I was just settling down to another day at the office when I happened upon the startling news about a trend in China of people wearing plastic flowers on their heads. Yes – taking a plastic flower and sticking the stem in the hair so that it looks as if the flower is growing directly out of the head.
The obvious question was, of course, why do the flower arrangements have to be plastic? Surely there must be a way to grow real flowers on your head. I went outside into my yard and got some dirt from the garden and sprinkled in on my head, and planted a seed, and watered it. And within a few days, a sprout began to show itself.
The most difficult thing was washing my hair without damaging the fledgling flower. At first I tried to put a small plastic bag over my head in the shower, and then shampoo around the plastic bag. But the stream of water kept bending the small plant, struggling to grow. So instead I went to the local florist, and was advised to just put my head under the sprinkler for half an hour every day.
As my flower on my head grew taller I thought it might be nice to add a few others, just for some variety. Before long I had daisies and tulips and even roses. A few dandelions showed up, but I got a good discount on a lawn service and the itchy scalp and dizziness from the pesticides lasted only a few days.
People started to stop me on the street and admire my head garden. If I was standing in front of my house on a nice day, they would slow down their cars as they passed and look. Often they would take photographs, and I always sure to ask that they not sell the pictures on eBay.
One day I noticed I was attracting bumblebees. The bees would buzz in and around the flowers on my head and I was worried I or some passersby would get stung. I went online to see if there were any methods to getting rid of bees, and I learned that the bees help the flowers grow. So I learned to live with the bees, forcing some of my co-workers to start wearing body nets around the office.
Then there was the time the town water authority issued a warning that I was using up too much water to water my head. I needed the water to keep the flowers looking fresh, and to reduce the watering schedule even a little would cause them to droop and bring less sunshine into everyone’s day. I started an online campaign on one of those sites where you can raise money from complete strangers for valuable causes. I told them about my head garden and what it stood for, and what it meant, and how I needed water to keep the flowers looking fresh and that the town was shutting me down. The outpouring of aid was more than I ever could have imagined. Within two weeks I had enough water money to grow my head garden for the next three years.
But then something happened that I had not expected and could not control. The weather turned cold, and the flowers on my head started to lose their petals. I found petals on my pillow when I awoke and in my bowl of breakfast cereal. I kept the heat on in my home but it did no good. Once I walked outside to go to work, the cruel autumn crept in and deflowered more flowers on my head. By the time I was in the supermarket looking for “fun size” Snickers bars to appease the Halloween extortionists, my head garden was completely gone, leaving nothing but memories and a streak of yellow in my hair from the pesticides.
Some people ask me why I don’t just get a plastic flower, like they have in China, so that I can have my garden all year long. I told them they didn’t understand; that what made having flowers on your head so special was that I had personally tilled my hair and watched the flowers grow, like little children into adults. A plastic flower just wouldn’t be the same. And the stores were all sold out.