David Attenborough v the cactus: how the 95-year-old was stabbed by a plant

The toughest of our national treasures has survived being knocked unconscious by dolphins, caught in whirlpools and crawled over by mountain gorillas

Name: David Attenborough.

Age: 95.

Appearance: Our most beloved national treasure.

Why are we talking about David Attenborough? I love him. Oh no, is this bad news? It’s fine. He’s still with us. Luckily.

Luckily?? I don’t know how to break this to you, but Attenborough has had an accident. He’s been injured.

I don’t know if I can take the stress. Who is responsible for this? Who? It was a cactus.

Right, that’s it. Time to punch a cactus in the face. Don’t be stupid. Attenborough wasn’t ambushed in his bed by a cactus. He was filming a new show, and touched one. It stabbed him even though he was protected by thick gloves.

Why would you want to touch a cactus? To prove how dangerous they are.

Point proved, I guess. And also because Attenborough is as hard as nails. He was once in a boat that got caught in an Indonesian whirlpool. He trapped a caiman in Guyana. He’s been crawled over by a bunch of wild mountain gorillas. He has met cannibals, and was knocked unconscious while filming dolphins in the Bahamas. There’s tough, and then there’s Attenborough.

I know, but he’s 95 years old now. We should protect him. We are protecting him. He hurt his hand filming the new BBC series The Green Planet. It is exclusively about plants. You can’t get less dangerous than that.

Tell that to the cactus. OK, fine, so I lied. In fact, according to Attenborough, The Green Planet will remind us that plants are often as dangerous as animals.

Really? Yup. He has said of the series that “plants fight one another, plants strangle one another and you can actually see that happening”.

Great, now I’m terrified of my garden. But don’t be worried about Attenborough. No human being on the planet has done more to educate the public about the incredible world we live in. Putting himself in harm’s way for a living has enriched humanity. He has taught us all so much.

I’m pretty sure we already knew that cacti were spiky, though. But have we ever seen someone submit to their spikes like this?

Couldn’t it have been someone less wonderful? But what would be the point of that? Attenborough was able to give a detailed explanation of the evolutionary benefit of having spikes. If it had been someone like Piers Morgan, he would have just spent a morning writing 3,000 angry tweets about wanting to cancel cacti.

Do say: “David Attenborough has taught us to love all life on Earth.”

Don’t say: “Except for cacti, which should all be burned to death.”

The GuardianTramp

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