Tuesday, April 15, 2014

That Will Be The Death Of Me

It started almost twenty years ago.  I was an arrogant, angry kid just out of high school.  I was going to the local community college two or three times a week for some sort of an education.  To make pocket money for all the important stuff, I took the only job that would hire someone like me.  Landscaping.  It just so happened that the next street over from where I lived was a giant landscaping company.  So I got hired, was able to work part time hours, and made pretty decent pocket change compared to others my age.  Not great, but still a little more than other menial jobs.

It was there that I encountered what would be my plant nemesis.  The Canary Island Date Palm.  The first time I had to deal with one of the cut branches, it cut me up one side of my arm to the other.  Note that I was wearing work gloves at the time.  It didn't cut my hands, but it did a number on my arms.  You see, the Canary Island Date Palm has these huge thorns where the branches meet the base of the tree.  The problem was a lot of the properties had these all over the place, and each one needed cut four times a year or so. 

Years ago I let everyone in the house know that one of these palms would be the death of me.  Still, my Father for whom cruelty has never been an issue decided to put one right smack in the middle of the driveway.  Don't believe me?  Look at this:

Yes, that is the front of our house.  And for those of you thinking, "Well, the thorns can't be that bad, can they?"  Take a look at this:

Those things can get up to eight inches long, and can cut right through a work glove. 

When my Father first bought the palm it was short and stocky.  However, it still weighed at least 400 pounds.  It has these two huge ball roots on it.  For years it didn't actually grow upwards.  It just put down roots for years.  The last few years however it has started to grow upward.  This presents another problem.  When I would mow around it, I would try to cut the grass near the base of the tree.  However, I could never get that close since the thorns would cut me to pieces.  The other problem with it getting taller is that, the thorns are now near my face, and have cut my face numerous times. 

My cruel Father says that it's not my problem.  He'll deal with it.  But it doesn't really work out that way does it?  I have to deal with it when I am landscaping.  I also told him that those things live a long time.  I'll have to deal with it when he dies.  I can't burn it down.  I can't cut it down with a standard chainsaw.  Palm trees are notorious for being impossible to cut down with a chainsaw.  Or at least, regular chainsaws.  No, I will have to pay a tree company to come and take it away.  Right now that would run $2000.  With inflation, I'd hate to think what it will be in a few years. 

I suspect that will be mowing one bright and sunny day.  I will be on my riding lawnmower, and one of those thorns will cut my throat wide open.  It will be exactly like how Catalyn Stark got her throat slit open during the Game of Thrones, "Red Wedding" episode.

I begged my cruel and unusual Father to let me put something else in the circle.  I was thinking Stonehenge, but a Mini-Stonehenge.  They sell them on Amazon.


Okay I'll need it a touch bigger than that, but you get the point.

Yes, I could do something like that.  Maybe I could use cinder blocks, and masonry found at the local Home Depot.  That would keep the cost down.

But it won't happen.  I know that I will be struck down by that Canary Island Date... nay, Killing Palm. 

Let the final words on my tombstone be this:

A Canary Island Date Palm walks on the water.
A Canary Island Date Palm walks by the sea.
A Canary Island Date Palm walks wherever it wants.
But no Canary Island Date Palm walks on me.

You know if that will fit and all.


  1. Hilarious. When my husband does battle with our Canary Island Date Palm, I want him in full body armor. He will not comply. I just know that someday his grave will bear testimony to his demise like so: "Here lies Stan, he was quite a man. He would trim, he would hack, but the tree got him back."

    1. Thank you ever so much Thea. That's a pretty darn good poem for Stan. On a strange note, there are parts 2 and 3 to this story. I will find them and post them here.

    2. Part 2.


    3. Part 3.


  2. Having read parts 2 and 3 (which were okay but part 1 was by far the more entertaining), I have to wonder if the tree suffered demise by allelopathy. If so, I imagine you could say that your wicked palm tree was destroyed by plant karma.