Seeing is a relative term. It depends on the viewer’s perspective. Men have selective eyesight. It’s a prime cause of consternation between the sexes.
It was a small oak leaf. Insignificant. Once green, now brown. It lay curled in a fetal position in the crevice of the shoe moulding at the back door.
I saw it every time I passed through the door. Maybe others noticed it as well. No one mentioned it. Somehow it had escaped the broom and vacuum.
It lay there alone for days. I watched as it withered daily. Its former glory days were past. What remained was a shriveled chrysalis. Given an option, it would have asked to return to nature. No one obliged. Nor me. Last Tuesday it finally gave up the Ghost.
How did it end up in this alien place? Possibly the dog shook it from its fur. Perhaps it rode in clinging to the sole of a shoe. Who knows, maybe the wind blew it in. It doesn’t matter. Life is full of inexplicable events. The wind blows leaves and lives at will.
I took pity on the leaf and condescended to pick it up. It’s not easy to evade the innate laziness flesh is heir to. Big of me, for sure, a grandstanding gesture worthy of praise. There was no applause. Men pat themselves on the back for tasks far more miniscule.
Like changing a roll of toilet tissue. In our home it’s called ‘last-square roulette’…a game where the loser has no option but to replace it. Men stubbornly shun such challenges.
Men have an intense fear of unloading dishwashers. This is an intrinsic survival instinct. No man can repatriate kitchen utensils to the satisfaction of a woman.
Anyway, I committed the leaf to the whim of the summer breeze. Angels observed it. That very moment they opened the Books of Life. Scrolling down the list my name popped up, located just above Hitler, Adolf and Hun, Attila The.
The deed was duly noted with a gold star under the “Inasmuch-as-you-have-done-this” category. It was placed opposite the previous entry heading, “Neglect-of-garbage-can-overload.” Justice grinds slowly, but it grinds exceedingly small.
The leaf’s last days were spent living among dust mites. An inhospitable environment…lonely, irrelevant, ignored, out of place and neglected. Abandonment is a wretched condition. No wonder the leaf whistled “Free at last” as its cortege floated away on the breeze.
Outside, the trees ballooned with leaves. Of what value is one? Little, perhaps. But give the leaf its due…its short life had a purpose. It added a small but meaningful measure to the health of the tree. Leaves, like hairs on our heads, are numbered. Trees are diminished in the loss of just one. Yet, for a season the leaf was part of something bigger than itself.
Feeling superior after the benevolent gesture, I said to my wife, “Honey, remember that dead leaf by the door? I restored it to nature.”
“Really? About time.” she said. “I wondered how long it would take you. I put it there a week ago. It was a test to see if you were blind or just lazy. You proved both points.”
Women do these things. They’re creative in conducting covert experiments to test men. Frequent tests reduce men’s over-inflated egos to manageable sizes, and correct faulty myopic eyesight.
In the mid-19th century, the theory of phrenology became a popular delusion. Probably created by women, it sought to discover ‘Why’ men were stupid. It was a system of “reading” the shape of men’s skulls to determine a cause of the ‘Big Head’ syndrome.
Women were disappointed when they discovered a man’s brain simply revolves around sports, cars, sex, beer and food. They knew that already. Like most hoaxes, the hoopla ran its course when the moola ran out.
Blind neglect is arrogance. It’s inbred in the nature of men. Why? Because to act requires a decision. Men tend to defer decisions, assuming someone else will get rid of the annoyance. It’s a weak conclusion, I know. Do you have a better one?
Today I saw a silent cardboard beggar. He sat among the detritus of an interstate overpass. His sign read, “Lost job. Please help.” I drove on by.
The chill of a sudden breeze blew through my open window. I remembered the leaf. How can I ever say with a straight face, “I didn’t see it.”
Editor's Note: Visit Bud's blog and enjoy his vast collection of musings at theweaklypost.com. He can also be reached by email at BudHearn@mindspring.com.