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Up A Tree

"Life must be lived as play." - Plato

Life must be lived as play.” – Plato

“What’s that?” she said looking out the window.

“What’s what?” replied her husband, his eyes remaining glued to the morning paper.

“That!” she replied emphatically, pointing out the window.  “There, out the window.  Look why don’t you?”

Her husband had no choice but to put the paper down.  He squinted and glanced out the window.  “It looks like a boy to me.”  He said, slowly raising the paper and back to the all important news.

“Of course it’s a boy.  I know that!  I’m not stupid you know, but what’s he doing”

Without lowering the paper or even taking his eyes from it, the man replied “It looks to me like he’s climbing a tree.”

“Of course he’s climbing a tree, but why?  Doesn’t he know it’s dangerous?  I can barely look myself.” She said, never taking her eyes from the boy.  “He could fall and get hurt, maybe even kill himself.  Now he’s stopped.  I wonder what he’s doing?”

To this query, her husband made no reply.  A short moment of silence ensued while he maintained his news gathering vigil.  His wife kept both eyes focused on the boy and then suddenly she blurted “There he goes!  He’s going up again!”

Without moving his eyes from the paper, the man replied “Of course he is, it wouldn’t be climbing otherwise.”

“Very funny!  I don’t find any of this funny.  I think it’s dangerous.  I think it’s crazy.  It should be against the law!  I’m calling the police!”

“The police?  What for”

“The boy, he could get hurt.  I wonder where his parents are.  I bet they don’t even have half a clue that he’s out there climbing trees.  Climbing trees, it’s all crazy to me.  Why in the world would he want to do that?  He must be on drugs.  That’s it, he’s on drugs.  It has to be drugs.  He must be hallucinating or something like that.  I’m calling the police before he hurts himself, or worse yet he hurts someone else”

“Hurt someone?  What’s he going to do fall on somebody?”

“Oh, very funny, Mr. Funnypants!  You won’t be laughing when he breaks into the house and shoots us!  That’s what people on drugs do, you know!  They have no idea what they’re doing, they’re totally out of control.”  With this, she started to rise to make her way to the phone, but suddenly stopped.  “Oh my god!”

Even her husband took note of her excited tone and looked up from his paper.  She continued “Now he’s just hanging from a branch!  What in god’s name is he doing that for?  He’s at least fifteen feet from the ground!  I can’t watch.”  By this time, her husband was standing at the window, getting a better look at the boy.

Now, he too was concerned.  “Forget the police, call the fire department!  He may fall.”

His wife jumped to the phone and dialed.   When connected she hurriedly said “There’s a boy climbing a tree near our house.  I think he’s stuck. . . No, not a cat, a boy. . . I think he’s on some sort of drugs. . . No, he’s not playing a computer game, he’s really up a tree . . . No, I haven’t been drinking, but he may have been . . . How should I know why he’s climbing a tree, he just is . . . I personally think he’s on LSD or something like that . . .Well, help him get down of course!  That’s what you do isn’t it?  . . . Fire, no there’s no fire, but if he’s on drugs, he may start one . . .  Insurance?  How should I know if he has insurance? . . . you can’t!  . . . Police jurisdiction . . . OK, I’ll call them.”

The woman hung up the phone and said to her husband “They said to call the police, it’s their jurisdiction.  He didn’t think that it was against the law to climb trees, as long as he’s properly insured.  It must be against the law.  Who in their right mind would climb a tree anyway?”

“Maybe he was being chased.  If I was being chased by a dog, I might climb a tree.  That shouldn’t be against the law.”

“Do you see any dogs?  Did you see anyone chasing him?  Use your head for once.  He was hanging from a branch!  Would you hang from a branch, if you were chased by a dog?”

With reasoning and experience, the man saw the error of his ways.   He had just recalled times in his youth when he climbed trees.  He climbed them for fun, for adventure, for something to do.  He would hang from branches in a minor attempt to challenge fate, knowing fully that he was in control.  Knowing that he was in no real danger.  He remembered his youth and how much fun it was.  He innocently said to his wife “Maybe he’s climbing the tree for fun.”  Instantly, he again saw the error of his ways.

“Fun?  You call that fun?  Endangering your life and possibly other’s lives!  Making you mother worry for no reason!  Fun?  If he wants to have fun, he should be inside safely playing a computer game.  Doesn’t Wii make a tree climbing simulation?  I hear it’s just like the real thing, even better some say.  Fun, my eye!  I think you’re on drugs, that’s what I think!”

The man just glanced out the window, enviously recalling his youth.  His wife called the police.  They said they’d be right over.  They’d surely rid society of this menace, she thought.  But before they arrived, the boy climbed down the tree and innocently trotted off across the field and out of sight.  Moments later, the police came.  The woman showed them the tree, pointing up, showing where the boy had been.  The police shook their heads in disbelief.  They then searched for any evidence of foul play, but found nothing out of the ordinary.  The police left the scene and the woman made her way back to the house.  As she neared the house, she was met by her husband.  He walked past his wife towards the tree.  She stopped, stared and slowly started to follow him in silence.  He came to the tree and looked up it.  His wife, lagging a few paces behind, also came to its base. She asked, “What are you doin’?”

The man lifted his right foot and without looking at his wife replied “I thought I saw a dog” and he started to climb.

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