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There was a tradesman here the other day to correct certain abnormalities in our septic apparatus.  He was complimenting me on the beautiful woods that one drives through to get down to my house.

Then he said, “Do you know what timber like that is worth?”

Needless to say, I was aghast, both at the crudity of what he was suggesting and by the fact that my wife might overhear.

“Yes!” I hissed under my breath, quickly hustling him into the next room beyond Ola’s earshot.  “Yes I do, but those woods are worth a lot more than mere money to me.”

“You know that lots of those big trees will just get hollow and die, and then they’re not worth anything, right?”, he asked.

“Do you have to scream?” I asked, “Look, they’re just innocent trees.  I don’t believe in vegetable labor, so I don’t expect anything out of them other than the usual things like shade and the continuous daily rebirth of my aesthetic sensibilities.  Besides, without trees, we’d have a bunch of panhandling, homeless squirrels to deal with.”

I could see that he and I just weren’t on the same page, so to speak, and I guess he left thinking I was crazy (just like all the rest of them).

The truth is that, in the past, people like this plumbing gentleman have caused me to feel somewhat… well, guilty about my forest, because I don’t do anything with it, except wander around in it a lot, and how self-indulgent is that?

Boy, what a bonehead I was.

Because that was before I learned a few things of considerable importance both to myself and to The Future of Mankind.

Did you know that in one growing season a single mature tree produces enough oxygen to service the breathing habits of 10 adult homo sapiens?  That’s just one tree, and I’ve got literally zillions of them.  I calculate that here at the Exclamation Pointe Oxygen Generation Facility #1, when engaged at peak capacity, we can supply an annual 24/7 oxygen fix to an entire city the size of Springfield, Missouri, and have enough left over to blow up the balloons for New Year’s Eve.  (Springfieldians can expect a hefty bill in their mailboxes when I work out the kinks in metering and distribution.)

Right now, I have the plant shut down for retooling and maintenance, but come spring, we’ll be coming back online with all units churning at peak capacity, sequestering carbon like it was going out of style, and pumping out massive quantities of safe, clean, 100% organic oxygen (with only trace elements of tree-frog and firefly).

Did I say “organic”?  Yes, that’s another thing you have to watch out for.  Recently, misguided environmental scientists have developed an artificial tree that supposedly generates product at a much greater rate than do our conventional systems.

I mean… REALLY!

What’s this world coming to?  I first predicted this when they started manufacturing aluminum Christmas trees back in the 1950s, but even visionaries such as myself never imagined it would go this far.  Seems to me that faux trees might be okay for someplace like France, or Neptune, but I think the good ol’ red-blooded American market is going to demand the sort of high-quality breathables that are only produced by wooden trees.  In fact, recent polling has found that those surveyed chose conventional oxygen as their Ether of Choice by a resounding margin. (Time-CNN poll)

Truly, I’ve found my niche here in the oxygen business. It’s obvious that the world has a maple on its back, and we oxygen farmers are the only ones doing something about it.

Sure, oxygen farming can be tedious at times, there’s lots of sitting and watching involved, then there are the hardships like never having a good place to get a tan, and the noisome din of the songbirds.

Still, if you’re that special kind of person who would enjoy the rough-and-tumble of the oxygen generation game, this may be the opportunity of a lifetime.

Have you ever invited friends over, only to discover that you were running out of oxygen?  Boy!  That’s really embarrassing, but it’ll never happen again when you “own the farm”.  Think of it.  You’ll have plenty of fresh, wholesome oxygen for the rest of your life, maybe even enough to share with the neighbors—providing they do something about their barking dog.

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