Chain saw fever from falling trees

Kevin Cowherd

November 08, 1993|By Kevin Cowherd

Recently, I arrived home bone-weary from another tough day in front of the word processor, only to discover that a large tree had fallen on my house.

Unfortunately, this was just one in a series of problems we've had with this house.

There is also, for instance, a psychotic raccoon who terrorizes our garbage cans every night around 2 a.m. Even when you snap on the lights and run outside screaming and waving a 37-ounce Louisville Slugger, the raccoon barely looks up from his meal.

Finally, he ambles away, although not before shooting you a look that says: "OK, pal. But I'll be back. You know I'll be back."

There is also a coven of annoying mice in the attic, a hot water heater apparently built during the Warren Harding administration and a lawn with more ruts than the Ho Chi Minh Trail, circa 1968.

But the main problem, by far, is that huge trees keep falling on the house. In fact, this was the third time in three years that a tree had come whistling out of the sky and slammed into the roof.

This has become somewhat annoying, as I'm sure you can understand.

Imagine sitting down to dinner and just as you're saying: "Please pass the cauli . . ." WHAMMM! -- a 40-foot maple lands a few feet over your head. It makes you jittery after a while.

In many respects, it's like living in an asteroid belt. You know you're going to get hit -- the question is from which direction.

So now I had a huge tree across my roof and a wife demanding to know what I was going to do about it.

My first instinct, as it is in all instances where home repairs might conceivably be needed, was to reach for the Yellow Pages.

Then I had a vision.

In this vision, three young men with long stringy hair, nose rings and Slayer T-shirts pulled into the driveway in a battered pickup truck.

"Cut that tree down for you, mister?" they asked.

"Sure, boys," I said. "You seem like solid citizens. I'll get some iced tea."

"Um, we brought our own refreshments," they said, proceeding to shotgun a few Schlitz tall boys.

As the vision continued, the young men finished their beers, smashed the cans against their foreheads and laughed uproariously.

Then they leaped from their truck with three rusty bow saws and had the tree down and cut into firewood in 10 minutes.

Finally, they presented me with a bill for $1,200, which, judging by their excited chatter, would be used for the purchase of several kilos of Mexican brown heroin.

As the vision subsided, it was clear that hiring someone was out of the question. There was no telling how many roving bands of wild-eyed Manson disciples would show up.

No, I would have to get up on that roof myself. Which did not exactly fill me with dread, as it afforded another chance to use . . . my chain saw.

Let's face it, a special relationship exists between a man and his chain saw that is almost mystical in nature.

It sits out there in the tool shed, perfectly balanced, with its pistol grip and trigger mechanism, soft shafts of sunlight making the blade gleam, the tool all but crying out: "C'mon, sport. Let's you and me go cut something down!"

Then with a mighty pull of the starter cord, the saw roars to life -- WHONNNKKKK! -- and a man goes off happily in search of whole acres to defoliate.

This is how it was with me on the roof the next morning. Soon the air was thick with the heady smell of gasoline, sawdust and (I'm told) testosterone.

The job took all day, which was fine with me. First, I cut the tree into sections. Then I cut those sections into little pieces. Then I cut those pieces into even smaller pieces.

Then I wandered around the yard looking for other things to cut: lawn chairs, picnic tables, whatever was handy.

Finally, I went up and down my block with the chain saw roaring see if the neighbors needed anything cut down. But for some reason, no one was answering their door.

Frankly, if I had night vision goggles, I would have been out there cutting until 1 in the morning.

Now my wife wants to know what we're going to do about all these trees falling on the house.

Oh, we could be little wusses and move to another house, I suppose. A house that doesn't have trees falling on it at all hours of the day and night. But what a waste of a fine chain saw.

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