Sunflowers on the Beach

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(~6 minutes to read)

Interesting fact: Sunflowers turn to face the sun in order to maximize photosynthesis and to encourage the insects that are necessary for pollination to occur. Mature sunflowers that have been pollinated no longer follow the sun.

Scene: a bar in a sun-kissed holiday resort. Mick and Rick, two forty-something guys, are people watching as they sip at their refreshing mid-morning beverages in the shade of a sun umbrella.

Mick ‘Sfunny how some people prefer the sun to the shade.
Rick Yeah. Y’d think with all the scare stories about skin cancer, people would avoid the sun like the plague, but no; they’re out there barbecuing themselves all day.
Mick And it’s not like it’s all the kids are out sunning and all the parents are in the shade.
Rick It’s mostly women though—well, more girls than women.
Mick I don’t know how they can stand it.
Rick They don’t; they lie down most of the time.
Mick Oh ha, bloody ha. You know what I mean. They go out there after breakfast, and they lie there until lunch. The only thing they do is rub more stuff into their skin, order another drink, and turn the bed to face the sun.
Rick I wonder if the resort’s got any openings for a sunscreen rubber-inner?
Mick Is that a job then?
Rick If it isn’t, it should be. It’d save people getting sunscreen all over their books, Kobos and other stuff.
Mick True…
Rick (After a pause) Maybe people are like sunflowers.
Mick You mean they look all sunny and happy in the summer and then wither away in the winter?
Rick No, goat brain! I mean they’re heliotropic.
Mick They’ve got bad breath?!?
Rick That’s halitosis! Heliotropic—they turn to face the brightest sunlight.
Mick O-o-o-o-o-o-h-h-h. So sunflowers do that, do they?
Rick Yep. Well-known fact.
Mick So which way do they face at night?
Rick Not sure. Maybe they spend the night spinning around, going, “where’s the sun gone?”
Mick Yeah. Probably. (Pause) So you think that people are like sunflowers ‘cuz they turn to face the sunlight then?
Rick Stands to reason. And you know what?
Mick What?
Rick I think it might be something to do with pollination.
Mick What, allergies?
Rick You really aren’t the coldest beer in the fridge, are you? Pollination—bees moving pollen around flowers so the flowers produce seeds.
Didn’t you learn about the birds and the bees?
Mick ‘Course I did. I know all about… y’know… doing it.
Rick No-I really do mean the birds and the bees. Rummaging around in the flowers. (Pause) It’s how flowers and things make little flowers.
Mick So… you think that… girls… lie out in the sun… to attract… bees?
Rick Give me strength! When’s the last time you met a chick who likes bees?
Mick That’s why I thought…
Rick Careful with all that thinking. Could be dangerous.
Mick So if it’s not the bees, what do they want to attract?
Rick I think they might subconsciously want to get… uhm… “pollinated”.
Mick What if they’re allergic though?
Rick Will you forget about allergies for a minute?
Do you know what an analogy is?
Mick Duh! It’s where your body reacts to something.
Like pollen.
Rick I can see why Tracey lets you go to the bar as much as you like… (Speaking slowly)
An -a-n-a-l-o-g-y.
Mick Oh! Sorry! You’d got me fixated on allergies, and I just thought you’d stammered a little.
Of course I know what an analogy is. But what’s that got to do with sunflowers and pollination?
Rick That’s the analogy! I think those girls are trying to attract a partner with whom they may eventually produce little people.
Mick (Processing this) Aaaahhh!!! I’ve got it! They want to get a nice, even suntan so that they look attractive to… to us…
Rick Sorry to shove proverbial ice cubes down your beach shorts Mick, but likely not us specifically. I suspect they’re hoping to attract younger specimens.
Mick So why are the boys out sunning themselves? They can’t get pregnant!
Rick It’s complicated Mick. Y’see, in flowers, the boy part and the girl part are all there. But us humans, we need a boy and a girl to…
Mick Not necessarily…
Rick Look. Sunflowers don’t have bloody fertility clinics. They have to rely on nature. They need to have their boy parts firing on all cylinders and they need to have their girl parts doing girl part stuff. So for the analogy to work, we have to assume that human “pollination” is going to happen naturally. That’s why the boys are out there, in the sun, hovering around those nubile young women, in their tiny little two-piece swimsuits, glistening as they sunbathe, adjusting the straps…
Mick Need the ice cubes?
Rick Yeah. Sorry. Buruburuburuburuburuburuburuburuburub. Where was I?
Mick Adjusting bikini straps…
Rick Don’t get me started again!
Hey—isn’t it your turn to buy?
(Mick summons the bartender, who refreshes their glasses with cool, refreshing liquid, miscellaneous fruits and vegetables, and a tiny paper parasol. Meanwhile, Rick has been fleshing out his theory about people and sunflowers.)
Rick (Taking his drink) Cheers. So the more I think about my theory, the more it seems right.
Mick And you’re going to explain it to me, aren’t you.
Rick Yeah. Okay?
Mick Okay…
Rick So… people are like sunflowers. They follow the bright sunshine because suntans make them look more attractive, and looking more attractive increases their chances of… perpetuating the human race. And once they’ve… been pollinated—actually, after they’ve had kids—they’ve done their duty, so they don’t do the whole heliotropic thing anymore.
In fact… the analogy goes further. Cuz after the sunflower’s stopped heliotropifying… heliotropating… heliotropizing… oh whatever… once they’re done following the sun, they get all big and droopy and tired-looking. It’s like they stop taking care of their appearance…
Mick Is that why Tracey’s all big and droopy…
Rick Careful! You’re no strapping young bloom yourself Mick!
And your tubes are tied.
Mick Do sunflowers get their tubes tied?
Rick (Sighing) Only if they don’t want bees buzzing around them anymore.
Mick Hmmm… Makes sense.
Rick Y’know; I think I’m going to write to some nature magazine to see if they’re interested in my theory.
Mick Or maybe you could get the National Enquirer to do a story about sunflower sex and how you can tell they’re in the family way by checking to see if they’re following the sun.
Rick …because National Enquirer readers are so much more into sunflower sex than they are about people sex!
Mick (Finishing his drink) Y’know what? I’m going to ask Tracey if she’d like to come down on the beach and helio…thingy for me. Might be just the thing to liven up our marriage.
Rick Sure! Off you go Mick! Don’t spill your sunflower seeds!
Mick What do you mean?
Rick Oh, nothing! (Mutters quietly) Pretty sure you’ll have more luck asking her if she wants to share a bag of chips.

Many thanks to the “POTGs” (you know who you are!) for the idea and concept.

One thought on “Sunflowers on the Beach

  1. Val

    Ha ha, this is how the human race reproduces! When they give up on heliotropics, then they get the halitosis…


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