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HELLO I’D LIKE TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT OHIO STATE FOOTBALL

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[KNOCK KNOCK] WHO’S THERE [TALKIN’ BOUT THE BUCKEYES]

[at front door]

ME: No, I’m sorry, I’m just not interested in professional lawn care services. I think the lawn should have made that clear. Have a nice day.

[closes door]

[a few moments later, insistent knocking at the door]

ME: Ah, c’mon, what is it now? I’m just trying to have a quiet Tuesday evening at home.

[opens door]

TREE: HELLO SIR OR MA’AM GOOD MORNING OR EVENING I WOULD LIKE TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT OHIO STATE FOOTBALL

ME: What the heck

TREE: HAVE YOU WITNESSED THE TRUTH OF OHIO STATE FOOTBALL SIR

ME: Well, I watched the 31-0 playoff game, yeah

TREE: SIR THE OHIO STATE FOOTBALL PROGRAM IS ONE OF THE NATION’S PREEMINENT PROGRAMS OF FOOTBALL, EXCELLING BOTH IN FOOTBALL AND IN PREEMINENCE, AND-

ME: Wait, so, you’re a tree, shouldn’t you be talking about Stanford football?

TREE: SIR I BEG YOUR PARDON BUT NO ONE WANTS TO TALK ABOUT STANFORD FOOTBALL

ME: Fair.

TREE: ALSO YOU MAY NOT BE AWARE OF THIS AT THIS PRESENT JUNCTURE BUT THE SYMBOL OF THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY IS THE BUCKEYE, WHICH COMES FROM A TREE, THE BUCKEYE TREE

ME: So I’ve heard.

TREE: YES, WE HAVE A SAYING AROUND HERE, YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE NUTS TO LOVE OHIO STATE BUT YOUR BRANCHES NEED TO BEAR THEM

ME: I don’t think that’s a saying.

TREE: IT’S A TREE SAYING

ME: Listen, what are you looking for here? Money?

TREE: I WOULD JUST LIKE TO SHARE WITH YOU THE GLORIOUS WORD OF OHIO STATE FOOTBALL

ME: Alright, fine. Just make it quick. I’ve got a microwave burrito in the oven.

TREE: [produces crumpled papers, begins reading] IN THE YEAR 1492, CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS LANDED HIS SHIPS ON THE SHORES OF THE OLENTANGY RIVER, WHERE HE WOULD NAME A NEW LAND AFTER HIMSELF. TO THIS NEW LAND OF PLENTY AND MILK AND HONEY AND SAUSAGE RESTAURANTS HE BROUGHT A GAME - FOOTBALL - OR AS THE ITALIANS CALLED IT, “HOSPITALIANO”.

ME: There a number of grave factual inaccuracies in what you just said. Is this what kind of education you get at Ohio State?

TREE: SIR I AM AN OHIO STATE FAN I DID NOT ATTEND OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY

ME: Right.

TREE: JUMPING FORWARD TO 1951, WHEN A YOUNG MAN WITH A DREAM WOULD GIVE HOPE TO ALL OF US WHO ARE WOODY FOR THE BUCKEYES

ME: Are we not doing phrasing?

TREE: WOODROW WILSON HAYES, OR AS HE WAS KNOWN TO US IN THE TREE COMMUNITY, “THE MEAT TREE”, WAS AN INSPIRATION, RETIRING ENTIRELY OF HIS OWN VOLITION AFTER A SUCCESSFUL 28-YEAR COACHING CAREER WHEREIN HE NEVER PUBLICLY DEFENDED WAR CRIMES

ME: Once again, I’m going to have to take some exception to a few of your details here.

TREE: SIR IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT YOU CAN JUST LEAVE

ME: This is my house.

TREE: THAT’S JUST SOME TREE HUMOR, GET IT, LEAVE? LEAVE? BUT NO, PLEASE STAY WHERE YOU ARE. I HAVE MUCH MORE TO TELL YOU. AFTER A PERIOD OF RELATIVE QUIETUDE, IN 2001 OHIO STATE HIRED HUMAN FOOTBALL COACH JIM TRESSEL, WHO WOULD BE A HERO TO TREES EVERYWHERE WITH A STYLE OF FOOTBALL THAT, MUCH LIKE US, WAS SLOW, STURDY, CAUTIOUS, PROVIDED SHADE AND HABITAT FOR WOODLAND CREATURES, AND EVENTUALLY ROTTED AND FELL ON TOP OF A HOUSE

ME: Are we almost done?

TREE: FROM THE WRECKAGE OF THAT CRUSHED HOUSE EMERGED TWO MEN. FIRST, LUKE FICKELL, WHO WOULD LATER LEAD THE 2017 CINCINNATI BEARCATS TO A 4-8 RECORD-

ME: It feels unnecessary to even bring that up, but I’m glad you did before anyone else did, I suppose.

TREE: AND ALSO DARRYL EDBERT “URBAN” MEYER, WHO WOULD LEAD THE BUCKEYES TO A CHAMPIONSHIP IN THE 2014 SEASON, WHICH IS THE MOST RECENT THING THAT MY NOTES MENTION.

ME: Okay.

TREE: THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME, NOW I WOULD LIKE TO REQUEST A SMALL DONATION

ME: What? Why? Ohio State is one of the nation’s wealthiest athletic programs. You don’t need my money.

TREE: MY SONS. THEY’RE VERY SICK

MY TREE SONS, DRY ROT, BEAVER, AND DUTCH ELM DISEASE

ME: I’m getting my chainsaw.