(originally posted 4/13/2015)
Let’s assume for a minute you live in a temperate clime. Somewhere where the temperate never gets too hot or too cold. A place where flowers take root and never look back.
Given finite space in your garden, would you prefer a bland flower that blooms all year or a flower that has a prettier appearance but only blooms half the year? After that, the flower drops off and you just have a boring green stalk.
I’m guessing your answer to that question is very telling. Psychologists would jot down your decision in a small notebook and feel they had a good handle on you. Do you prefer dull but steady or are you willing to sacrifice a little for the sake of beauty. Withholding the pleasure of seeing a flower for half the year in order to get a better product for the last six months.
I’ll wager there are some of you who would be willing to cut back the flowering time to only three months if there was an equivalent bump in the beauty of the bloom. In grade school this would be the point where I asked you to drag out some graph paper and start to create a chart showing either a steep incline or decline, depending on what parameters you put on the top and side of the graph, in how much additional beauty you’d need to see to allow the bloom to be around less.
Is there a flower so nice that you’d accept that it only bloomed one month a year?
What is if I told you about a flower so amazing that when it blooms people would come from miles around just to see it? TV crews would arrive days beforehand so they could set up and get the perfect shot. For one week a year your neighbors would be jealous and complain about the congestion and you would bask in the reflected glory of your flower.
Then fifty one weeks of a barren stalk.
Could you live with that?
Now what if I told you that there was a flower that only bloomed one day a year but when it did it exploded into such a dizzying array of colors and textures that grown men would weep upon seeing it. Great swarms of hummingbirds would fill the skies around it and large ferocious animals would gather, but they would be docile and allow you to rub their bellies. Then, just as it is about to fold up its petals for the year, it releases a sweet burst of nectar that provides everyone within one hundred yards the longest and most satisfying orgasm of their lives.
Of course, many of you are signing up for that plant without thinking through the dozens of other unintended consequences.