Please note, this is a reprint from September, 2013.
We’ve all received them in the mail. Those “questionnaires” that just want to know what we think about the burning issues of the day. Many of mine are from political and social groups – the State Republican Party, the Republican National Committee, groups concerned about abortion, a million or so PACs – all apparently extremely concerned about what Joe thinks of blah, blah, blah. And of course, many of them are good causes. Well… some of them. And at the end of each of these very valuable surveys, of course, they’d like me to donate $25, $50, $75 or $100. I don’t even glance through the questionnaires anymore. I just go to the end and laugh about how much money they think we must have to donate to their cause. Then I donate their survey to the trash recycling bin. With all the others. Hey, if you want me to donate to something just ask. A fluffy questionnaire doesn’t impress me.
But there is one questionnaire I received last week that I just needed to share with you. It was from the Arbor Day Foundation. Sure, it was an insult to my intelligence. Sure, they wanted a donation of “$10, $20, $30 or More $_____.” The $20 amount was circled, by the way, with an asterisk telling me that this amount will “especially help” – in addition to my ten free trees, they would plant ten more trees in one of our nation’s forest. I guess the trees don’t get planted if I only donate $10…
But it was the survey itself – Questionnaire #NH00880, dontchaknow – that caught my eye. “Section 1: About You” was the typical set of questions about age, education, work, kids. The boring stuff that everyone lies about – especially age and income.
But “Section 2: About Trees” was a real step up. The questions required a yes or no answer – but if they had allowed for write-in answers, here’s what I would have responded:
1.) Have you ever climbed a tree? You betcha. I’ve climbed trees, stairs, the wall… even hell a time or two.
2.) When you were a child, did you ever play under or amongst trees? Amongst? Who uses that word other than the Amish? Do they play amongst their trees?
3.) Did you ever collect leaves, acorns or pine cones for a school project – or just for fun? I collected them primarily to irritate my mother. But the nuns did make us use them for school projects. My mother didn’t like those when we brought them home either.
4.) Did you ever relax in the shade of a tree? Only after I climbed it with an Amish kid.
5.) Do you think the Paper Birch is an appropriate choice as the state tree of NH? I think a wooden one would be stronger. Then I could climb it. With the Amish kid.
6.) Do you think residents of NH care more about trees than people in the rest of the country? I think they care just as much about people in the rest of the country as they do about trees. Even though trees are people too.
7.) Can you identify the trees near your home? Yes. There’s that big one on the left and the five tall ones in the front. Oh, and that loner in the corner of the yard named Jake. Watch out for that rascal.
8.) Have you ever planted a tree? Yes, with my bare hands. I’ve planted my feet too.
9.) Would you be willing to spare a few dollars to help the Arbor Day Foundation plant more trees? Probably. Would they still plant them if I didn’t? Or do I need to give that $20 with the asterisk?
Now that was an enjoyable questionnaire! And I did send them twenty bucks. Because you know those five tall trees I mentioned in Question 7? The Arbor Day Foundation sent me those 15 years ago…and they’re 30-foot tall Blue Spruces now. Not a bad investment for $20. I wonder if the Amish get a better deal?
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