Thursday, May 22, 2008


As I said before, I drove through Vermont last weekend to see my daughter graduate from college, and I was struck by the outright beauty of dandelion fields. Yellow was always my mother's favorite color, but never mine. I always took after my father, and adopted green as my color choice ("God made the earth green because it's the easiest color on the eyes"). My dad was more of an oak-leaf green kind of guy, while I lean more toward lobster tamale, or infectious discharge.

After driving miles and miles past green fields peppered with the yellow of dandelions, I realized how much I owe my parents for my outlook on the world. My father could spend an entire weekend, snake tongue trowel in hand, plunging it deep into the earth to excise the full dandelion root. Most often, he did this while only clad in boxer shorts ("What's the difference between boxers and a bathing suit"? That he would fetch me from the playground without dressing further proved to be an endless source of embarrassment for me, but that's another story). Then he would gather the entire pile of dandelion corpses and throw them in the trash, but like our savior, they would reappear, reanimated, for the following weekend's fun.

My father apparently never realized the benefits of dandelions. Their deep root system aerates the soil far better than any spiked roller ever could. And they apparently attract a wide variety of beneficial insects as well. In fact, a recent study at the University of Wisconsin found that there is a twofold increase in ladybug population in acreage where dandelions are allowed to grow (I have decided to let them grow in my yard in the hope that the millions of ladybugs inhabiting my front hall will evacuate to the backyard). They serve many medicinal purposes, removing warts, and providing increased liver function. One serving of dandelion greens, cooked or uncooked, provides twice the daily requirement of vitamins A and C, as well as beta carotene (I myself would prefer to dine on dogshit washed down with my own urine, but I don't speak for everyone). In fact, the dandelion is cultivated in many parts of the world.

I confess, that after discovering the benefits of dandelions, I was certain of a conspiracy of lawncare product manufacturers to eradicate the pretty dandelion, but apparently they have been held in low standing for millennia.

I have never had a problem with the mixture of yellow and green on the lawns of the world, but I apparently stand with the minority, and I, admittedly, am a little odd. But for those of you that are so sure that the dandelion is a pest, might I suggest a drive through Vermont.

It is clear to me that we all do not like the same things. There is enough religious intolerance and sexual deviation among us to fill more pages than I will ever pen. One man's pleasure is another mans pest. There is a little dandelion in all of us. Let's hope that we, as a species turn out to be as hardy as Taraxacum officinale.

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