A friend of mine asked to borrow my pickup truck to haul the family Christmas tree home, and being the kind man that I am I offered to drive the truck myself. Actually, I didn't trust my 22 year old truck in his hands. So we loaded up my pickup with his entire family and headed for the Christmas tree lot. I soon discovered why they call them Christmas tree lots... because that's how much the trees cost. A lot!
My first clue that something was different this year was that the Sierra Club was picketing the tree lot. It seems there is a big debate about Christmas trees. It's like going to the store and being asked your preference, "Paper or plastic?" Paper, by the way, is the wrong answer because it implies that you are a tree chopping, gas guzzling, puppy killing Republican. Which is also what you are if you buy a real tree.
Once at the tree lot the parents and I got out of the cab of the truck and were joined by their three kids who were not in a very good mood after having just experienced a subzero ride in the back of my pickup.
"We aren't going to buy a real tree are we?" asked the oldest urchin. "Don't you know by buying a tree we would be endorsing clear cutting and we'd actually be contributing to global warming?"
"Yeah, and the destruction of animal habitat too,” chimed in the middle elf. “Where will the birds roost if you clear cut all the trees?"
"Don't you know that a rock is a tree is a bird is a boy?" said the youngest animal rightist revolutionary.
The father took one look at his overeducated children and said, "Huh? All I'm trying to do here is buy a tree. Do you have any idea what they're talking about,” he asked me.
"I'm afraid I do," but before I could explain the wife offered a compromise.
"I suppose we could get a plastic tree this year honey,” she said. “I have to admit that I get tired of cleaning up evergreen needles through the month of June every year. And a plastic tree would be flame proof too and we wouldn't have that problem like we did last year with the fire department."
"But we are celebrating the birth of Christ, not Dupont,” argued the father. “Besides they get more for those plastic trees than I paid for my first car."
"So in addition to being a plunderer of the planet you are a Scrooge too?” asked the sarcastic oldest child. "Besides, if you amortize the $389 cost of the tree over five years your yearly cost will be less than a real tree."
Again sayeth the father.... "Huh?”
"And what are you going to do with the tree after Christmas?” asked the seven year old Sierra Clubber. “You can't burn it, that would be polluting the air. And you can't bury it."
"Yeah, way to go dad. Kill a tree, fill a landfill, destroy the planet."
"But you have to assemble a plastic tree," the father pleaded with his wife. "Don't you remember what a hard time I had putting together the swing set last year. The needles were cleaned off the carpet and the smoke damage was painted over before I got that darn swing set put together. I'm putting my foot down, WE WILL NOT have a tree in my house that requires a screwdriver and a pair of pliers to put together!"
A couple hours later as we were assembling the plastic tree my friend said, "Will you help me go Christmas shopping later?”
“I thought you said you already did your Christmas shopping,” I said.
“I did, but something tells me I better take back the BB gun, oil tanker, butterfly net and chemistry set I bought and buy something else.”