The Poppy Conundrum

Iceland Poppies
Iceland Poppies

I stopped in a local nursery today to check out the flowers and take a few photos. It’s a great way to spend a cold morning and they had a huge variety of flora. Cherry trees, Orchids, Tulips, and even Venus Fly Traps as well as the common stuff I see in the park. But the most interesting to me were these Iceland Poppies (Papaver nudicaule).

Then a thought hit me, the kind of thing that would have occurred to me years ago, don’t all poppies produce opium? Not that I have any need for it, but my scientific curiosity got the better of me. From what I’ve read they do not.

One article said that only one species of poppy contains opium, the breadseed or opium poppy (Papaver somniferum). Another said that although the opium poppy has the highest concentration of narcotics, all poppies in the Papaver genus do contain some amount of narcotic. Alrighty then.

Walter Savage Landor, an English writer and poet wrote: “Truth, like the juice of the poppy, in small quantities, calms men; in larger, heats and irritates them, and is attended by fatal consequences in excess.”

So I guess now I’m back to the truth conundrum. Maybe I should stop seeking the truth and only cease to cherish opinions, but that’s easier said than done.

The Search for Truth

Long’s Park Heron
Long’s Park Heron

This is one of the Herons that live at Long’s Park, and the possible murderer of the goldfish I wrote about in an earlier post. He seems to be searching for something, although it’s more likely to be a snack than the truth.

Roughly thirty five years ago I was in a topless bar ordering my third scotch. An old man sitting next to me, making love to his tonic and gin, looked at me and asked: “What is truth?” I didn’t know then and I don’t know now.

Hakuin Ekaku, one of the most influential figures in Japanese Zen Buddhism, is reported to have said; “Not knowing how near the truth is, we seek it far away.”

Yes…of course. And if I didn’t quit drinking, I’ve have a few Yoichi Single Malts at the Seventh Heaven in Tokyo, and think about that for a while.

Games People Play

Cash4Life
Cash4Life

I’ve been playing the lottery more than usual lately but strictly for mental health reasons; I want a new motorcycle. I didn’t say that I need a new motorcycle but I want one. Will a new bike make me happy? Will $1000 a day or $1000 a week make me happy? Maybe.

Yesterday I played Cash4Life and surprisingly did not win. The odds of winning $1,000 a day for life are 1 in 21,846,048, but, and this is a big but, the odds of winning $1000 a week for life are only 1 in 7,282,016. Ridiculous yes, but I’m not the only one playing this game.

I used to wonder why older people stood in line to play these games, and by older I mean 70 and up. I guess that they, like everyone else think that money will change everything. And it will, but not always in a good way. So what is the point you might ask?

I think my point is that people spend a lot of time dreaming about the way things could be, how much better life would be if only…the list goes on and on. In Buddhism this is the essence of the Second Noble Truth, which says that getting what you want does not guarantee happiness.

I told the girl at the store that I would be better off giving the money to charity than wasting it on lottery tickets. Now I know that the lottery helps older Americans in many ways but I have an alternative plan. I’m going to take that money and donate to a charity called Ride for Kids with all proceeds benefiting the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.

As selfless as this might sound, they have a raffle where every five dollars donated enters you in a sweepstakes to win a custom motorcycle. And I might still occasionally play the lottery, maybe once a week or so, but only because I can use a new pair of sneakers. And a car, and a motorcycle, and a mansion and a yacht.

Read more about the Ride For Kids Project Here