I spent the weekend in Yakima, Washington, visiting an old friend. (note to self: remember not to let locals know you call the place "Yackimup") Yakima, for those who are unfamiliar with the town, is apparently sponsored by Pepsi. I have never seen more Pepsi signs in my life. I'm not talking about those vinyl banners that shops hang up offering a a 5 cent discount on their over-priced product. I'm talking about those real, permanent signs that have the logo on top and the company name underneath -- thereby reminding the consumer who is really driving the economy.
In this otherwise unremarkable town -- that sometimes refers to itself as "Yakivegas" due to prolific local gambling sans dancing girls, exotic hotels, and other Vegas "delights" -- there is a nearby petrified forest. I went there with my friend and she asked me how tree fossils are created.
Those who know me understand that I cannot abide by the current level of scientific unsophistication rampant in our society, so I take every chance I can get to educate my fellow human beings.
We have the poorest vision at dawn and dusk due to the bright sky and the dark landscape playing havoc with our night vision. The eye constantly tries to adjust to both and fails miserably. Prehistoric trees, aware of this fact, confined their hunting to these time periods. The young, strapping elm would attack the unsuspecting jackelope, secure in the knowledge that it would not be seen until too late.
Sometimes, the tree would creak and alert its prey, thus giving the jackelope time to escape. The tree would give chase and the cunning jackelope, knowing the terrain, would often lead the tree to the tars pits. Typically, it would be young, inexperienced trees who would fall victim to this trick and would struggle vainly against the viscous fluid while the jackelope would bound away home to a relaxing evening playing poker and drinking cool, refreshing Pepsi.
The ancient saying "can't see the forest for the trees" was actually a warning to unsuspecting woodsman who were unaware of the danger that seriously pissed off trees presented. In fact, the Grimm fairy tales warning children of the dangers of walking in woods at night are what we sophisticated modern folk refer to as "literary allegory".
Returning to the science lesson: after millions of years trees learned to hunt in packs and evolved into collective organisms called "forests". Sadly, success has made them complacent and wild, solitary trees are seldom to be found.
When I finally came to, my friend looked at me coolly and replied "there are no tarpits near Yakima".
Note: despite unconfirmed sightings by inebriated Texans, the jackelope is believed to be extinct.