Dangerous Job


I need to be wearing leather from head to toe, with a motorcycle helmet for protection.

But, I can’t because I don’t have any of that, and it’s 90F.  Working in that heat and being completely covered up would kill me.

Instead, I’m pruning our palm trees very, very slowly and carefully.

Before I knew any better, I thought palms were soft fuzzy things.  I now know only the leafy tips are soft.  The branches are lined with razor sharp, skin piercing, thorns.  You can’t imagine how sharp until you look to discover a 6lb branch hooked into your arm, or leg.  They are so sharp, you don’t feel them going in, just the sudden weight of the branch lets you know there’s something amiss.

PalmThornSo, carefully, one by one, I chop off a branch, control its fall (so it does not fall against me), un-hook myself from the other branches that magically snag my clothes and hat, carefully lift and carry it to the pile (you can rip your legs open if you carry the branch close to your body), then return to carefully chop the next one off.

I can do a tree in about 2 hours; a total of 30-40 branches.

Then, I have to bundle up the pile and get it to the curb.

That’s the afternoon’s work.  It involves plywood, leather welding gloves, miles of string, and concentration.  One moment of lapse and your ankles are razored open and you only notice when your shoes get soppy with blood.

I’ve tried to hire the job out, people show up, see the work, and never come back…

Because, they know.


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