Listicles / Once upon a time

Sh*t I tell my daughter instead of “I don’t know”

School park

“Momma? Why did they cut the tops off all those trees?”

Now listen, guys: I don’t know. I can tell you that, because you’re adults and therefore able to bear with my complete ignorance on some things. I’ve never presented myself as an arborist. I wasn’t on that landscaping committee. I don’t even know what kind of trees those are.

My my 4-year-old daughter? She can’t abide. Not only is she convinced that I know the answer, but she’s sure it’s something impressive, and the fact that I withhold the lowdown from her is naked trickery. Evasion! Obscuration. RUSE.

So, since admitting I don’t know is viewed as an attempt to deliberately mislead, I just make sh*t up. Which, of course, perpetuates the cycle.

But yesterday, she got wise to my act.

I said, “If they don’t cut those top branches, they’ll grow into a thick, impenetrable tree-wall. Then they’ll connect at the top, like a roof, sealing even the wee, wily kids like your brother out of the playground. Kind of like the briar hedge in Sleeping Beauty, except with those trees. And only a prince will be able to cut through it. But no princes live around here, so…”


“That’s not real, is it?”


“Tell me another!” And another, and another

And so we arrive to the true title of this little post:

7 Not-real reasons they cut the tops off all those trees:

  1. If they don’t cut the top branches, they’ll grow into propellers. And then the propellers will start spinning round and round like a helicopter, and the trees will lift off and just fly awaaayy.
  2. Those trees actually grow thick, tangly hair out of their tops, just like people do. So municipal workers have to come every single night to shampoo and condition, and comb out all the tangles, and braid it all nice. And this year the city budget couldn’t afford to pay those workers, so they had to just lay them off and give the trees a haircut.
  3. If they don’t cut them, those trees grow allll the way up to the clouds, just like Jack’s magic beanstalk! And then the tree elves that live inside will jump out onto the clouds and decide to live up in the sky instead. And do you know where those elves will go pee-pee? That’s right…
  4. Well, they’re Trumpet Trees, see? If they don’t cut them, they’ll grow into horns that go ROOTY-TOOT-TOOOT all night long! Then nobody in the neighborhood will get any sleep, and they’ll be grouchy like Morning-Momma except all the time.
  5. Wait no, I’m sorry — those are Hand Trees. Their branches grow into giant, wooden hands that just start clapping sometimes, without warning. And that’s dangerous for the squirrels, you know.
  6. If they don’t cut the branches on top, they form enormous natural nests, which attract huge birds the size of children! Then no kids can play on the playground because the birds will be playing there instead, and they’re kind of mean, those birds.
  7. Those trees have heads and arms, only you can’t see them because they’re upside-down and buried underground, faaaaast asleep. If they don’t cut those branches, they will grow into legs, with feet and everything. And then the trees will wake up, flip around, pull out their heads and arms, and start singing and dancing! Which would be fine, except that they only ever want to dance to “Waltzing Matilda.” And that’s a good song, but you would get sick of it eventually. Especially the way they sing.

So let’s just let them lie, shall we? (Please.)


P.S. If you can think of any more, leave a comment! I’m running out of ideas here.

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