Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Midsummer madness

Niece Pants with family tree by Sis Pants

Christmas-celebrating households are divided into those who have real and those who have imitation trees. The Pants family are firmly on the artificial side of the divide. It didn't start out as a 'statement' gesture. Lord no - it goes way back before environmentalism. Pants family trees have been machine-made ever since machines were made as far as I can gather. Sis Pants and I recall a childhood clustered around the Grand-Pants's silver tinsel tree, a luxury item unimaginable today.

I read recently that an artificial tree repays its CO2 debt at about six years of age. If that's the case then the Pants family tree (above) should be included in any National Emissions Trading Scheme proposed in the future. This sturdy 100% cellophane specimen, originally purchased at Grace Bros. Sydney circa 1965, has proudly served four generations of Pantses and shows no sign of wilting.

Seat of Pants has its own tree. It's kind of a long story that starts in Spain and I ended up writing a book about that particular adventure anyway which I'll get to in a week or two. I'm looking at this tree as I write because it's Twelfth Night and I know I'll have to take it down in the morning. I think the 'needles' are a paper-based construction but on the whole, the principle of the design is time-honoured. The 'foliage' is attached to twisted wire spokes that fit into a central plastic trunk. And we're talking a carbon credit of about eleven years and counting.

My Shakespeare is getting rustier by the minute but ain't Twelfth Night the one what says,

Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some 'ave greatness thrust upon 'em?

So what about the ones what don't get no 'greatness' delivered by any means, i.e. most of us, most of the time? Well, Shakespeare may not have had the answer to that and to be honest, would it have been fair to expect a playwright to concern himself with the trials of us little, artificial-tree trimming folk? Probably not.

Better go and dedeck the halls lest I turn into fortune's fool via self-inflicted bad luck.