Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cut-Your-Own Guy Pines for Polypropylene

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cut-Your-Own Guy Pines for Polypropylene

Article excerpt

TO ME, nothing says Christmas like a 5-foot-tall chunk of green polyvinyl chloride decorated with taillight-red lights, a $1.98 garland and a couple of spray-cans of fake snow, the vague smell of heat-resistant thermo-plastics wafting throughout the house.

But my wife is one of these people who insists on having a real Christmas tree, whatever that means.

"What's more real than a cellulose acetate base and polycarbonate hooks for the branches?" I tell her. But she doesn't want to hear about it. You can talk to her 'til you're blue in the face, but she's firmly in the pocket of the anti-artificial tree lobby. In the past, to get our Christmas tree, we'd pile all the kids in the car and drive over to the parking lot of a nearby supermarket, where a big sign advertised: "ANY TREE $19" and then in tiny letters, letters you couldn't make out with anything short of the telescope at the Mount Palomar Observatory, it said: "Except firs." The firs, it turned out, went for 35 bucks and up. So naturally, the kids would make a beeline for the firs, which were the nicest trees on the lot. Then my wife and I would gently steer them to the less expensive trees, which the kids would look at the way you'd look at a hair in your yogurt. Anyway, after arguing for two hours in 30-degree temperature, we'd finally all agree on a tree. Then this short, unshaven guy with bloodshot eyes would shuffle out of this little hut, where he had a space heater and a bottle of blackberry brandy going, and take our money. Then we'd tie the tree to the top of the car with some of the cheap twine the guy was always pushing ("You need twine? Hey, take as much as you want!") (For some reason, this business with the twine reminds me of these waiters at fancy restaurants who are always coming up to you with a pepper grinder and flashing a big smile and chirping "Fresh pepper?" Like they're doing you a big favor.) I feel like saying: "Look, pal, instead of giving me all this free twine, why don't you knock 10 bucks off the price of that tree?" Apparently, though, getting a tree at the supermarket parking lot was too convenient. Because this year my wife announced that we'd be traveling to a tree farm somewhere in the boondocks and - this was the scary part - cutting down our own Christmas tree. …

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