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Letter From America: Do Acorns Drive You Nuts?

Tormented by an unwanted slough of acorns on your manicured lawns? The Wise One has the wisest possible advice for you, as Ronnie Bray reveals.

You have to live in a pretty amazing place to be driven nuts by acorns. Most people, especially those of the smaller variety, find acorns pleasant toys, unless they have tried eating them. Essential to having acorns at the bottom, or top or middle, of your garden is that first you must have at least one mature oak tree. "Ah," I hear you sigh, "The mighty Oak. The symbol of Old England’s strength and endurance."

To be sure, oak trees do last a long time, are strong, are hardly ever felled by strong winds, although well-directed Þórrine shafts have split many a majestic oak asunder, blasting it to smithereens as the sudden increase in temperature superheats the sap to steam and ‘pop’ goes the weasel, after a manner of speaking.

Yet the small nuts can give rise to feelings of hatred greatly at variance with their diminutive size, as, for instance, when they fall on your neatly manicured lawn and are trodden in by a reckless horde of local children, or, if you are unfortunate, your own home grown rabble.

That the Vandals care more for the acorns than for the one thousand pounds a square yard you have lavished on your razored greensward is at odds with the principles of cost and worth as found among the fundamentals of domestic economics. However, when the economic regulations attendant on the joys and delights of insouciant childhood are employed as the standard of comparative worth, vis-à-vis acorns to grass, then your lawn loses out magnificently without it having to put up much of a struggle.

If your oak tree or trees occupy a wild or semi-wild spot in your garden, then you probably have too much land and should seriously consider donating some of it to a worthy cause. Just make sure you spell my name correctly on the deed of transfer.

If your domestic Huns are collectors, then your domicile will vie with the finest store cities of ancient Ægypt as repositories of great wealth. That is, wealth as valued by the possessor, not as assessed by estate agents. The hordes that possess hoards of acorns do not count the LSD of bricks and mortar, nor do they calculate compound or simple interests accruing in the family pile regardless of its location, location, location.

Their wealth is determined solely by how many mattress ticks, bolster cases, seagoing trunks, washtubs, chests of drawers, and other eccentric receptacles they can stuff with Fructus Quercus. Another interesting titbit of arithmetical calculation is that the rate of your descent into madness will be directly proportionate to that at which your munchkins fill your house with accurséd acorns.

It is told that some poor householders have gone all the way into madness and run away to sea, never to be heard of again. Of these, it is said that fully some three-quarters were not missed!

Whether destroying your lawn, being squashed and squished the length and breadth of your drive, garden paths, tennis courts, and the area around your swimming pool, or filling your residence to the gunwales, they can be a bit of a nuisance.

But the sane solution is not to embark on a nut-free vessel for far flung places where there are no nuts, such as Brazil, Barcelona, Macadamia, Pistachionia, Almondania, Coconut Island, Cashewmia, Walnutamia, Pecanioso, Filbertia, or Peanutanto, but to call on the services of ‘The Wise One.’ Perhaps you have not heard of ‘The Wise one.’ There is one in almost every large family or group of families, and they are easy to detect.

When the acorn season is in full nut, take careful aim at the assemblage of diminutives crawling in and around the oak tree, ignoring those that fill their pockets with their treasure, marking those that cram them into their mouths as possible candidates for future psychiatric intervention, and dwell on the one – there is always one! – that remains at a safe distance from the swarm, conspicuously aloof from their activities, for this individual is invariably ‘The Wise One.’

Although too smart to be bribed with anything less than coin of the realm, especially in denominations for which coinage is not struck, but amenable to multiples of said denomination when wrapped conveniently in the substance of a banknote of considerable power, it is found that a combination of simple bribery and that other irresistible force – flattery – will force the outsider to divulge the secret of ridding your garden and outhouses, your home from cellar to attic, and your mind from id to idget of the dreaded and miraculously multiplying acorns.

On condition that you send me one of the aforesaid banknotes of suitable size to assure me that my efforts have not been wasted on the undeserving, I will share with you what was told to me by one of the aforesaid ‘The Wise Ones’ when I inquired of him what steps I should take to escape the Slough of Despond in which I was mired.

I will pass over his first suggestion which, I believe, was an attempt at jocularity for his confronted by an obviously sad man asking him how he could escape from the quandary in which he was stuck, although in fairness to my quick wit the penny dropped soon after he said "Pedal like the blazes and get out of there!"

However, the sudden and unexpected appearance of a folded banknote of considerable value cut short his effort at humour, an occupation for which he was singularly unfitted, and turned his attention to the more serious matter at hand. I could tell this because his unexpected and disarming smile immediately gave way to his characteristic grave and disdainful appearance.

Assured that he was indeed ‘The Wise One’ and not an escaped Jester with a challenged sense of humour I explained my quandary in more precise terms. Whereupon, he seized the note between his forefinger and thumb with a grip that would have brought Charles Atlas to tears and confided: "Buy a squirrel!"

Copyright Ronnie Bray © 2011

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


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