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Cactus killer, qu’est-ce que c’est?

April 29th, 2012 · 76 comments

She likes her humor like she likes her cactus: dry.

Dear Cactus Killer, Thank you for being so helpful as to water my cactus. No doubt you felt it was in desperate need of TLC, as I seldom seem to pay it any mind whatsoever. However, in being such a super helpy-helperton, you seem to have murdered it, and now I am sad. In the future, please kindly refrain from caring for any sort of plant or plant-like object on my desk. Sadly, a former owner of an awesome catcus [sic]

related: “Just feed me to the cat.”

FILED UNDER: flowers, trees, houseplants & gardens · most popular notes of 2012 · office · thanks (but not really)

76 responses so far ↓

  • #1   Erin

    I think the crazy uniform handwriting is the eeriest part of Cactus Lover’s note.

    Apr 29, 2012 at 9:26 pm   rating: 51  small thumbs up

    • #1.1   kellita

      Thank God I’m not the only one to find it creepy!

      Apr 30, 2012 at 1:02 pm   rating: 4  small thumbs up

    • #1.2   Beatus Mongous

      Hey! My sister writes like that! And she’s not cre…

      …well, I guess she CAN be kind of creepy sometimes…

      May 1, 2012 at 7:16 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #1.3   Dandelion

      It’s not creepy. The writer had a sheet of lined paper under the blank paper she wrote on, and used the lines showing through as guides. I do the same thing when writing in blank books.

      May 6, 2012 at 2:00 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #1.4   justbecause

      I doubt she had lined paper underneath, you can see some words slanting upwards (like the first “cactus”). And the spaces between the lines don’t all match. Plenty of people can write on unlined paper in even, straight lines (myself included, although I use cursive). What’s slightly creepy is she spent some time on that note, as it’s all print. Each letter is perfect.

      May 19, 2012 at 2:16 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #1.5   Average Annie

      To clarify- no lined paper and it didn’t take me any great length of time. That’s how I write. It is both a blessing and a curse. LOL

      May 19, 2012 at 8:58 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

  • #2   infanttyrone

    Ah well…we move from the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” of Edward Abbey’s benign indifference to the “waterboard it until it spills the beans” of Jack Bauer’s relentless interference…we move, alone, unaccompanied by former plant and animal friends…yet haunted by their ghosts.

    Apr 29, 2012 at 9:28 pm   rating: 21  small thumbs up

  • #3   Nessa

    The best part is the R.I.P. written on the stick!

    Apr 29, 2012 at 9:28 pm   rating: 66  small thumbs up

    • #3.1   SeeYouInTea

      and the date of it’s poor short life.

      Apr 29, 2012 at 10:07 pm   rating: 6  small thumbs up

  • #4   cactus pedant

    Nitpick: that’s not a cactus. It’s a succulent. Looks like a haworthia to be exact.

    Apr 29, 2012 at 9:31 pm   rating: 71  small thumbs up

    • #4.1   Val

      I was thinking aloe myself. (Google aloe aristata). But you’re right. Not a cactus.

      I’m just curious what kind of “plant-like object”s she is keeping on her desk.

      Apr 29, 2012 at 9:43 pm   rating: 9  small thumbs up

    • #4.2   deprogrammed

      Yep – a form of aloe. Did she ask someone to take care of Pookie while she was gone? Perhaps it died of loneliness. Or sadness since it wasn’t invited along.

      Apr 30, 2012 at 2:42 am   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #4.3   Katsu

      Maybe that’s the replacement plant.

      Apr 30, 2012 at 8:21 am   rating: 8  small thumbs up

    • #4.4   Audball

      I have a plant exactly like this one, except mine’s bigger (because I know how to take care of it). Unless this “Cactus Killer” went completely insane with the watering, that’s not why the plant died. I water mine about once a week.

      Apr 30, 2012 at 5:54 pm   rating: 4  small thumbs up

    • #4.5   Mia

      Definitely a haworthia, not aloe. Smaller, leaves are darker, more rounded, with distinct raised stripes around them, pointed tips. Probably a very common one like Haworthia fasciata (they even sell those at Wally World). And overwatering, especially if there are no drain holes and/or the soil isn’t porous enough, can make the center rot out just like this one.

      Apr 30, 2012 at 11:20 pm   rating: 12  small thumbs up

    • #4.6   Beatus Mongous

      Audball, many people will water a desert plant every day, since most house plants require daily watering. There aren’t enough people who understand that desert plants will die in constantly wet soil.

      May 1, 2012 at 7:20 pm   rating: 4  small thumbs up


    Don’t use comic sans!

    Apr 29, 2012 at 9:59 pm   rating: 27  small thumbs up

    • #5.1   Really?

      The note is handwritten, troll.

      Apr 29, 2012 at 10:15 pm   rating: 29  small thumbs up

    • #5.2   Average Annie


      Apr 29, 2012 at 10:22 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #5.3   Yes, really

      Um, seemed more like an attempt at humor than a troll post to me…

      Apr 29, 2012 at 10:25 pm   rating: 28  small thumbs up


      Humor is lost on some I suppose…

      Apr 29, 2012 at 10:45 pm   rating: 25  small thumbs up

    • #5.5   Daniel

      What’s the fun in humor when there are grammatical errors or misspellings to point out!

      Apr 30, 2012 at 3:53 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

  • #6   MOI

    The really funny thing is how she managed to misspell cactus in the last line.

    Apr 29, 2012 at 10:09 pm   rating: 19  small thumbs up

    • #6.1   Daniel

      Yes, THAT is the really funny thing … jesus christ ….

      Apr 30, 2012 at 3:54 pm   rating: 7  small thumbs up

    • #6.2   Kate

      She merely interchanged the “t” and the “c.” Looks more like a case of mild dyslexia than someone who can’t spell. This would also explain the very uniform handwriting — she probably had to practice forming letters and spelling words correctly over and over in school, during which time her handwriting was perfected. Do you kick puppies, too?

      Apr 30, 2012 at 5:12 pm   rating: 30  small thumbs up

  • #7   Average Annie

    I miss you, buddy. Even though I falsely identified you as a cactus your entire short life, you meant a lot to me.

    Apr 29, 2012 at 10:13 pm   rating: 63  small thumbs up

  • #8   caffeine

    Did the plant have a DNR order or something? I think they gave up on it too early because it looks like it could be nursed back to health to me.

    Apr 29, 2012 at 10:17 pm   rating: 54  small thumbs up

    • #8.1   Average Annie

      It’s still sitting on the desk… I don’t have the heart to throw it out. So, maybe there’s hope???

      Apr 29, 2012 at 10:20 pm   rating: 9  small thumbs up

    • #8.2   Dewprisms

      When over-watered, succulents tend to split open, rot and mush at certain points, etc. If there is enough of the plant that it does not do this you can keep it and it will slowly regrow over time, however if they’re all rotting at the base of the leaves (which is the typical spot, they turn to dark brown mush and can just be gently pulled off, it’s fairly gross) it’s without hope.

      Apr 30, 2012 at 9:03 am   rating: 16  small thumbs up

  • #9   Poltergeist

    Why must the good die young? At least he (it’s clearly a male) is in a better place. Goodbye sweet succulent. May you find peace and the appropriate amount of water on the other side. Please tell Enrique the prickly pear I said hello.

    Apr 29, 2012 at 10:24 pm   rating: 35  small thumbs up

    • #9.1   The Elf

      So true. My evil ficus has somehow lived through intense neglect and two kittens with litterbox issues and a climbing addiction.

      May 1, 2012 at 12:44 pm   rating: 10  small thumbs up

  • #10   kermit

    I’m not a botanist, but whatever remains of that plant looks alive to me. It’s green and there are no visibly wilted edges.

    Maybe if she were to put a tablet of Aspirin in the soil or some plant revival tablets you can get at a florist, the thing will perk up.

    Apr 29, 2012 at 10:49 pm   rating: 7  small thumbs up

    • #10.1   Dewprisms

      No. That’s not how succulents and cacti work. They rot out from the inside and near the base, not the edges of the plant. They’re not like leaves; they don’t brown and wilt like that.

      Apr 30, 2012 at 9:04 am   rating: 14  small thumbs up

    • #10.2   kermit

      If it died from over-watering/drowning, of course the leaves aren’t going to wilt. But the leaves of succulents can definitely have wilted and brown edges. My mom’s aloe plant – regularly abused and chewed on by the cat – could testify to this if it weren’t so traumatized.

      Apr 30, 2012 at 6:05 pm   rating: 5  small thumbs up

  • #11   Botanist

    The heart rotted out; the leaves haven’t had time to wither, but, yes, it’s dead, and the owner correctly identified overwatering as the cause, despite not knowing the type of plant.

    Apr 29, 2012 at 11:05 pm   rating: 41  small thumbs up

    • #11.1   Paige

      Such simple knowledge is beneath her.

      Apr 30, 2012 at 4:03 am   rating: 3  small thumbs up

  • #12   DIanna

    Can’t you pluck the leaves and restart a new plant(s)? I do at home all of the time with succulents.

    Apr 29, 2012 at 11:33 pm   rating: 6  small thumbs up

    • #12.1   caffeine

      It even appears to have little baby shoots (“offsets”) ready and waiting. But that takes a bit more effort than just leaving a PA note.

      Apr 30, 2012 at 1:29 am   rating: 8  small thumbs up

  • #13   Paige

    “Helpy helperton”?, “You seem to have murdered it”?
    I love this note.

    Also, exactly how much effort was put into that neat-as-hell handwriting?

    Apr 30, 2012 at 4:01 am   rating: 27  small thumbs up

  • #14   Dr.Chalkwitheringlicktacklefeff

    This is the best kind of PAN; a reasonable request made in an unreasonable way.

    Apr 30, 2012 at 4:32 am   rating: 20  small thumbs up

  • #15   Kati

    “Super helpy-helperton” is my new favorite phrase.

    Apr 30, 2012 at 7:20 am   rating: 37  small thumbs up

  • #16   Lisa S.

    So, Annie, you wrote a PA note and then submitted it yourself? Hmmm.

    Apr 30, 2012 at 7:55 am   rating: 5  small thumbs up

    • #16.1   Who passed out the Haterade?

      I would be surprised if less than half of the entries don’t fit the bill of self-submission already, though few of them are as forthright about it. Team Annie, for being a genuinely aggrieved PA notewriter and for ‘fessing up to not being an expert in matters xerophytic. (^_^)

      Apr 30, 2012 at 10:15 am   rating: 21  small thumbs up

  • #17   Bluecanary

    I don’t blame the note writer, I’d be pissed too. I can just picture some busy body old office hag sneaking over there with a cup of water. “Oh, that poor plant, she NEVER waters it”. More bent on handling someone else’s business than in finding out the truth (that the plant does not need much water.) Team Note Writer.

    Apr 30, 2012 at 8:36 am   rating: 41  small thumbs up

    • #17.1   Sera

      I agree. My husband has nearly killed a few of my drainage-loving plants by deciding that they needed to swim in standing water. Some people don’t seem to understand that not all plants are aquatic.

      Apr 30, 2012 at 10:50 am   rating: 20  small thumbs up

  • #18   AlfaCowboy

    I have to admit, I’m pretty charmed by this one. It’s PA, but not angry or nasty. If I were the culprit, the note would make me want to own up and buy a new cactus. It kind of makes me want to buy you a new cactus now.

    Apr 30, 2012 at 8:41 am   rating: 31  small thumbs up

  • #19   yolanda

    having been a janitor on night shift torn with the pain of watching plants linger in painful twilight, never enough water or light to thrive, I would suspect this was a night caretaker who doesn’t know enough about plants to know overwatering is more deadly than underwatering. When you underwater, you can add water when it wilts and it recovers. Drown it, however, and it will wilt only when the rot has killed it.

    Apr 30, 2012 at 10:48 am   rating: 12  small thumbs up

  • #20   Em

    My dad killed my cactus that way. Kind of impressed that I didn’t wind up killing it first. Still, it sucked.

    Apr 30, 2012 at 4:21 pm   rating: 5  small thumbs up

  • #21   Average Annie

    1. That’s my handwriting for real. Up until this point, I had only ever received compliments on it. It does scary look like comic sans whicth I intend to correct immediately.
    2. I do have dyslexia. It plagues me constantly. I didnt even notice until it was pointed out on here that I had misspelled cactus at the end.
    3. I only had the plant for two months. Friday it was fine, Monday the leaves were mush at the base.
    4. Yes, I submitted my own PA note. After I wrote it, a co-worker told me about this site so I submitted it. I wasn’t aware that it was frowned up.

    Any other concerns I can address?

    Apr 30, 2012 at 7:01 pm   rating: 57  small thumbs up

    • #21.1   Poltergeist

      Yeah – are you preeeetty? ^__^

      Apr 30, 2012 at 10:26 pm   rating: 9  small thumbs up

    • #21.2   Mantis bang

      I find your handwriting super sexy. Just sayin’.

      May 1, 2012 at 7:57 am   rating: 8  small thumbs up

    • #21.3   Katie

      Gotta say, I absolutely love your handwriting. Others may think it’s creepy but as someone with barely legible chicken-scratch for handwriting skills, I just sat here for a few minutes glaring enviously at the perfect order of your letters. Lovely! (And I don’t really think it looks too much like the-font-which-must-not-be-named, but maybe that’s just me as well.)

      May 1, 2012 at 8:08 am   rating: 23  small thumbs up

    • #21.4   Bluecanary

      Agreed. As someone with serial killer scrawl that no amount of elementary school penmanship practice could salvage, I am jealous of your lovely precise writing skills. I bet the others who are giving you a hard time are, as well.

      May 2, 2012 at 4:04 pm   rating: 10  small thumbs up

    • #21.5   quatfaux

      Since you have been calling this succulent a “cactus” its entire, short life, maybe next time you should try getting a cactus and calling it a succulent.

      May 2, 2012 at 5:58 pm   rating: 5  small thumbs up

    • #21.6   Botanist

      Two months? Two to one that thing was dead when you bought it but it just hadn’t completely rotted yet. Did you get it from the landscape section of a big box store? They are notorious succulent killers. They have no discrimination–everything gets water every day (maybe more than once).

      May 2, 2012 at 10:49 pm   rating: 4  small thumbs up

  • #22   Kevin

    It’s not really murder. It’s more like involuntary manslaughter. Or plantslaughter. Whatever.

    Apr 30, 2012 at 7:38 pm   rating: 20  small thumbs up

  • #23   April Q

    I had a roommate do that to me once… well not me, but my plant. And what made it worse? The plant was a gift for my mom… or was supposed to be until this witch of a roommate drowned the plant. And just to be clear, this roommate was not a friend of mine and we barely interacted, so they undoubtedly had no right to be watering my plants. In fact, it makes you wonder if it was some sort of passive aggressive act. (Ha, and I say this on PAN? lol) Before someone points this out, the reason the plant was in the kitchen instead of my room was because it would get more sun there since I keep my room dim due to me being sensitive to light, so I had placed it there thinking it would fare better there…. guess I should have chanced it in the low light….

    May 1, 2012 at 2:05 am   rating: 5  small thumbs up

    • #23.1   litchic

      I actually just laughed out loud at, “Well, not me but my plant.” I had visions of your roommate watering you several times a day until you rotted from the inside out.

      May 5, 2012 at 2:38 pm   rating: 7  small thumbs up

  • #24   The White Clouds of Opium bang

    Now you have to name the hallway after it. Succulent Boulevard.

    We kill the plant, then we name a thoroughfare after it. That’s the American way.

    May 1, 2012 at 2:30 am   rating: 16  small thumbs up

  • #25   Hetaliafan bang

    On your side all the way here Annie!

    Unless a plant is showing signs of actually dying/wilting through lack of water, the kindest thing to do would be to leave it alone unless they were an expert in that particular plant and even then really… it wasn’t theirs to touch.

    May 1, 2012 at 7:30 am   rating: 8  small thumbs up

  • #26   Amy in Toronto

    “Super helpy helperton” is my favourite thing, followed very closely by the PAN site’s decision to use a Talking Heads song title as the note title. Nice work,; I now have Psycho Killer playing a never-ending loop in my head and I love you for it!

    Fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa – better run-run-run-run-run-run-run awaaaaaaaay!

    May 1, 2012 at 8:14 am   rating: 4  small thumbs up

  • #27   unsatisfied

    this sounds like it could turn in to the “law and order” tribute episode from “community” last week.

    May 1, 2012 at 10:34 am   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #28   bob loblaw

    I’ll let you in on a secret. I killed that mean old plant. But the liquid I used wasn’t water …….

    May 1, 2012 at 11:28 am   rating: 5  small thumbs up

    • #28.1   Ruth

      Damn you, Bob Loblaw! I bet you’ll boast about it on your law blog.

      May 2, 2012 at 5:10 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

  • #29   ellie.vee

    Someone at my office killed one of my succulents by overwatering it. Very tragic. It happens. I left a note saying to not water anything else (our hours did not coincide), but it was pretty straightforward.

    May 1, 2012 at 4:44 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #30   Tundra

    I bought a whole lot of succulents and cacti. Dad insisted on watering them (‘they need SOME water though!!’) even though the guy at the plant show told me not to. They’re now all dead. :( Thanks Dad, $30 down the drain.

    May 1, 2012 at 10:28 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

  • #31   Bluecanary

    I had a gorgeous succulent collection once that was completely destroyed by a super helpy roommate while I was out of town for a week. She thought they looked sickly and wanted to fertilize them, but instead of going to the store and purchasing fertilizer, she crunched up some of her One A Day vitamins, mixed in a little water, and used that instead. I wish I’d been thinking clearly enough to leave her a funny sarcastic note.

    May 2, 2012 at 4:08 pm   rating: 6  small thumbs up

    • #31.1   Siirenias

      I find it hard to enumerate how strange that line of logic seems.

      May 7, 2012 at 9:17 pm   rating: 5  small thumbs up

  • #32   Jokes

    I think she liked her cactus. I’d be sad too.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:44 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #33   Nikki

    Accident? Or true passive aggressive mastermind?

    May 4, 2012 at 6:01 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #34   raichu

    aww. Obviously the cactus-killer made a mistake but it was probably a well-intentioned one…

    May 14, 2012 at 9:31 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #35   The other Sarah

    Today, I learned the word succulent.

    May 15, 2012 at 12:25 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #36   black thumb

    you can’t kill a cactus. or an aloe plant. they never die, i didn’t water mine for years.

    May 26, 2012 at 10:40 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #37   dont leave him


    May 27, 2012 at 12:39 am   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #38   noneedtolie

    I think it’s fake, PHOTOSHOP!!!

    May 28, 2012 at 4:26 am   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #39   Lynz

    I gotta say, I’m with the plant owner on this one. If it’s not yours, don’t touch!

    Oct 15, 2012 at 4:17 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up