsis murder is definitely not an act with which I would choose to be associated. But on the other hand, a question nagged: Should I sacrifice Phal14 in the hope of bettering conditions for the other 13? Examining the question from an ethical perspective, it was necessary to explain why Phal14 should be the object of such a deadly consideration. Alas, like so many of life’s difficult hconsiderations, that question had more than one answer. Simply put, it had three answers: yes; no; and maybe.
In support of yes, there was “Yes. There is no reason to sacrifice the health of 13 blooming and almost-blooming orchids for the sake of one small plant that is neither blooming nor in bud. That plant has been keeping company with an unsavory colony of Mealybugs. Mealybugs don’t like to limit their luncheons to a single phalaenopsis. Think of the rest of them! Let it go.”
Supporting the no side there was “No. Why should you kill a perfectly good phalaenopsis? Are you punishing it unfairly? Did it know what it was doing when it allowed the Mealybugs to visit? Surely you cannot claim that you have made every possible effort to restore it to perfection.”
Soon the other stakeholders were adding their voices to the cacophany. “Kill Phal14,” cried Phal1. “And while you’re at it, sterilize the pots. I’ve been blooming here in this window since 2003. Not once have I entertained a Mealybug. Now I am old and vulnerable, my roots exposed, and shrivelling. Would you put me at risk in a possibly fruitless attempt to save the life of this unproven upstart?” I had to admit, it was difficult to argue with anything that Phal1 had said, and I said as much to the assembly. That brought a swift reaction.
“Save Phal14,” cried Phal13. “Look at me. I have Mealybugs, and I’m still blooming. The same can be said of Phal11. Maybe Phal14 can bloom again. Tell me honestly Wendy. Presented with this evidence, what would THE HOPE LADY say?”
And thus, As so often happens, the results of the investigation are not so easily interpreted. You might claim that the no side won, noting that Phal14 was returned to the window after receiving a bath designed to drown the Mealybugs. THE HOPE LADY argument was bound to carry the day. Trust those bleeding-heart liberals to put the whole society at risk for the sake of a few under-achieving whiners.
But actually, the most conclusive evidence shows that the maybe side won for sure. Bloomless Phal14 escaped by the skin of its leaves, while its blooming and almost-blooming neighbours, having also succumbed to the temptation of inviting guests to dinner, received a somewhat more charitably administered Mealybug-drowning bath. Bleeding-heart liberal I may be, but I still prefer to help those who help themselves.
“Bloom!” I warned Phal14, checking the underside of one last leaf for that telltale stickiness. “The Mealybugs are hiding somewhere, waiting for dessert. If your future is in my hands, evidence of a future blossom could be the one thing that eventually saves your life.”

No comments: