By June Mathews
Trees have been subjects of much discussion around our house lately.
A dead limb caught high up in a sturdy oak in the front yard hangs too near the house for comfort. If it falls before it’s safely removed, an eave will likely go down with it.
At the other end of the house stands a scrawny gingko tree that needs either chopping down or moving to a more suitable spot. As it’s grown, its limbs have begun interfering with the path of cables running from the power pole at the street to the side of the house. Disconnects or breakage could mean indefinite interruption in TV and Internet services (not to mention electricity), making for an unhappy household all around.
And considering all the spring storms of late, some tall, rangy pines in the back yard are causing concern, too. Should a strong northward gust of wind blow one down onto the backside of the roof during the night, we’re liable to wake up chewing bark.
So I recently sat down at the computer to look for information on local tree services. But a few minutes into my search, I ran across several quizzes similarly entitled “What kind of tree would you be?” or “What type of tree are you?” or “If you could be a tree…” and got sidetracked.
Now I love a good self-assessment quiz almost as much as I love a well-toasted blueberry PopTart. Ever since I completed “Are you Donny Osmond’s ideal girlfriend?” in a late 1960s teenybopper magazine and learned Donny and I would be THE perfect couple (well, except for those pesky Southern Baptist/Mormon discrepancies), I’ve been hooked.
So I clicked on the first tree quiz link, flew through my responses (I’m told the accuracy of these highly scientific analyses hinge on first impressions), hit the “Submit” button and confidently awaited the results. I had no doubt they would cast me in a good light.
“Weeping willow,” the results screen said. “You’re a crybaby, and your feet stink.”
“Well, there’s a flawed test if I ever saw one,” I mumbled. Just to be sure, though, I took a quick sniff at one of my flip-flops, which seemed to be relatively odor-free.
I then returned to the search page, selected another quiz and tried again.
“Oak,” the next results said. “You’re wise and kind. You have many friends and enjoy being a helper.”
“Now that’s more like it,” I thought smugly. “Whoever developed this quiz knew what they were doing.”
But with one bad result and one good, I figured the only way to achieve a truly fair assessment was to invoke the two-out-of-three rule. So I clicked on a third link and answered yet another series of questions.
“Apple,” was the verdict, “the true giving tree – unless it’s a crab apple tree.”
OK, I’ll admit to being a crab apple-type person on occasion, but I prefer to think of myself as more of a giver.
And harking back to that ridiculous first result, I’m no crybaby. Yeah, I can muster up a few tears whenever it’s to my advantage to do so. But I don’t consider that being a crybaby. I consider that being clever on cue.
But after such dubious results, I decided to quit while I was ahead. There’s no telling what a fourth test might say about the kind of tree I should be.
And come to think of it, I’m not especially interested in being a tree anyway.
Quizzes along the lines of “If you were ice cream, what flavor would you be?” or “Gauge your chances of becoming obscenely wealthy” would be more my cup of tea.
In the meantime, though, I should probably get these tree issues cleared up.
Oh, hey, has anybody ever seen a self-assessment quiz entitled, “What is your likelihood of being hit by a falling tree limb in your own yard?”? Now there’s one I should probably take.