toh editor  Scott Omelianuk surrounded by his gardens
Photo: Michael Lewis
June 2013

There's something I need to confess. A dark secret I've lived with for too long now and, finally, have to get off my chest.

Hoo-boy, here goes.

I've killed.

Yes. I've killed many times. There hasn't been a year in decades—maybe since the age of 13 or so—that I haven't snuffed out a life. You see, it's a serial thing.

Oh, the signs were always there. Talk to anyone who knew me back then, and they wouldn't argue if you described me as an odd kid. I read the encyclopedia—not individual entries but each whole volume. I enjoyed cooking shows more than sports on TV, except for my New York Mets. And while it's true that in the mid to late 1970s the Mets could have provoked murder in any fan, there were further signs. For example, when other kids were out building go-carts, I decided that I wanted to build a vegetable garden. You see, there was just something about me that was off.

And so it began, with some tomato plants. In my youthful excitement, I didn't collar them when I put them in the ground, and cutworms set on them like zombie feasters. Sure, a generous jury might find that incident to have been more reckless homicide than first-degree murder, but it was only just the beginning.

I don't have the space to name all the victims the killing fields of my backyard have seen, but let's just say the list starts with astilbe and goes all the way through to zinnias. And the worst part: I know I'll do it again.

I used to feel bad about that, but then I read Planter's Punch. In that story, Andrew Bunting, the curator of an arboretum, of all things, admits to his own slayings—and explains how he atones for his crimes: by putting in more plants. It's a strategy, though given the prolific nature of my transgressions, it's never going to give me the time to finally get around to that go-cart.

P.S. Oh, and here's something you're going to want to kill me for: Can you guess the three most-watched videos on Go ahead, try. As for the answers, I'm not telling. You've got to check out June's tablet edition of TOH to watch them and see if you guessed right. You'll find details at And for those of you without a tablet, well, we'll print the answers here next issue.
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