Friday, March 18, 2011

Reassuring Words to a Palm Tree Trimmer

Remain calm; all is well, continue working and consuming

Don't worry: generally speaking, shoe spikes and straps are very reliable.
Have no fear: climbing belts and tree straps rarely fail.
No need to check, all is well: your chainsaw is sharp enough that it won't kick back up there.
Chill out dude: those 20 mph winds are of no concern to you.
Bees? Nah, they don't bother palm tree trimmers, not currently, according to the International Beekeepers Commission.
Snakes, scorpions? Officials and experts confirm that there's nothing to be alarmed about.
Suffocation? True, it has been a danger before, but there doesn't seem to be any of that happening right now.
Dropping trimmed fronds and hitting coworkers, cars, children, or property? Experts on falling things have been interviewed, and watched video of these fronds falling. They indicate that they see no reason to stop dropping them at this time from this tree.

Something tells me that this fellow up in the tree wouldn't just listen to these words. He will check his shoe spikes and straps every time. He will secure his own climbing belt and only use it if it appears to be in working order. He will sharpen his own chainsaw regularly. He knows from experience that high winds, bees, snakes, scorpions, and suffocation, among other things, are real dangers to palm tree trimmers, and will take precautions. And he will do his level best not to drop the fronds on his coworkers, nearby cars, or people, not by using words to tell them that he won't, but by actually not doing it.

Take those words of reassurance up there, multiply them thousands of times, and publish them non-stop on Internet news sites and blogs around the world, and he still wouldn't just trust the words. In fact, repeated so endlessly like that, a drumbeat message that sounds so similar from so many different sources, he may even doubt them more. In fact, he may even begin to suspect that behind the message is something beside truth-seeking curiosity and the need to know. Stay calm, tree-trimming guy, keep working, don't panic needlessly. In our calculus of fear, you don't need to know everything right now. Go about your business. We'll tell you more in our own time. Right now, civil order, and the continuance of the normal activities of daily life, are a higher priority than needlessly alarming you about probabilities, possible outcomes, historic predecessors, or risks to you and your family and coworkers. No, the palm tree guy would not listen to the words of reassurance alone to prepare to go up that tree. He would verify everything he possibly could on his own, then proceed with caution, rather than going on trust. And the more mere words were repeated to him, over and over, the less he would trust them, I'm sure.

Current count of the phrase "no danger" on g00g1e news: over 3000. Check your own spikes. Verify your own climbing belt. Keep your own eyes open for bees and scorpions up there. Seek accurate data, and take care. Get up. Go ride.


  1. When we lived in Baja our tree trimmer, that we called "bigote" because of his huge mustache, used a machete. He was ever careful and efficient. We used the "hojas" as repair shingles on out palm frond roof.
    When I would say "cuidado amigo" he would just smile that smile of ultimate confidence then carefully check his gear one more time. I do not think my words were necessary but as a friend they were welcome and they made me feel better.
    Like iron workers those that work at heights are a special breed.

  2. Something in the air?
    I wish I had some unexposed film.
    Don't worry though, if anything happens, I'll let you know.
    Mutant cactus.

  3. That palm tree trimmer is a good man to have at one's side.


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