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"Man Vs. Tree. (Spoiler alert: the tree wins.)"
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Estee 55195 desperate attention whore postings
DAW Level: "Playboy Centerfold"

02-20-13, 02:30 PM (EST)
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"Man Vs. Tree. (Spoiler alert: the tree wins.)"
LAST EDITED ON 02-20-13 AT 04:10 PM (EST)

There is nothing to see when you're stuck in traffic.

At night, you have the lights of the car in front of you, the glare from the one behind as it flashes high beams in the delusion that photons will shift your mass, and darkness to the sides. Or more cars, which isn't an improvement. Sometimes you look at those same things for hours. I'm convinced the electronic billboard was invented by someone who regularly takes the Belt, just from desire to shift the view. It's amazing that no one's taken it to full-scale movie trailers and TV show previews.

The main improvement during daylight is being able to spot the exact finger gestures.

Stuck -- but in an urban environment. It's a logical extension of GPS systems and live guide-arounds: two thousand people get the news of the backup plus how to use the Secret Shortcut to get around it at the same time, all of them use the Secret Shortcut, and said Secret Shortcut has just enough natural traffic flow to handle fifty vehicles. Throw in stoplights, turning cars, and school bus stops -- the recipe for disaster is complete, with no skipped steps. I've been on this block for twenty minutes and advanced one car length. My new car doesn't seem to mind yet. This comes from lack of experience.

But at least there's people to watch, if only a few: it's too cold for that many to be navigating the sidewalks. Most of those self-chosen few are in the road. This area features a gas station right next to a few homes whose lawn decor I've just about got memorized, and the gas station is hosting a one-day business. I don't know if this is something which only happens in and around large cities on holidays, the tendency to claim a hundred and fifty square feet of fuel lot and hang flower & teddy bear arrangements all over it. Fake flowers, cheap. Ill-made bears, dollar store scavenge priced at 1700% markup. Valentine's Daysperation stands, for when the 24-hour drugstore chain finally runs out of candy. The last resort of those about to have their gift thrown at them. This one hedges out most of the sidewalk, and those who can't get by on a five-inch strip step onto blacktop. It's not as if there's any risk.

The stand isn't doing well: it almost can't in this traffic, as cars can't quickly approach the gas station and hedging out can be an all-day affair. And they can't really rely on foot traffic. It's had all of five customers as I've watched for lack of anything else to do, and this approaching man is not going to be number six. Call him early twenties (and a 'just barely'), hair shaved close to the skull, a blue coat with the hood down on a cold day because he wants people to see his face, his sort-of hair, his attitude radiating several feet from the actual body. He's weaving a little, and that's on the clear patch of the approach. I'm guessing him as one of those who steps off the sidewalk into oncoming traffic because he thinks your having to swerve to avoid killing him represents power. There's more than a few of those in the area, and sooner or later, many of them find the wrong car. (Try to imagine what they're like in a social setting.)

No, this one will not be buying his girlfriend a last-minute present, or any present at all, because his existence in her life is all any women could ever want, except for his child, which will make him move onto the next girlfriend...

I have been in this traffic jam for so long that I'm either starting to judge on first sight (which I despise when people do to me) or I'm scripting him as a character. Either way, I still expect him to step into the road with the others -- but since the cars aren't moving, he'll just go between them and slap mirrors...

...wrong. He swerve-weaves the other way, skirting the edge of the bear-draped tent and its fuzzy wind chimes, bringing him onto the lawn of the neighboring house.

Oh, and right into the tree.

Understand: this was, at best, a glancing blow. This is one of those trees which really doesn't have that wide of a main trunk -- I think he could just about place his arms around it if there were no witnesses and no one within fifty miles could call him a tree hugger -- and the branches start low, spread fast, and get very narrow at the end as they separate into dozens of fingerlings to anchor future leaves. All that happened was that a few of those tiny far ends scratched against his face for a second: a little close to one eye, but no harm done. Most of us shrug it off, a few adjust makeup.

He curses. This is still in the realm of natural reaction: I don't think he ever saw the tree and when you're startled, vocabulary goes south. And sure, the cursing goes on well beyond a single surprised exclamation, but it was a little close to one eye and getting poked could have been bad. When he started addressing the tree by names usually reserved for humans, cats, and female body parts... well, okay, it's a little farther than usual, but...

I really wasn't expecting him to hit the trunk.

And when I say 'hit', I mean 'with his fist'.

Now when a man hits a tree -- well, this tree was relatively smooth-barked and didn't have spine-covered creepers parasiting on it, so splinters and slashes were out of the question. But the fact remains that he's just aimed his hand directly at wood, then brought the two together at full speed. The wood is going to get the best of it.

He jumps back, howling as he flutters his hand, that loose-boned flopping which makes it blur past the wrist and sends drops of blood flying in random directions. The scant pedestrians in the immediate vicinity see this and -- accelerate. This is not their affair, nor do they want to take a chance that it becomes so. I can't see what the stand operator is doing beyond raising his prices again. The cars are stuck.

So now he has a bleeding hand: split skin, probably stitches, could easily be bruised or broken bones. We started with, at most, a light scratch to the face. It's probably time to cut losses and leave.

Which he does -- to the next lawn over.

I do have the decor memorized. This lawn has what in summer is probably a very nice flower garden, bordered off from the normal grass by carefully-laid paving bricks. He grabs one --

-- no, he doesn't: that was the injured hand. Another howl, and he drops the brick.

On his foot.

Again, this started with the lightest of scratches to the skin. Possibly not even that.

Once the screaming and hopping around stops, he finally decides this is a momentary setback and goes for the brick again, this time using his off-hand. It is then slung at the tree trunk sidearm and misses it by a good five feet or so to the left. At a guess, he decides the problem is range, gets another brick, moves closer, and throws again. The miss goes a little farther this time, and if he keeps closing the distance, he's at risk of braining someone in the gas station lot: look, honey, I got you a last-minute emergency room bill! And I wish this jam would clear, because if his throws really go astray, we all have windshields and mine is new, along with everything else.

Traffic does not move.

He is developing a routine. Get brick. Limp closer to the tree. Throw brick. Miss. Limp back to the garden. Repeat, ranging closer to the tree each time. Many of the bricks are now on the wrong lawn. Isn't anyone home? Are they huddled inside, calling the police? Is anyone on their phone in another car doing the same? Instagram? Hey, who's uploading the video? Possibly no one. I can't be the only one watching, though. Can I?

The last brick misses from three feet and does skid up to the edge of the one-day ripoff, where it nudges a tent pole.

Probably the thing to do here, for the revenge-obsessed man on the stopped march, is grab one of the bricks and ram it into the trunk by hand. Or just break off the offending branch: I'm amazed that wasn't tried. But this is not for our hero. Not for him the conquering of weak outlying forces. He wants the heart. And so he departs from bricks and goes back to physical force, kicking the trunk.

Well, he did manage to hit it.

Guess which foot.

This, I think, is the one which jarred his brain into gear. Verbal interplay has led to a net of zilch. Ranged weapons are clearly not working. (I know he doesn't have a gun. The tree would have been shot on Round One.) Direct physical attacks are only having an effect on him. Therefore, he must go to the next weapon in his arsenal.

It takes me a few seconds to understand what this weapon is, mostly because I am now watching him kick off his shoes (with attendant cursing on that one foot). The fascination with that activity is brief, mostly because it's quickly overtaken by wondering why on Earth he's removing his pants.

The underwear quickly follows. (Briefs. The sort of white you'd expect when your idea of doing laundry is waiting two years and then buying a fresh package. Some details stick in the mind.)

So clearly he can only be up to one thing here: he's going to get revenge on the tree by urinating on it. (I did, for a split-second only, wonder if he was going to try -- well, there were no knotholes.) But this would just involve pulling pants and underwear down, right? Not off. And by the way, there is honking now from some of the cars, although that might be directed at the cars in front of them. I'm not looking around to check the spectator count. No blinds are moving on the windows of that house. No one is stopping him. You don't interfere with this unless you want to take a chance to being treated as a tree. His pants, shoes, socks, and let's not forget the underwear are discarded among the bricks.

He does not grasp himself and aim. He -- grabs the tree. And climbs.

Oh, right... can't do that with your pants around your ankles...

It is not an easy climb. He is not that coordinated (as proven) and is using an injured foot and hand, plus his lower body is scrapping wood in a way which has to exceed the original kinda-injury. The branches are not that wide at their bases. But he is making some progress and he's not going that high up. Maybe twelve feet.

I dearly wish traffic would move already.

And when he reaches his personally-chosen apex -- he gets between branches and trunk, as best he can. He tries to arrange his bare feet on a perch which really isn't suited for the purpose. And then -- he tries to squat.

There is just enough time to realize what he's up to. He wants to fully debase the tree. He's out to shame it beyond all recovery. This tree will be thrown out of its tree peer group and laughed at forever behind its trunk, if the trunk has a behind. He certainly does, and it's getting lower, with his facial expression one of total concentration. He is going to --

-- well, realistically, he's going to add a touch of fertilizer, but do you want to be the one who tells him?

This is not easy. Well, the positioning isn't. The upcoming act itself has much of his focus, and he has to be very careful about lining up a squat when his feet aren't spread, they're basically one in front of the other on a bad resting place and --

-- the good news, although I'm not sure anyone ever managed to explain it to him, is that he wasn't up that high. It was still enough space for his body to twist during the fall, looking much like a concussed cat, so that his head somehow wound up pointing somewhat away from the trunk and --

-- well... remember all those bricks?

So if you're still keeping count: that's one maybe-barely scratched face, one foot at least bruised with an outside chance at broken toes, definitively split skin on the one hand and breaks are more likely there, and now we add impact to the back (across a few bricks) and the rear of the skull (visibly bounced once).

He started to get up. I think he was trying to get up. One hand was reaching for a brick, and maybe closing his grip around it was just to push himself into a sitting position...

And that's when traffic started to move.

My last view in the mirror showed him sloped at about forty-five degrees. He was definitively bleeding from the back of his head: I could see the stain on the jacket.

He was bringing the brick back for the next throw.

I waited nearly a week to post this because I was convinced someone had gotten video...


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  Table of Contents

  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
 RE: Man Vs. Tree. (Spoiler alert: ... Ottawa Girl 02-20-13 1
   RE: Man Vs. Tree. (Spoiler alert: ... cahaya 02-20-13 2
   RE: Man Vs. Tree. (Spoiler alert: ... dabo 02-20-13 9
       RE: Man Vs. Tree. (Spoiler alert: ... Ottawa Girl 02-21-13 18
           For Ottawa Girl kidflash212 02-23-13 21
               RE: For Ottawa Girl Ottawa Girl 02-23-13 23
 I hereby nominate him moonbaby 02-20-13 3
   RE: I hereby nominate him Estee 02-20-13 4
 RE: Man Vs. Tree. (Spoiler alert: ... Estee 02-20-13 5
 RE: Man Vs. Tree. (Spoiler alert: ... kingfish 02-20-13 6
   RE: Man Vs. Tree. (Spoiler alert: ... cahaya 02-20-13 7
       RE: Man Vs. Tree. (Spoiler alert: ... Estee 02-20-13 8
           RE: Man Vs. Tree. (Spoiler alert: ... cahaya 02-21-13 20
 RE: Man Vs. Tree. (Spoiler alert: ... Snidget 02-20-13 10
   RE: Man Vs. Tree. (Spoiler alert: ... kingfish 02-20-13 11
       RE: Man Vs. Tree. (Spoiler alert: ... Estee 02-20-13 12
           RE: Man Vs. Tree. (Spoiler alert: ... kingfish 02-21-13 17
   RE: Man Vs. Tree. (Spoiler alert: ... PepeLePew13 02-20-13 13
       Wait. Estee 02-20-13 14
           RE: Wait. cahaya 02-20-13 15
               RE: Wait. Estee 02-20-13 16
 RE: Man Vs. Tree. (Spoiler alert: ... suzzee 02-21-13 19
 RE: Man Vs. Tree. (Spoiler alert: ... kidflash212 02-23-13 22
   RE: Man Vs. Tree. (Spoiler alert: ... cahaya 02-24-13 24

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Ottawa Girl 19 desperate attention whore postings
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02-20-13, 03:38 PM (EST)
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1. "RE: Man Vs. Tree. (Spoiler alert: the tree wins.)"
Long long long time lurker. Couldn't resist your story and had to write to thank you for the visual. Made my day.
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cahaya 18904 desperate attention whore postings
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02-20-13, 03:59 PM (EST)
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2. "RE: Man Vs. Tree. (Spoiler alert: the tree wins.)"
Welcome to the boards here, Ottawa Girl!

I'll see if I can't find a vid or pic of this somewhere, since Estee waited a whole week to post it!

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dabo 25344 desperate attention whore postings
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02-20-13, 07:51 PM (EST)
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9. "RE: Man Vs. Tree. (Spoiler alert: the tree wins.)"
Welcome to OT, Ottawa Girl.
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Ottawa Girl 19 desperate attention whore postings
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02-21-13, 02:33 PM (EST)
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18. "RE: Man Vs. Tree. (Spoiler alert: the tree wins.)"
Wow, a nod from Cahaya, Dabo AND Kingfish. "Thanks for the warm welcome" she whispers while peeking from around the corner.
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kidflash212 3854 desperate attention whore postings
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02-23-13, 11:44 AM (EST)
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21. "For Ottawa Girl"
Don't mind the dust


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Ottawa Girl 19 desperate attention whore postings
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02-23-13, 11:51 PM (EST)
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23. "RE: For Ottawa Girl"
Thanks Kid. Made me smile.
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moonbaby 17013 desperate attention whore postings
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02-20-13, 04:09 PM (EST)
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3. "I hereby nominate him"
for a Darwin Award. It's just a matter of time.
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Estee 55195 desperate attention whore postings
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02-20-13, 04:26 PM (EST)
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4. "RE: I hereby nominate him"
You could get some betting odds: the circle is divided on whether this was a demonstration of anger management issues Dr. Fullofhimself would make you pay your own airfare for, a visit to the Wacky World Of Mental Illness, or someone in the middle of the kind of truly outstanding pharmaceutical experience you can only pick up in the finest back alleys. But no matter where you place your money on the sub-bet, the big wheel stands a good chance to come up Took On Someone Who Could Move.

Personally, I'd lean towards drugged -- but that's based on the weaving walk he was displaying before he reached the tree. I can't commit to it because -- isn't that level of KILL EVERYTHING! supposed to come with complete immunity to pain?

Maybe it was a lower-quality back alley.

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Estee 55195 desperate attention whore postings
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02-20-13, 04:33 PM (EST)
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5. "RE: Man Vs. Tree. (Spoiler alert: the tree wins.)"
Behold, for the fertilizer hath brought forth a new sprout!
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kingfish 16088 desperate attention whore postings
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02-20-13, 04:48 PM (EST)
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6. "RE: Man Vs. Tree. (Spoiler alert: the tree wins.)"
First, welcome Ottawa Girl, and congrats to Estee for a story that lures from lurkerland.

Second, glad to hear that your Super Storm Sandy damaged car was fixed/replaced, and that you are mobile. Being immobile in traffic is the other side of that coin.

Third, yeah, the visuals.

Fourth, something tells me that this kid's head has been taking a beating from rocks and bricks and other hard objects for a long time.

Finally, Good to know that you're not texting and driving, although it's just possible that composing is also risky. Oh well, you were stationary.

Finally #2, Great story.

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cahaya 18904 desperate attention whore postings
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02-20-13, 07:24 PM (EST)
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7. "RE: Man Vs. Tree. (Spoiler alert: the tree wins.)"
It's sad, actually, that someone so young (and younger) can be in this state. It's as though he was on anesthetics, both drug-induced and life experience induced.

The visuals and the pain, except that there seemed to be no pain.

If there is any solace in this, it's that he did it to himself (and the highly resilient tree) than to inflict it upon other people around him, including those people observing him and writing a story about him.

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Estee 55195 desperate attention whore postings
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02-20-13, 07:46 PM (EST)
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8. "RE: Man Vs. Tree. (Spoiler alert: the tree wins.)"
There's extra sadness in that no one -- including myself -- stopped him. I know why I didn't: because he was throwing bricks and aiming blows. Trying to talk someone down in that kind of state usually gets you a brick, a punch/kick, or both. It's hard enough with someone you know: doing it with a complete stranger can be seen as begging for a switch of target -- in the eyes of the stranger. There are times to offer words of wisdom and comfort, and there are times to stay way back. But that knowledge doesn't always ease any potential guilt.

(Still, a lot of people in the course of history may have their last words as some form of "I know I can get him to put that down.")

And there's this: we're trained to treat a certain degree of insanity as background noise. How many homeless people do I have panhandling me by calling me friend and sweetheart and dear as I approach and screaming insults when I pass, per diem? I don't keep count -- not any more.

Recently in NYC, we've had incidents of mentally ill people shoving people in front of oncoming subway trains. There have been fatalities and a call to get those with disorders off the streets. But there's also been interviews with regular riders, and what do some of them say? That they're aware of the ranting and mumbling around them, always make sure they're a good distance away from the edge just in case. As part of a daily routine. The madness is scheduled from 7:45 to 7:52 a.m: don't be late. Go ahead and be as crazy as you need to be -- as long as it affects no one else.

Did anyone call the police? I can tell you why I didn't: the traffic jam. Frozen streets for who knew how far out and just about nowhere to pull over to: good luck getting them on the scene in less than forty minutes, and surely he was going to stop. 911 Emergency, Please Hold, Too Late. I don't know if anyone called an ambulance either.

I wonder if he takes the subway.

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cahaya 18904 desperate attention whore postings
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02-21-13, 11:40 PM (EST)
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20. "RE: Man Vs. Tree. (Spoiler alert: the tree wins.)"
I wonder if he takes the subway.

From my visit:

http://community.realitytvworld.com/cgi-sys/cgiwrap/rtvw2/community/dcboard.cgi?az=show_thread&om=36586&forum=DCForumID6&archive=yes#33

There were a couple of occasions, though, that raised eyebrows. One time a guy came on at a subway stop, marched through the car shouting that he has no job and no money and since our money doesn't follow us into the next world, we should give it to him. Obviously, he wasn't "all there" and thankfully he wasn't violent although his voice dripped with anger. When in doubt, do as the locals do, which is ignore him. But these kind of events were rare and given all the moving around we did, it didn't surprise us. We've seen similar situations in other cities in the world that we have visited. All in all, we've found it easy to make acquaintances with people here.

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Snidget 43862 desperate attention whore postings
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02-20-13, 08:10 PM (EST)
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10. "RE: Man Vs. Tree. (Spoiler alert: the tree wins.)"
Usually, the tree wins. Even when human car encasing it.

Me and a horse had a disagreement about which side of the tree the horse was going to go.

I said go over the jump between the two trees, you'll like the jump, the jump is fun.

Horse wasn't having any of it.

The tree won.

My nose was rather the worse for it and being told to put the scraped end of it down on the table was less than amusing. The amazing part was we found the lens that popped out of my glasses in the tall grass and it was fine.

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kingfish 16088 desperate attention whore postings
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02-20-13, 08:28 PM (EST)
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11. "RE: Man Vs. Tree. (Spoiler alert: the tree wins.)"
LAST EDITED ON 02-20-13 AT 08:33 PM (EST)

Very interesting. Coincidentally I, a horse, and a tree had a similar disagreement. I was in grade school (5th grade, I think) and decided that I'd try and ride a horse (bare backed, no reins, without owner permission) that I passed every day on the walk home from school.

The tree won here too, as did the horse who bolted as soon as I got on. I finished the walk home bruised and missing one lens from my glasses. I was stunned (it was a face to tree trunk as I was thrown disagreement) and the missing lens did not help with my orientation. My brother (on whose dare I was acting) led me home, and said afterward that I was mumbling incoherently.

Small world, eh?

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Estee 55195 desperate attention whore postings
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02-20-13, 08:40 PM (EST)
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12. "RE: Man Vs. Tree. (Spoiler alert: the tree wins.)"
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ThisExplainsSoMuch
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kingfish 16088 desperate attention whore postings
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02-21-13, 02:21 PM (EST)
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17. "RE: Man Vs. Tree. (Spoiler alert: the tree wins.)"
Bellieping aslddle, inglive flobble.
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PepeLePew13 24731 desperate attention whore postings
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02-20-13, 08:49 PM (EST)
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13. "RE: Man Vs. Tree. (Spoiler alert: the tree wins.)"
I've had a friend (a very drunk one, mind you) decide that a tree was some football player attempting to break a long run and that he had to stop it somehow.

Yes, the tree won (and scored a touchdown). Yes, I ended up having to carry him back to the dorm on my shoulder. Yes, I had to wrap a towel around his head so his nose and forehead wouldn't stain the couch.

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Estee 55195 desperate attention whore postings
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02-20-13, 08:51 PM (EST)
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14. "Wait."
How did the tree break the plane of the goal?
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cahaya 18904 desperate attention whore postings
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02-20-13, 10:50 PM (EST)
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15. "RE: Wait."
What else but a pass to Deion Branch?
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Estee 55195 desperate attention whore postings
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02-20-13, 10:53 PM (EST)
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16. "RE: Wait."
They're casting the movie version. I vote for Elijah Wood.
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suzzee 4956 desperate attention whore postings
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02-21-13, 04:52 PM (EST)
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19. "RE: Man Vs. Tree. (Spoiler alert: the tree wins.)"
Oh first the Hawkeye 10 over in Survivor boards now I get to this, you made my day Estee.

I think that guy was another Hantz relative, probably. Any tatoos, snakes, Hantz's or tribal markings?

Hi Ottawa Girl, welcome to OT.


I should be watched....closely.

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kidflash212 3854 desperate attention whore postings
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02-23-13, 11:58 AM (EST)
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22. "RE: Man Vs. Tree. (Spoiler alert: the tree wins.)"
At least it appears he wasn't smart enough to realize there was a gas station nearby and wood burns.
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cahaya 18904 desperate attention whore postings
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02-24-13, 02:44 AM (EST)
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24. "RE: Man Vs. Tree. (Spoiler alert: the tree wins.)"
LAST EDITED ON 02-24-13 AT 03:00 AM (EST)

Oh, gosh, let's not go there. First, grabbing a hose someone left running into the tank while they're getting their 99 cent coffee, he'll spill the gas all over himself. Then he can't light the match and he walks into the store to Flic a Bic. And then he becomes an immolated Buddhist monk dancing on the streets. The nearby kiosk goes up in flames and the tree still stands.

In the movies, the gas station goes with him in one big fireball, flipping cars in the explosion. Oh, well, so much for this gas stop.

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