DNA Testing: On Leaves
See that leaf? It’s not mine. I don’t know where it came from, or who it belongs to, but it’s definitely not mine. How do I know? I only have two trees on my property, and both are bare. No leaves left. Not one. But every day, there’s a new leaf in my yard. No, there are millions (okay, more like thousands) of new leaves in my yard. And guess who has to clean them up?
This is war. I was outside again today raking and blowing and sucking up the leaves. Didn’t I just do battle with them last weekend? The billions (okay, more like millions) of leaves I picked up are back with a regiment of replacements. I’m an army of one fighting them. My dogs are no help. They just stare at me. My wife laughs at me from inside the house. “Why are you out there killing yourself with those leaves,” she chortles. “They’ll just be back tomorrow.” I know she’s right, but instead reply, “I have to.” That’s all I can come up with.
It happens every year. Most people look forward to Fall. You know, the beauty of the leaves as they turn colors. I look at those same leaves and say, “They’re going to fall soon, and I’ll have to pick them up.” Besides, I’m color-blind. You may have heard me say to Frank, our weather guy, that I hate the wind. He thinks it’s because it messes up my anchor hair. That’s not the reason. I can spend an entire afternoon cleaning up the yard, and then one of those darn “Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain” winds whip up and blow a trillion (okay, billion) more back in. It’s not fair.
While I’m out there knee-deep, cleaning up someone else’s stuff, a thought comes to me. The dogs are still staring at me, so I share it with them: “I know I’m not the only one with this problem. What if we could figure out where the leaves come from? Which trees they flew off of. Who they belong to. That’s it. Do a DNA test on each leaf. Then we could force the owners to come and pick up and take away their own mess.” The dogs aren’t buying it. I know what they’re thinking. “You clean up our messes, why not theirs?” They have a point there. Remind me to work on that problem next.