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Kiss and Hug of Barrel Cactus Turns Nasty

Large Cactus Scratches Arms, Damages Shirt and Hooks Steve's Body Against It!

TUCSON, ARIZONA -- What was intended to be a friendly kiss of a cactus in the Arizona desert turned into a nasty situation!

Not satisfied with placing his lips on the thorns of a large barrel cactus, Steve "Colorado Guy" Garufi stupidly wrapped his arms around the cactus and was stuck for 30 seconds as the thorns hooked into his shirt. Only after pulling hard enough off was Steve able to release himself from the cactus, but not before causing rips in his shirt and scratches on his arms.

"I kind of liked kissing the cactus" explained Steve, "But when my shirt got caught in the thorns, I panicked and moved my arms and it got ugly."

Joel Smith, a Tucson resident and advocate for Arizona's desert environment, was hiking with Steve and witnessed the entire event.

"I have no idea why you would want to do that," said Joel, as he stood next to a 5-foot tall saguaro (left photo), "I walked into a cholla a few months ago and spent all day pulling prickles out of me."

Steve's History of Kissing Cacti; Reactions From Friends And Foes

Steve has a history of kissing cacti which has been profiled on, a popular web site for cactus and succulent information. Still, this is the first disturbing incident where Steve gave a "bear hug" to a large cactus.

"I just don't know about you sometimes," stated Kansas Kelly, "Sometimes I wonder, 'What exactly is going on in your head when you do things like this?'"

Bill Rogan in Denver had an interesting perspective. "Did it feel like instant accupuncture? You could have laid there and enjoyed the needles until someone pulled you out off the cactus."

This is definitely not the first time Steve has gotten in trouble with a cactus. As seen in the right photo, he once needed a friend to pull out hundreds of small spines from his lower face when he kissed a prickly pear cactus near Lake Isabella, California. There are also two videos below when he kissed cacti in Colorado Springs and Wellsville.

"The prickly pear thorns in my lips was rough," admitted Steve, "I'm not sure I would do that again, but who knows?"

Steve has never explained why he occasionally kisses cacti, but in one video (included at the bottom of the page), he alluded to fact that it might be because he does not have a girlfriend.

Shana B. in San Diego, California, shared her opinion on what some of the deeper "root issues" might be that are driving Steve's behavior.

"I think you have an abusive relationship with your cactuses and you've just got to let it go," she said, "They've got support groups for people like you."

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