Last week there was a gunman in a tree at my elementary school. Except, replace gunman with some sad bastard who lost control of his RC helicopter.
Poor Greg was just out playing with his new toy when the wind grabbed it and sent it hurtling into one of the many, many evergreens flanking the school. So he walked through the gate and climbed the tree to fetch his helicopter.
That’s when the panic began. There’s a man! On campus! IN A TREE! With a remote control helicopter that looked, from a panicked distance, exactly (not at all) like a gun. A few extra-concerned peasants began to hand out the pitchforks and build a pile of kindling below the tree. Greg is just lucky he climbed down and wandered off when he did.
I understand the panic. I would expect nothing less; if our mom was there, she’d have joined in with gusto, or at least stoked the flames. The man is lucky some overzealous gun nut didn’t go full vigilante, and the Everett PD didn’t send out the SWAT team…or someone with a long pokin’ stick. The incident didn’t even rate a local news reporter interviewing some local boob in front of the tree. ”
In response to this singular and egregious transgression, the school decided to heretofore lock all the gates surrounding the school. Keep in mind the fence and gates are just tall enough to thwart under-motivated marauding Pygmies.
Soak that in. To stop this tree climbing madness, they locked the gates on the chain link fences. There is no barbed wire topping these fences. I have to think, a man dead set on tree climbing is going to find a workaround. Like, and I’m just spitballing here, climbing the fence. These climbing types are not easily discouraged. They’ll climb anything they can get their hands on: Trees, fences, churches, large dogs, even taller people.
Now parents, on the other hand – parents walking a mile in the rain to pick up and or drop off kids, taking the same route they’ve taken since day one and coming upon a locked gate…Well, it turns out parents aren’t easily discouraged by gates either. A few moms turned around and jogged cursing to the main entrance to arrive just a few minutes late. A few other moms just jumped the damn fence. One ambitious mom even foisted her golden retriever over the fence, rather than risk looking like “that mom who forgot her kid.” (I love that look that big dogs get when you pick them up, it’s the perfect mixture of confusion and sudden lack of trust of their master).
One intrepid dad (a fireman who really should have known better) tore down the fence in an inspired moment of Incredible Hulk like rage, at least that’s what the PTA rumor mill is saying. I guess it’s possible he just bent the thing back a little so he could slip through, but that’s not how the story was relayed by a shocked witness to the destruction. Rumor around campus is this dad’s gone completely off the deep end. Is there anything more terrifying than a rogue fireman?
Next thing you know he’ll be climbing trees.
And if you don’t have the fire department to get things out of trees? Well society pretty much collapses. The police could try, but they would just drive the hook and ladder in incompetent circles as they tried to make sense of the owner’s manual of the Cat-Grabber 2000. Or they would just shoot him. Meanwhile, Crazy Tony the fence thrashing fireman who used to drive the CGF 2000 would taunt them from his tree, yelling insults he had saved up since the last softball game.
FOX news is right – overreacting really is more entertaining than that other thing. What’s it called, again? Oh, that’s right, rational thought. Not everyone in trees is looney.