I have a lemon tree in my backyard. I like it very much. It looks pretty, it smells nice, it provides shade and, best of all, it provides me with free lemons. All in all, it’s a pretty awesome tree. You should be envious.
And yet, as a tree owner in Alameda County, I am apprehensive. Owning a tree in this county can be quite a liability. Based on recent legal precedent, if a smelly hippie were to decide to live in my tree, there’s very little I could do about it. It would apparently be his right to freeload or some such nonsense.
Now, if said hippie were to live peaceably in my tree, to the point where I would not notice his presence, I could live with it. (Note: this would require regular bathing on the part of the hippie, as I do like to open my windows in the summertime and enjoy the cool, cool breeze, lightly scented with lemon.) I mean, squirrels regularly inhabit this tree, and the only one who seems bothered by them is my dog. However, as UC Berkeley has recently seen, this scenario seems unlikely. Hippies are much messier than squirrels, as evidenced by several propane tanks police found on the ground (presumably used to heat their soy-food), as well as ‘an increasing number of excrement and urine spills’ that have occurred.
So what can a tree-owner, such as myself or the University of California, do about the mess? Well, my lemon tree isn’t a very tall one, so I would have little trouble forcibly removing a hippie from its branches — I have a ladder and sharp gardening tools. Still, even though hippies have no money, I’m sure some meddling lawyer would take the hippie’s side, pro bono, and charge me with assault and other such nonsense. I don’t need that kind of trouble. But will the law help me out of my bind? Apparently not. It seems that since such a mess does not constitute an immediate fire or safety hazard, I’d just have to live with it, as UC apparently will have to.
However, if I have friends over for a backyard BBQ, the law will at least allow me to put up a chain-link fence around the tree. You know, for the safety of the hippie. *Awk-ward!* Such a fence should at least keep the hippie from pooping on my guests, although it will hardly drown out the ‘Meat is Murder!’ chants that’ll start once I fire up the grill.
So far, UC is being a pretty good sport about this whole situation. In fact, they’re considering planting 3 new trees for every old one they get rid of. I say: you’d better think twice, UC. Every tree you plant can potentially become no-income housing for smelly hippies that will poop on your land and leave trash everywhere. Not worth the hassle. If you want to beautify the campus, plant rose bushes instead. If you deprive hippies of the ability to freeload, perhaps they’ll be forced to go and get real jobs, bagging groceries at Berkeley Bowl like honest liberals with no salable skills.