Thursday, February 25, 2016

You Just Never Know When a Coconut Might Kill You

Gil took this picture, but he wanted me to make sure to tell you that I took all the rest of the pictures in this post.  So don't blame him for my lousy pictures, okay?  

Today's lesson:  Never underestimate the importance of backyard safety.

A quick Google search reveals important safety precautions such as:
  • Clear up small pools of water that can breed mosquitoes.
  • Be careful not to leave out hot charcoal in a grill.
  • Have a fence separating the driveway from the play area.
  • Don't leave children unattended with dogs.
  • Make sure children always wear shoes outdoors.
  • Never ever have a trampoline.

I was surprised though, that not a single internet list considered this one:
  • Beware of falling coconuts.
These backyard-safety-list-makers must not live in the tropics.  Everyone around here knows that you never intentionally stand under a coconut tree.

Our neighbors had a coconut tree that angled itself into our yard, so that the coconuts hung precariously over the area where we hang our clothes out to dry.  My house helper, Esta, told me that she was often nervous to spend any time out there, working on the laundry.  And after watching a few coconuts fall directly into the area where my kids had been pulling down clean clothes, Esta and I decided that was final: The tree needed to come down.  

Don't mock me.  

So what if falling coconuts may or may not kill only 150 people per year?  Sharks kill less people than that, and people are still afraid of them.  If you had a shark hanging out where you put up your laundry, I'm sure you would ignore the statistics and get rid of that too.   

Gil, of course, rolled his eyes.  A falling coconut can deliver a force up to a metric ton, I told him. He asked me how many people I know who have died from falling coconuts.  It doesn't matter.  Personally, I don't want my laundry experience to be so stressful.

So yesterday, the tree came down among a crowd of neighborhood onlookers.  We hired a couple of guys to climb it, hack off all of the coconuts and palm fronds, and then cut the trunk down.  With only a machete.  You want to see skills?  These guys got skills.  

AND I was completely vindicated, you mockers.  As they were cutting down the coconuts, one of them fell onto a metal cover on our water tank, and SMASHED IT.  Yep, it smashed a metal cover.  Into pieces.  Did I mention that it smashed a metal cover?  See?  That could have been my head.

However, now that I look at the list of backyard safety issues, I guess I better turn my attention to the mosquitoes breeding in our septic tank.  Or my barefooted children, unattended dogs, un-fenced play area, zip line, un-netted trampoline, or the large pit of burning trash.  

But hey, at least no one will die by a falling coconut.

For those of you non-tropics dwellers, those hairy brown things in the grocery store do not actually start out like that.  Coconuts have a three inch deep husk.  Like I said:  The force of a metric ton.

Comin' down.

Skills, People.


The tree cutter.  He asked me to take his picture; he was pretty proud of himself.

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