Strange things happen. I doubt anyone would deny that, even the most skeptical. Sometimes the strange has an edge to it, though. A recent story on WTVR reports that residents of Virginia are receiving packets of unidentified seeds from China. Perhaps a nation naive enough to elect 45 believes in magic beans? If I recall correctly the beanstalk incident didn’t really end well, although Jack may have survived when it was all over. WTVR is compelled to say what should be obvious: if you receive unexpected seeds in the mail, don’t plant them. Not so many years ago I would’ve supposed most Americans were smart enough to know that. Four years later I’m left wondering. America’s critical thinking levels appear to be at an all-time low.
Upon first seeing this story my immediate reaction was to question it. Was it a hoax or a scam? The kind of thing Trump Enterprises might do to drive business? If it did happen haven’t scientists (if there are any anymore) been able to figure out what kinds of seeds these are? Isn’t there an app for that? Increasingly, it seems, people rely on Facebook rumors for their fact checking. Of course, that’s the beauty of this kind of plot, if it indeed is one. A simple thing such as sending a packet of seeds can start a panic. And with a Gross Domestic Product like China’s I’m sure the postage isn’t even all that expensive.
I also wonder if this isn’t in return for something that the US has done. We currently have no foreign policy to speak of, but I wonder if people in China have been receiving tariff-free shipments from us. But do we even have a functioning Post Office anymore? What if the seeds are from the US and were made to look as though they came from China? My suspicion goes deep, I guess. Several years ago I got dressed down at an academic conference for being too skeptical. My notebook has nullius in verba written inside the front cover. I tend to think that I just like to ask questions. Nobody sends you anything for free—being raised in capitalist heaven taught me that. WTVR says these seeds may be invasive species. Waging a continuing war against trees of heaven (also an invasive species) I know how much time can be wasted on the task. Just when you think you’ve got them all, another one pops up. Strange things indeed.