That Tree

Bill Kampsen

Bill Kampsen

January 28, 2009 12:00 AM CST

There is the potential to see funny stuff all around you... it doesn't really matter if it is funny to anyone else, as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else, you can just laugh to yourself. Then when you tell others about it, tell it like it was the funniest thing you have ever seen and suddenly you're a comedian. Let me give you an example. I'll call it "That Tree".

I work in an office building. It's rather stuffy with no natural light in most areas, especially the halls. There is no way you could grow anything in those halls. I am fortunate, though. In my office I have windows. But they don't open. If there were a fire, I would have to throw my chair through the window to break out. I don't think that would work, though, because my window is narrow and I'm..... well, not. Fires aside, though, my point is you couldn't grow a thing in the fluorescent-lit hallways and yet we have trees in there. Well, they are those silk ficus trees, but still.

Silk trees or plants are meant to trick people, if even for a second, into thinking that you are in a lush paradise and whoever created this must be a very special person. You are as close as you can get to heaven in an office building, if only for a second. But you know there is no way a tree can grow without sunlight, and how can a tree get six or seven feet tall in those little brass planters? Well, they can't. They are fake and I'm not fooled.

One time I took one of the trees from the side of the hall and moved it right smack in the middle of the hall. That's no feat of strength since they are fake and weigh about seven pounds 3 1/2 ounces, and to me it was funny. To the guy across the hall, I guess it wasn't. He walked out, saw the tree, and mumbled, "I don't know why people want to be putting that tree in the middle of the hallway," and he walked around it! It wasn't funny to him, and yet he left it there, like it was actually growing and weighed five hundred pounds. By the way, the hallway is only six feet wide so the tree in the middle was pretty dominate. And he walked around it, mumbling.

Tree 1 Tree 2
"I don't know why people want to be putting that tree in the middle of the hallway." And he walked around it, mumbling.

My office building also has more than it's share of degenerates coming and going. You wouldn't think so, but we have a drug-testing place across the hall, lots of counselors, and workmen's comp attorneys here so you can guess the clientele that we draw. One day a couple of the beautifully fake ficus trees disappeared. I'm not surprised that someone would want to steal them, what with how realistic they are and all, and it has happened several times in the years I have been here. So the building manager puts up a sign, which to me, is funny. When stuff gets stolen here, she puts up a sign asking that the missing items get returned, and they usually do get returned. That, to me, is funny.

After the sign had been up a few days, I come around the corner by the elevator and in front of me some kid comes out, carrying a tree with his face buried in it so as not to be recognized, then he sets the tree down as I walk by and he disappears back into the elevator. I don't know who he was because I never saw his face, but that was suspicious. And funny. He returned the stolen fake ficus tree and hid in it while he was doing it.

Brilliant. I wish I had thought of it. I'm thinking about putting up a sign at my house that says, "Will whoever keeps beating the crap out of my mailbox, please replace it."

Tree 3 Tree 4
The sign. This is the stryofoam grasshopper I stuck in the ficus around 15 years ago. Building maintenance took out the styrofoam bird though.

Heck, it works for my building manager.