Sunday, May 17, 2015

Dear Dead Trees

My days off can be more structured and busy than my work days.  Whether this is because I refuse to do much more than exercise and lightly clean after work, or because I've successfully guilted myself to believe if I'm not working on something, I will accelerate my already rapid aging process, I pile jobs on.  I set my alarm earlier, spend less time screwing around on the internet, and have a ready-to-go to-do list on my Google Keep.  My last day off had many of the usual projects, but I had decided to finally take out the four dead trees that lined my driveway: two ten foot Crepe Myrtles, and the twenty foot Evergreens that were spitting upon their name.

The crepe myrtles went easily, possibly too easily, like fat little goats led to Whoopie Goldberg's doorstop to sate her bloodlust.  I moved on to the evergreens, giving a little wave to the neighbors as I set to chopping the first.  It was dead, but more more dense, and my axe fought bitterly.  The neighbor children laughed and played, and their joy mocked my struggle.  In order to keep my spirits high, I began singing the ancient lumberjack song learned by all protege axe-men from the Delaware Valley in the late 1980's.  The first verse helped me power through the first of three joined trunks.

"We never come out at night
  Only when the sky is bright
  Out in the woods, you've seen us here before
  Swinging and cutting
  Ohhh, we're chopping the trees but our eyes are of the forest"

Sweat beaded bravely on my brow, and through the second verse I tore through the tree.

"So many would pay to see
  What we do to these damn trees
  The woods are wild, a hurricane tamed by the purr of a chainsaw
  Nothing's the matter if you're in it for lumber, you're gonna get real far"

The tree fell like a punch drunk boxer.  It landed in a glorious shower of dry needles and twigs.  The children applauded me as I grabbed the trunk and dragged it to the woods to rot like a lost hobo.  There was an extra swagger in my step as I walked back to the last dead tree, belting out the chorus of the song off my Woodsmen brethren.

"Oh-oh here I come.  Watch out wood, I'll chop you up.
 Oh-oh here I come, I'm a Tree Cleaver."

I gripped my axe heroically, wound up with gusto, and took a massive swing at the trunk.  I connected with a thunderous blow, and instantly a shower of needles rained down on my shining, noble head.  I swiped them away with my filthy work glove, and as I went to grip the axe again, I saw that several of the needles were still alive.  In fact, they were vibrate, green, and inchy squinching their way up my gloves to my delicious flesh.  These were not needles.  They were catapillars.

People have drank the Kool-Aid on caterpillars for years.  Oh, they are so pretty with their colors.  They turn into beautiful butterflies!  Have you looked at the body of a butterfly?  It is not beautiful.  It belongs in the Arctic, systematically slaughtering a group of researchers or oil workers.  I frantically shook them from my gloves before they could dissolve my skin and slurp it up with their disgusting food hoses.  Relief was short lived, as I realized that my shirt was covered with more green weasel tubes.  Luckily, I am a trained professional.  I calmly assessed the situation and shrewdly figured the best course of action.

Screaming, I wildly ripped my parasite infested shirt and flung it into the branches of the tree, returning the filth from whence they came.  The children next door somehow sensed that something was wrong, and ran for their house.  As far as I know, it was too late and they had been infested as well.  There was no hope left for any of us.  I retreated quickly to my garage, where a cigar and Moxie soothed my jangled nerves.  The trees were fighting back, and Shyamalan was right.  The bastard was right all along.