Thursday, February 24, 2011
Football Fan Becomes Herbicidal Fanatic
When it comes to the mail and the Washington Post, I’m “Jack Sprat could eat no fat” and Ellen is “his wife could eat no lean,” and it all works out perfectly.
When we sort the mail, Ellen gets Sports Illustrated magazine, which she’s read weekly for about 40 years. I get Fine Gardening magazine, which I’ve read for nearly 10 years.
When we divvy up the daily Washington Post newspaper, I get A-Section (international & national), Business, Editorial Pages, Health & Science, Local Living, Metro, Real Estate, and the Washington Post Magazine. Ellen gets the Sports section.
You may be able to impress me with your sports knowledge, but you can’t impress her, I guarantee you.
It was a bit of shock Tuesday evening when she called from her rocker, “Did you see the story in the Sports section about the Alabama football fan who poisoned Auburn’s 130-year-old oak trees?”
I hadn’t the slightest idea what she was talking about. Remember—the Sports section is Ellen’s turf. I cannot imagine poisoning an historic oak tree, but a sports fan—well, football is very serious business in Alabama, and “fan” is short for “fanatic.”
Ellen passed the Sports section on to me after she was finished with it. Sure enough, Tracee Hamilton, a Post columnist reported that a fan of University of Alabama football, angry that Auburn beat Alabama in their annual Iron Bowl contest last November, dowsed the roots of two ancient live oaks at Toomer’s Corner in Auburn, traditional site of Auburn’s victory celebrations, with herbicide.
The herbicidal fanatic demonstrated his brilliance by calling a radio call-in program to brag about his misdeed.
The alleged perpetrator, 62 years of age, has been arrested and charged with “criminal mischief.” Horticulturists, agronomists, and engineers spent several days trying to remove the poisoned soil, though experts say there is about a 1% change the oaks will survive. And sane sports fans already have donated nearly $100,000 to help save or replace the trees—including nearly $40,000 by the 99.999% of Alabama fans who don’t have “issues.”
If, as expected, the trees die, I suggest they be salvaged and the lumber made into appropriate Auburn souvenirs.
First should be a gavel to be presented to the presiding judge to call the court to order at the perpetrator’s trial. Instead of throwing the proverbial “book” at the perpetrator, the judge could, well, throw the gavel. Athletic and other student awards could be attached to finely finished boards made from the larger limbs of the oaks.
And the leftovers? They’d make fine oak flooring for Auburn basketball courts.
Hey, basketball fans, take off your shoes. You’re walking on sacred wood.