During the past two weeks, I have been closely watching the news. Not because there has been any particularly big story that caught my eye, I was simply watching because I saw a few little things that grabbed my attention. The first was a headline from the local ABC affiliate, 13 WHAM, stating, “Driver Crashes into Tree Fleeing Police.” http://www.13wham.com/news/local/story/Driver-Crashes-Into-Tree-Fleeing-Police/j6BkOPLobUSx56sseTl0nw.cspx?rss=509 Immediately my thoughts ran wild with images of a dogwood running away from the police after biting a maple. Or a Cherry tree punching an elm in the pie hole after the elm called the Cherry a girl (which would be the pits.)
I was deeply troubled over what crime this tree could possibly have committed, as my experiences with trees have always been positive. I have a few that hang around the house and they have never caused any trouble, in fact, I have become fond of them, as I hope they have of me. I enjoy basking in their shade on hot summer days and enjoy the pine trees shelter from wind on biting winter mornings. When I was a child, I enjoyed climbing in trees, imagining them to be anything from ships, to castles, to forts. The only negative experience I have had with a tree is falling out of one. The real disappointing part of that fall was not the fall from the tree, but rather the pain inflicted by the ground when it caught me.
I quickly clicked the link to read about the kind of hooliganism in which these Hickories were engaging. Much to my relief, we were not being faced with criminal Cottonwoods. Rather, a headline writer simply put the clause too far from what it was modifying. Greece police were not chasing the tree. They were chasing the driver, who, while fleeing the police, crashed into a tree.
Consider this story with the recent announcement that Greece received an award by the Arbor Day Foundation naming it Tree City USA. http://greeceny.gov/node/1224 Apparently, one of the requirements of being named Tree City, is that the trees must have a strong sense of civic duty.
Please do not assume that I think less of the person who wrote that misleading headline; I do not. I am well aware that the pressure to get information posted, with a headline that captures attention, fosters a hectic, frenetic environment where mistakes are inevitable. I have a three-person teenage girl focus group, which also proof reads these blogs and one person who is primarily responsible for proof reading. In spite of this, I still have miss takes that slip through the cracks. Therefore, I say, dear headline writer, thank you for the inspiration for the first part of this post, and if you would not mind making a few more mistakes, I will humbly be grateful for more inspiration.