SHORT: DEATH BY PINE CONE

We’ve all felt the bliss of a warm, not hot, sunny day outside and lay down for a nap, maybe under a tree. Somebody perched ninety-feet up in that tree then drops a 16 pound bowling ball on your head. Probably not that second part, but that’s exactly what happened to Sean Mace in San Francisco’s Maritime Historic Park, except it was a pine cone instead of a bowling ball.

Sean was napping under a tree that shouldn’t have been there in the first place. The Bunya Tree is indigenous to Australia. Australia, with so many unusual ways to die, that each day is a dance of Russian roulette in reverse with one empty chamber.

The Bunyan is a big tree with big nuts. People have been reportedly killed from cone fall. Drop one of these mothers from 90 feet up and at the very least it will do major brain damage, which it did to Sean. Luckily it was a glancing blow. He sued The Department of the Interior for five million for neglecting to post warnings about falling cones and failing to remove the cones from the trees, like they do to Bunyan trees in Australia.

Wrong place wrong time moments like these are always puzzling. If it’s God’s humor, he’s sick. If it’s some kind of Divine judgment, well, that’s just fucked up. Can we be honest about it? If such unfortunate life lottery moments are indeed some kind of heavenly retribution, then it’s fair to ask what the hell?

“I guess he had it coming,” said the kid in Unforgiven.

“We all got it coming kid,” said Clint Eastwood’s character back.

What is it that merits a lightning bolt, stubbed toe, cancer, or pine cone strike? We have no clue and shouldn’t make one up. Punishment disconnected from the crime is no justice or deterrent, just tyrannical brutality. But the Divine always moves towards inclusion and embrace, always. Not exclusion and harm. Be careful here. How a person sees God says more about them than God.

And if you do happen to be picnicking down under make sure to look up yonder. Or if you do get killed down there, try to do it respectably by a snake, shark, or pack of dingoes.

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