in which we discover who this “orchid thief” is

Like Adaptation features Charlie and a fictitious brother Donald Kaufman, my story involves two Johns. John Laroche, my given name and John Stafford, a new name selected for a new life.

John Laroche

John Laroche
John Laroche at 32 from The New Yorker Magazine.

The information given about the adventures outlined in both The Orchid Thief and Adaptation was carefully curated by me, as you will see throughout this digital account. I have done so many things in my life that had I disclosed everything, well I couldn’t.

Now it all will be told. I’ve been shot and stabbed, died and met God, had my penis caught in a crane, have hung out with rock stars, models, the homeless, and that was before I was 25.

Chris Cooper as John Laroche
Chris Cooper as John Laroche

As John Laroche, I had six months of infamy in 1994 when I was the “Antichrist of the Florida Everglades.” Another 15 minutes when Orchid Fever appeared in the New Yorker magazine, more when the Susan Orlean novel The Orchid Thief hit the stands and yet more in 2002 when Adaptation came out. I have been a carpenter, a gangster, a photographer, an ornamental fish collector, a pet shop owner, a fossil collector, a nurseryman.

John Stafford

57 years and still kicking

During the “Orchid Thief/Adaptation Period,” I was hated. Threatening phone calls, death threats, people calling or knocking on my door demanding how to make dope from Ghost Orchids. There was lots of bullshit, and, this got old quick. When I met Kerry, we decided to change the last name so that our kids would be protected, and the bullshit would stop. John Stafford was born. A mild-mannered computer programmer, a project manager, a father, and husband to the best family a man could hope to have and now a blog posting and mentally challenged house elf.

I’ve seen and done things that would fill several “normal” lives. I’ve led a life of adventure, sorrow, love, joy, and hell on earth. I’ve not only come out on the other side but thrived.

I share my life story with you as entertainment, a morality play, and as a memoir of sorts. I also intend to editorialize on life and teach what I can about late century life and our natural world.

Not all the material here is flattering to myself; some might be embarrassing to my friends and family who thought they knew me. I completely understand if you disavow any knowledge of knowing me. (Except for my lovely wife, you’re stuck with me)!

I am what I am, and that is all I am

Popeye the Sailor Man

Let the fun begin!

Pink Floyd – Free Four

“The memories of a man in his old age, are the deeds of a man in his prime”

About the Author

The Orchid Thief

John Edward Laroche (born February 19, 1962, in Florida) is an American horticulturist who was arrested for poaching wild ghost orchids while working for the Seminole natives in the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve in Florida. The subsequent trial brought him to the attention of Susan Orlean, who wrote an article for The New Yorker and the book The Orchid Thief about him. After the events of the Orchid Thief, he shifted careers to Computer Science. Notably, he went on to work for both National Geographic and the Smithsonian Institution designing school-age learning tools and online curricula.

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