I’m a murderer. Sort of.

Remember a few weeks ago when I confessed that I can’t keep a houseplant alive, but then somehow managed to accidentally grow a plant in my pantry when a sweet potato went rogue?  And then I gave it googley eyes and a name?

Sam I. Yam in happier times.  Naturally smiley and high in vitamin C.
Sam I. Yam in happier times. Naturally smiley and high in vitamin C.

Well it turns out I can’t even keep a yam alive because – in spite of my care – Sam turned gaunt and withered and started to decompose.  Sam was blossoming just fine when he was lost in the back of the pantry but when I rescued him he started dying immediately.  It’s like my love is deadly.  Like I’m an accidental Black Widow, but for plants and sweet potatoes.

We had a quiet funeral and I buried Sam, but only up to his eyeballs (which I had to remove and reset) because the spoon I was using as a shovel broke.  And also because I read that if you plant the bottom part of a dead sweet potato they’ll sometimes come back to life.

Victor could take a lesson.

Then Victor looked out his office window asked me why a sweet potato was staring at him from the yard and I explained that I was attempting to make a vegetable zombie, which is sort of true.  Then he sighed at me because apparently bringing the dead back to life is another thing on The List Of Things I’m Not Allowed To Do According To Victor.  I didn’t even mention the broken spoon because if he’s this upset about me trying to Frankenstein a potato I figured he was too irrational to deal with silverware issues, so I took the broken spoon and buried it next to Sam because that way Victor won’t find it and also it’s probably a good way to add iron to the soil.

Then Victor was like, “You don’t have funerals for spoiled potatoes  You throw them away” and I was like “You can’t throw away something you’ve named.  Where is your humanity?” and then he said that I needed to stop naming vegetables, which is just insane because I’ve done that ONCE in my whole life, Victor.  Way to focus on the negative while I’m in mourning.  Honestly, Victor could take a lesson from that upbeat potato.

But the good news is that on my way back inside from burying the broken spoon I saw something that made me smile in spite of the grave situation.

I saw a tiny little weed sprouting out of a small hole in our stairs.


I’m going to call her Shirley.

133 thoughts on “I’m a murderer. Sort of.

Read comments below or add one.

  1. I’m not one to interfere (well, actually I am one, but I pretend I’m not), but you might have more luck if you buried Sam I. Yam the other way around. Like, cover up his HAIR. As for Shirley, a sunflower seed that the birds rejected over the winter became Lola, the full-grown sunflower on our patio. Nasty folks told us Lola would crack the patio stones, but Lola was a lady.

    (Bury him head first? Are you some sort of sadist? ~ Jenny)

  2. I’m rooting (see what I did there?) for zombie Sam I. Yam. And don’t call me Shirley.
    (Wow. I managed a completely lame joke and a dated movie reference in one two-sentence post. I rock!!)

  3. What does Victor have against peeping Toms? First, he objected to Beyonce and now Sam. He must be a real scream on Halloween and to carolers.

  4. This will reveal my gardening ignorance, but: If the way to grow a yam is to stick a yam in the ground, does that mean that we’ve all been eating one yam, repeatedly?

    (My head just exploded. Someone get a scientist to answer these important questions. ~ Jenny)

  5. I love your zombie-yam garden. I can only imagine what people would think seeing a yam staring at them from the ground – I’m laughing just thinking about it. Keep up your shenanigans!

  6. Sam I. Yam = awesome name! (an important reason to keep him around, clearly. Ahem, Victor!) Shirley made me snort. Long may she thrive!

  7. Victor really needs to widen his horizons. Funerals are for what ever we need to mourn. If Beyonce broke, you’d have a funeral for her, wouldn’t you?

  8. I had a shitty day at work and this just evaporated my bad mood within a minute.
    You are awesome personified. Screw what Victor thinks 😉

  9. One year when I planted my spring flowers, I put in sweet potato vines. They’re merely decorative, or so I was told, but when I pulled them out in the fall, I’d accidentally grown a yam. Sweet potatoes are probably going to be responsible for the zombie apocalypse, feisty buggers.

  10. I predict that Sam I. Yam is totally going to make a Zombie baby by spreading out his hair while singing, “I whip my hair back and forth”, as those freaky tendrils creep along the ground….Sam I. Yam is probably going to kill you while you sleep but he will be totally NOT sorry because your killed him first so turn about is fair play and all. So yeah, good luck with that.

  11. I killed my cactus. I don’t even know how I killed my cactus. It’s a CACTUS. I can’t throw it away though..I’m just watching it get skinnier and skinnier…like a slow motion cactus horror movie.

  12. My screenplay “Zombie Crushing Booby Girls” I figure any movie with this title is a surefire money maker) will now feature a yam subplot.

  13. Definitely bury his head. That’s not hair, it’s roots. You put his eyes on his butt and now he’s tormented. You created a Frankenyam, you must ease his horror.

  14. Do sweet potatoes wear pants? Cuz there’s only one thing to do when he’s mostly dead….go through his pockets and look for loose change 🙂

  15. I always thought house plants were dumb anyway. I worked so hard to sweep up, wipe up, vacuum up dirt in the house, why are people bringing buckets of into the house?! I try to get dirt to stay outside of the house. Who wants pots of smelly dirt in their abode?

  16. Sweet potato plants can be pretty. Just, if you have gardeners, mark the spot with a tomato cage or something so they don’t “pull the weed” in the spring.
    It took a really long time for me to realize why the perennials I kept buying for my mother never came back the next year….

  17. I think you’ve discovered your Plan B career, or at least a side job. You could love people’s weeds to death. No harsh chemicals necessary. You’re actually saving the planet by lovingly killing weeds. Could you do me a solid and vow to love all poison ivy? I’m really allergic and it would be great if you did away with those little itchy bastards.

    PS – Don’t love the whole planet, though. Obviously.

    PPS – Victor couldn’t argue with the extra income. You’re winning on so many levels.

  18. I’m trying to decide if I want to text this to my boyfriend or save it to read to him later… Apparently I’m a lot like you and he is a lot like victor. The towels that led to Beyoncé…. Yeah we have had similar discussions about Tupperware… He can’t understand why I needed to buy new Tupperware because this type was divided… Um hellos its divided now my rice doesn’t have to touch the rest of my food.

  19. Victor was disturbed by the naming of the yam, and not the fact that his eyeballs shifted? I think that man needs to get his priorities straight.

  20. That weed won’t last. Speaking of, what you’re cost for services “taking care” of the weeds in my yard? I have quite a few that sprout in the cracks of my walkway that need your “tender loving care.”

  21. Is Sam. I. Yam. going to be a zombie resurrection miracle for the Church of Bloggessianism? Should we put up an additional holiday tree, or will a frilly headed faux yam hung on our usual tree suffice? Or Festivus pole or something? Some people hang glass pickles on their trees, so why not another glittery piece of produce?

    Sam. I. Yam. Still more handsome and less creepy than the elf on the shelf.

    Laughing and laughing at the thought of the shenanigans that somehow seem to happen in the spot outside of Victor’s office window. Jenny, if you ever manage to contact alien life in the galaxy, this plot outside of Victor’s office will be their landing spot or portal or worm hole or whatever.

    Thanks for the laughter.

  22. I have boiled 5 of my children’s fish…we are now a pet-less family. I didn’t realize the sun was coming in so strong it was essentially boiling the Betas that were residing on the kitchen counter. Took me 5 swap outs before I caught on. No way I could maintain plant life.

  23. Just a thought: iron tends to be a hindrance to the undead community. Faerie folk, for example, can’t stand iron. So the spoon may actually inhibit your zombie’s return. Go get some calves brains or something to bury with Sam I Yam. Zombie’s love brains.

  24. The little sprig of life reminded me of this — when I was 12 my parents strangely and unexpectedly had a single mushroom grow out of the wall in their bathroom. It grew between a crack in the moulding and the flocked wallpaper. We left it alone for awhile since you had to admire the mushroom’s desire to live, even inside a ranch house in suburbia.

  25. I think it would be a great way to honor Sam if you added a little yam ghost to your haunted dollhouse. Or a little yam zombie.

  26. You’ve obviously never seen a sweet potato vine. Barring a winter freeze, you may have given spawn to the sweet potato that ate your yard. Maybe you can write a musical a la Little House of Horrors, but not to worry, they don’t eat humans. Not yet, anyway.

  27. Have I told you lately how much I love you? Because I really, truly, do.

    You had me at the buried spoon…

  28. Please know that I mean it as a total compliment when I say that my husband has told me that you and I can’t be allowed to be friends. As I have to be dragged kicking and screaming from the house myself, I realize this won’t be a real problem. I need to find some googly eyes to put on something in the frig….bwah, ha, haaa!!!

  29. So yes, sweet potatoes love the heat of the south. A friend of mine had tilled a garden at her rent house. She carefully planted vegetables and watered it daily. She didn’t plant three kinds of potatoes, and watermelons which grew and almost killed all her other produce. Good news is the potatoes were free and yummy! Just make super sure to remove the plant and all potatoes at the end of the season or you may have an invasion of the zombie sweet potatoes for centuries! I think the red potato vines are the prettiest. They make tubs for growing potatoes to prevent potato invasions, but my boyfriend told me we didn’t need one! I may plant a few around the garage to test him

  30. Sam I. Yam has a chance, a small chance, to make it. He is loved though, so that helps! I snorted when I read about Shirley – that’s my Mom’s name. Good luck to that wee plant as well!

  31. Now that Sam is dead, is it ok if I put a picture of him on my altar, leave offerings, and ask him to help me with my magical shit like I do with other dead people, animals and vegetables? PS, I might have been able to raise him from the dead but I think he’s been in the ground too long. (sorry, I should have checked your blog earlier.) Let me know right away when you kill the next vegetable, or even a fruit.

  32. don’t mention Shirley to Victor, wouldn’t want him to cement her door closed…

  33. All of you wanting to bury him head first… for shame. (those are not roots, but stems and leaves) Now if you wanted to bury him sideways, we can talk.

  34. Pretty sure Sam’s hair isn’t roots (roots don’t grow up, and a sweet potato is a tuber, so the roots are more hairlike), so you planted him slightly sideways, but not upside down. I hope he likes his new garden spot!

  35. Seed potatoes (yams/sweet potatoes) Often shrivel and start rotting when they start to bloom. See it all the time when I dig up my potatoes during harvest. Sam actually looks like he’s doing well with his little green leaves!

  36. We once had a pumpkin vine growing out of the asphalt in our parking area. I made my husband drive around it for weeks until we got one, tiny pumpkin. Perhaps I should have named it.

  37. bwahahaha! RIP Sam I. Yam until you come again…
    I don’t think it is creepy that his eyes moved. Seems to me that a zombie sweet potato would have moving googly eyes. Logic.

  38. I think notquiteold (comment 2 or 3 or something like that) is actually right. Bury him head down. Then, think of him as an ostrich zombie yam.

    I think the eyes are sort of ostrich-y, when you think about it.

  39. Was Shirley’s hole/entryway already there or did she burrow a perfectly round hole in your concrete? Cause that would scare me. I mean, if she can burrow through concrete? Patientlly gnaw, gnaw, gnawing and then one day you’ve got a sinkhole! LOL.

  40. Every day it’s somethin’!! Again, you made my day! 🙂 Thanks for the laughs! Victor can be such a debbie downer! ha ha ha

  41. Thanks for this, now I dont feel so bad about spending my afternoon crafting a tombstone for my 6yr olds dead goldfish who is currently residing in my freezer in a Ziploc bag.

  42. I think Sam might stand a chance, unlike the pumpkin seed that we started in our kitchen sink. You should put a little protective fence around Shirley before Victor steps on her.

  43. I am sorry for your loss…. I think he is in a better place now, (outside Victor’s office creeping him out) Googly eyes make everything better!!! But shirley is a tad small… maybe she is a cyclops?

  44. You used Frankenstein as a verb.

    I can’t remember what number I’m up to, but I am totally adding this to my list of reasons why I ADORE your writing.

  45. I have a houseplant named Lazurus because he keeps dying and I bring him back to life. Too bad I can’t make wine out of water..

  46. I read this and now I have an image of Sam.I Yam yelling “But I’m not dead yet” in a British accent while Victor tries to convince you to just let him throw Sam on the cart since he’ll be dead soon anyway.

  47. Have you ever read “The Family Tree” by Shirley Tepper? If you haven’t, you should. You’ll love it.

  48. I love how Sam’s hair is flying in the wind like he’s Fabio being buried alive or something. Now I know what I’m doing for my next short story.

  49. I seem to remember one of my college roommates tossing some mostly dead potatoes out into the planter outside our kitchen door one time. Then we totally forgot about them. A few months later, potatoes for everyone. So apparently you should completely ignore Sam I. Yam’s shriveled corpse, because zombie potatoes/yams do best in stealth mode.

  50. I have a yam (or really, a Sweet Potato — I haven’t named her yet) who started to grow leaves, so I made a cutting and have her growing in the windowsill in an old jam jar. She has filled out beautifully and soon I will transplant her to the garden and see if she stays this happy outside (I imagine the summer may kill her, but it’s been sort of almost cool lately).

    I need to get her some googly eyes. And a name. Maybe Patty. Patty S. Potato.

    Sam I. Yam is a very upbeat fellow. Victor can be a real downer.

  51. Oh thank you so much for that laugh. Like you, I can’t keep plants alive for sh*t. Except weeds, and technically I did nothing so they were fine before I ever came into the picture.

  52. I spent my childhood having funerals for baby mice. I did not kill them. Their parents did. And they ate them. Sad but true, I had cannibal pet mice. I think it’s perfectly normal to name plants, and bring them back from the dead, especially when you could be eating your own young. Tell that to Victor next time he complains.

  53. YOU CAN STILL SAVE HIS BABIES! Snap off a couple of those longer shoots (sort of disengage them from the potato – it’s tricky surgery, but I have faith in you) and put them in a glass of water with 1″ of water. The bottoms will grow roots in a couple days.

  54. Victor seems to be badly misinformed about which things are and aren’t done in today’s yamcentric society.

    Also if he’s going to get all huffy about a little bit of casual necromancy then he would be well advised to just stop looking out the window.

  55. Shirley? You must be joking! (Also, I apologize (but not really) if someone else already made that same joke.)

  56. Ah, yes. A black thumb. I have one, too. I have killed the unkillable spider plant.

    My MIL said to wait until it looked dead, and then water it.

    I guess I waited too long.

  57. I totally understand how you feel as I too, suffer from the “black thumb” curse. Tired of the emotional roller coaster of finding everything I managed to sprout withered and dead, I eventually decided to fill our flower pots on the front porch with plastic zombie fingers looted from the kid’s Halloween pails. I told my family they sprouted from some fingernail clippings I planted on a whim. If they have withered at all, no one can tell, since they were made to look all gnarly and gross to begin with. 🙂

  58. Um, did you put a stake through his heart? What if he comes back a yampire?

    Do Yampires drink carrot juice? Your potential peeping pantry might be in danger.

    Yup. I went there. I’m not sorry. (might be a little tipsy, though)

  59. I love Victor. I’m first in line to marry him when you are done with him. Please don’t ever be done with him because where would you get your material from then?

  60. You should write a post on “The List Of Things I’m Not Allowed To Do According To Victor”. I feel like there’s a gold mine in that, and frankly, we’d all probably love to hear more tales from what seems to be the greatest marriage in the history of the world. (You guys could have a hugely successful reality show lol)

  61. Love.Love. Love. I haven’t taken to naming vegetables yet, but I do have a habit of calling my cats completely different names than their own. Like Handsome Banana, Yola, booby bear and Bubby. They are so confused.

  62. So I recently acquired one of those glass things that’s behind Sam in the alive photo. Does anyone know what it is and how to use it?? (Unfortunately I do not have that pipe, but I’m looking into it)

  63. “But the good news is that on my way back inside from burying the broken spoon I saw something that made me smile in spite of the grave situation.”

    Are you referring to Sam I. Yams’ actual physical grave-site and Victor just not understanding the situation with his grave, orrrrr to the serious and solemn nature of his unfortunate and much-too-early demise? (Also, I love puns)

  64. My name is Shirley! I am going to take this personally, in a good way, even though you didn’t know until I commented that I existed. Thank you. Try not to crush my going down the steps. <3

  65. I’m going to stop cleaning out the fridge so I can see how many things I can stick googly eyes onto in a couple of months.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: