By Johnny Beaver
Corvallis, like all modern American cities, has its share of nightmares. Between waking up too late to get a parking spot at the farmers’ market to the lack of 24-hour fast food establishments and an epidemic of transients (also known as like, five dudes), it’s the thug life for us all. I roll as thuggyishly as anyone, but even I wasn’t ready for this shocking revelation: there’s a tree… in the downtown dog park… that drops thousands upon thousands of chestnuts… that can kill dogs. I mean, they don’t all rise up and pull out knives or anything. But if a dog eats one, it is likely to crap hard and die. And if you eat one, you’re likely to crap hard and drive to the hospital, and I sort of feel like you wouldn’t want to explain that.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the horse chestnut (or buckeye) contains a poison that can cause “Severe vomiting and diarrhea, depression or excitement, dilated pupils, coma, convulsions, wobbly” in dogs, cats, horses, and more. I’m not really sure what “wobbly” is, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. They are the experts, after all. Now despite these, shall we say, downsides… the horse chestnut has many medical uses, including the treatment of hemorrhoids, promoting healthy circulation, and a whole laundry list of other fun stuff. It doesn’t matter that the only studies that have found a true medical use for the little goobers are those involving venous insufficiency, because the Internet, your local homeopath/naturopath/holistocologist, and Natural Grocers’ bookshelf says so.
By the way, if you take a horse chestnut supplement, you might start itching, barf, and crap yourself at the same time, possibly sideways.
So, back to the dog park. There’s this big poisonous tree, perched like a ball-spewing spiteful gargoyle of your little furry friends, and the solution (instead of, you know, getting rid of it) is to put a bucket out with a sign that says (and I paraphrase here): “Hey folks. See these? Pretty poisonous, yep. Put them in the bucket. Or else, mostly.”
Wait a second. It’s not a rare tree. It’s great for bonsai, but this one is obviously WAY too big. They’ve erected it in a circumstance so hilariously ironic that no one would think twice about actually chainsawing the damn thing… great Scott! You do see what’s going on here, right? The City is tricking Corvallisites into harvesting and packaging horse chestnuts to be squashed into pills, creams, elixirs, and involuntary laxatives. And it’ll all be certified organic! There’s only one thing left to do that makes sense in Corvallis. We must form a committee and work hard for the next six months. You know, deciding where to have a meeting.