I have been informed by my computer that the title “Fingers Crossed” has already been used; ergo, I had to append the word “again” so I would not have to delete the first “Fingers Crossed” to retain this one. It would appear that I cross my fingers a lot, because here we are again. Although this time, it’s about something entirely different. I think. I do not recall what the original “Fingers Crossed” was actually about, and, of course, I am unable to locate it. (Combined with a lack of interest in making the requisite effort.)
Anyway, I am in the middle of a situation that could go either way. Hence, the apparently habitual “Fingers Crossed.” And with that…
Away we go.
I have no idea what “cress” is. And I was equally ignorant when I was instructed to grow some on the radio.
By which I do not mean that I would be literally growing “cress” on a radio – I do not even know if you can do that; having cress clinging like ivy over a radio. And why would you want to if you could?
“Oo-oo! My radio’s all green! And I can’t turn the knobs anymore!”
Growing “cress” was a CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) radio producer’s idea of a “Human Interest” story. That same producer subsequently offered me the opportunity to hitchhike across Canada in the winter and call into the program with periodic reports. I politely said “No” to that proposal.
This assignment appeared substantially easier. At least it did not involve frostbite. (And the accompanying amputation of digits.)
I forget the name of the program, but it undoubtedly had the word “Canada” in it. They seemingly all do. For a supposedly non-chauvinistic country, we seem to do a hatful of “horn-blowing” on the radio.
I started out as the show’s TV critic, where I was positively received. I made fun of The Miss America Pageant, but I no longer recall how. You can fill in the blanks on that one. It is not that difficult.
It was from my success as the TV critic that the exciting “cress-growing” opportunity evolved.
Here’s how it worked. I was issued a package of “cress” seeds, on the back of which were the “Growing Instructions.” I would then follow those instructions, and every week, I would return to the show with a “Farmer Pomerantz” update about how my “Cress Garden” was coming along.
Growing “cress” is like some kind of a Fifth Grade – or maybe a Third Grade – “Science Experiment” that they were assigning an adult to pull off. I today recall this much concerning that experience.
There was an eight-inch baking pan involved, you know, where the vertical edges rise up and slightly out? You covered the bottom of that baking pan with a layer of absorbent cotton that the “cress” would grow out of. I imagine there was regular watering involved, probably regular maintenance as well, though I no longer recall the specifics.
What I do remember, with crystal and shuddering clarity, is this:
My patch of “cress” died virtually immediately.
It emerged from the cotton. It turned scraggily and brown. And then it succumbed.
In less than two weeks, my “cress” was a goner. I looked on in horror, Tom Joad, after the locusts attacked the wheat field.
I now had to go on the radio and confess coast-to-coast that I had ignominiously failed to grow “cress.” A beaming eight-year old could march into their classroom, the vegetation in their baking pan flourishing and alive. But not me.
I was a notorious “Cress Killer.”
Shortly thereafter, I was dropped from the radio show. My departure, however, was only partially due to my botanical debacle. In my role as the TV critic, I locked horns with the show’s host concerning the artistic merits of a CBC country music perennial, Singalong Jubilee. The host liked it; I didn’t.
What surprised me is that he didn’t get fired for disagreeing with me.
That was ironic. It didn’t. Which is not to say it did not sting. (Or do I mean “stink”?)
Still, it was not being fired from the program that was ultimately the most resonant consequence of that experience. Nor was it the national humiliation. The continuing issue is me and plants.
They do not seem to survive around me.
I am currently in a reverberatingly reminiscent predicament. I have been given the caretaking responsibility for a newly purchased and planted pomegranate tree.
At the moment, things are not looking promising.
To Be Continued.
And “Fingers Crossed.”