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Run your cursor gently over Rowie's ear to 'ear the essay.

To see as well as hear...
Specially Christmassy Christmas Special On:2003-12-16 12:11:22

Forget the fearful turkey-caust of Thanksgiving: ignore the ignoble ritual disfigurement of Easter Eggs at Easter: fail to notice the nauseating calumnies heaped upon witches at Halloween: completely miss the malicious bonfiring of Guys just after that on the fifth of November (even though, since that's only in England I don't suppose it should matter too much to YOU)---But DO NOT, do not ever, or for one moment forget, ignore, fail to notice or completely miss the tragic plight and sad, sad fate at this otherwise joyous time of year of...
the sad fate of...

Yes, yet another year has bounded round, and yet again it is time for my annual plea-a-thon for the SAVE THE CONES FUND.

(Now comes the bit where I tug at your heartstrings:)
Picture the scene. Row upon row of innocent young trees growing proud and strong on the hill's side—perhaps standing in a quiet snowfall or listening to the song of the little birds---suddenly one day seems different from all the other days of their short lives. At first they feel curiosity, "What's that buzzing sound? Those creaks? That sound of dragging off?" they ask.
Then consternation, "Why does it seem to be coming nearer?"
Then, like the girl who will insist on going about in her underwear in some really bad 'chop-up-a-teenager' movie, in a welter of sap and wood chips comes the horror, while rooted to the spot with fear, the poor helpless little Christmas trees meet Mr Chainsaw!
Unable (as you, or I, or a turkey, or even an Easter egg could)---unable to hide, to run, to escape, to dial 911. What can the poor trembling trees do but await their fate?
Think my friends of that fate:
The rude radi-ectomy without benefit of anaesthetics.
The dragging around by rough-gloved hands, the casual piling up, the leaning against walls.
The selling and the tying to car roofs.
The humiliation and confusion of being festooned with strange glass and plastic shiny things and flashing lights, while raucous people go wild all around, and mysterious and frightening packages pile all around. The rude and early awakening on Christmas Day, perhaps from that finally achieved, fitful, fevered sleep, by screaming children, and you can be sure there won't be any presents for the tree.
Then comes the slow desiccation, the needle loss. The . . . browning patches.
And the final, miserable end at the mulcher, the fire or the dump.

So, as you now adjust1 your heartstrings before leaving, let me remind you that, in support of the Save the Cones Fund, we at People for the Ethical Treatment of Christmas Trees (or as it's more commonly known PETFir) will be out in force again.
For example we will soon be holding our ever popular tree-out event when naked supermodels will be standing outside in the snow and the blizzard of media attention, refusing to warm themselves either by burning Christmas trees (which is so cruel to the trees) or by wearing Christmas trees (which is so much more cruel to the wearer). We will be organizing groups to wait outside Christmas tree lots to pelt tree molesters with pine needle mulch and clumps of tinsel. And of course we will be joining with our colleagues at the Save the Cones Fund in distributing their famous "'Tis the season of good will, Darling, so I went out and slaughtered a tree for you" bumper stickers.
So, at this, the most difficult time of year for Christmas trees, when the bottom drops out of their life expectancy, we ask you to help us to help these poor defenceless conifers.
Please, please give generously to your local Christmas tree shelter.

And, though I can barely bring myself to say it...
Cheerio for now and a (sob) Merry Christmas
from Richard Howland-Bolton


 1 "... adjust your heartstrings before leaving" Back in the old days in the old country, when I was growing up, I remember how the public lavatories had signs near their exits that read "PLEASE ADJUST YOUR DRESS BEFORE LEAVING". Whether this resulted in the extremely low incidence of cases of indecent exposure experienced at the time, or instead was inspired by their very high incidence I don't know. And of course 'DRESS' was meant in its widest sense (as in 'formal dress') rather than as an indication of widespread cross-dressing, but I always harboured a sneaking suspicion that in the 'Ladies' bemused women were staring at "PLEASE ADJUST YOUR TROUSERS BEFORE LEAVING", while back at the Council Offices some poor dyslexic employee was being hauled over the coals.

My phrase is, of course, a reference to that.

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