“What do you think of our new succulent? I asked my husband as I presented the small plant resting on our family room coffee table. I had decided to take the leap from plastic plants to live ones and figured this would be one I couldn’t kill too easily.
He looked at it and scrunched up his face.
“It’s okay… but can you get something else?” He asked.
“Why?” I wondered. “You don’t like it?”
“I don’t like the name.”’
“Yeah. It bothers me,” he replied.
I narrowed my eyes at him. “And so therefore you don’t want it in the house?”
“Thank goodness you don’t mind my name,” I said irritably.
I was quite dumbfounded. Who the heck rejects an item because they don’t like what it’s called? I guess I really shouldn’t have been surprised, though. My husband is a wonderful guy but he has always been a little word-intolerant. He has passed on desserts at restaurants that were described as “moist” or “tasty,” refuses to eat anything with a “spork,” and won’t have anything to do with a product that comes as an “ointment.” He avoids at all costs, using our outdoor “spigot,” or associating with anyone with a lot of “spunk.”
“If it really bothers you, we don’t have to call it a succulent,” I said. “We can just refer to it as, ‘The Plant That Dare Not be Named.’”
“Ugh. Don’t say that name.”
“I can never unhear that,” he complained.
I sighed. I decided that if this was going to be an issue, I really should go ahead and make it a huge issue.
“Do you know what a synonym for succulent is?” I asked him.
“No, what?” he wondered.
He glared at me.
“I see what you’re trying to do here,” he said.
“And did you know that aloe comes from a succulent?” I continued. “And aloe is an ointment.”
“See honey, you can’t escape it,” I said. “But they’re just words. They don’t bite.”
“But I don’t like them.”
“OK. I get it,” I finally replied. “I don’t want to make you miserable. I’ll replace it with something else. Do you have a problem with the word ‘cactus’?”
“No, cactus is fine.”
“OK, it’s a cactus then.”
“I can work with that,” he replied.
“Great. By the way, a cactus is a succulent.”
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