Downs the plant murderer

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By Meaghan Downs

Mitt Romney is dying.
I didn’t intend to kill him. I only wanted to brighten up my new apartment, but I’m slowly torturing the poor guy, watering him one day and leaving him to wilt the next.
It’s supposed to be difficult to kill geraniums.
But no plant, not even Mitt Romney the pink geranium, is safe from my black gardener’s thumb.
It doesn’t matter what party: Republican, Democrat, Communist. Death by my careless hands is the great equalizer when it comes to houseplants.
Some people keep scrapbooks.
I keep track of the years according to what plant perished.
In 2007, it was Barack Obama the ivy plant. Cause of death: one week neglected in my dorm room over Thanksgiving break.
Sophomore year, beloved African violet Ruth Bader Ginsberg died a tragic death of frostbite after being exposed to the Nebraska winter via my dorm windowsill. The jury’s still out on who’s to blame for that one.
Sarah Palin the spider plant, after being on life support for a couple months, rallied and went home with my college roommate for the summer.
Then her mother threw her in the trash.
Sonia Sotomayor, Supreme court justice and plant purchase I made on a whim on a late night Walmart run in 2010: whereabouts unknown.
I don’t know why I continue to buy plants, especially if I know they’ll most likely meet untimely ends.
Maybe it’s this image of becoming Martha Stewart: a plant nurturer admired for the ability to whip out beautiful, thoughtful house-warming gifts of jam she made herself.
My logic: if I can keep a plant alive, then I’m officially a grown-up.
I am not devoid of maternal, care-giving instinct.
Instead, Meaghan the reporter is a plant murderer who names her victims after politicians and eats spoonfuls of peanut butter because she’s too lazy to run out and buy bread.
Summer 2011 is coming to its halfway point. Hopefully, the death of Mitt Romney will not be the event that marks this summer of transitions, of a new job and a new community.
Margaret Thatcher the sweet basil plant seems to be doing well. Maybe she’ll make it to the fall.
Fingers crossed.