Friday, October 21, 2011

Are You Talking to Me?

A few years ago if you were to stroll by the First Baptist Church in town a sunny Saturday afternoon, you might see two older white-haired gentlemen in dirt-stained baggy slacks, un-tucked shirts, doing simple landscape maintenance around the church grounds. One might easily take them for a couple of homeless men; possibly earning a nights meal in exchange for manual labor around the church.

In fact on this day, as the younger of the two elderly men was flinging fertilizer pellets from a coffee can over the lawn and shrub beds, a nicely dressed gentleman walking by the church stopped to watch. Then man then addressed the two older gardeners in a condescending manner, admonishing them: “You guys shouldn’t be putting that stuff on that lawn.”

Stopping their work, the man continued lecturing the two older groundskeepers, “You shouldn’t be putting harmful chemicals on the lawn; you should be using ‘Natural’ fertilizers instead.”

The two older landscape workers smiled and took off their worn work gloves; holding the coffee can to the face of their self-appointed Sidewalk Supervisor, one of them spoke: “This can contains Carbamide, a synthetic combination of ammonia and carbon dioxide, a Nitrogen fertilizer more commonly known as Urea. Mister, if there’s anything more ‘natural’ than Urea, please correct me!”

Sharing a smile between them the two old men in soiled clothes turned away from the man and went back to their work on the church landscaping. They were Dr. Melvin Westwood and Dr. Albert Roberts, both highly published research scientist and distinguished professors of Agriculture at Oregon State University.

24 comments:

DJan said...

What a cool story! Yep, that's pretty natural, all right...

Infidel753 said...

I can't think of anyplace more appropriate than a church for flinging natural fertilizer around. But surely such distinguished scientists had better uses for their time?

Cognitive Dissenter said...

I love this story.

Paul said...

Touche for the geezers !! :-)

Robert the Skeptic said...

DJan It's still "processed" but easier to apply in that form rather than direct from the 'source', obviously.

Infidel This is an issue I've had with Mel for years, reconciling his religious belief with his science. For years he taught Sunday School at the church trying to instill that belief in Biological Evolution does not contradict belief and that the Bible cannot be interpreted literally; it is not a science book. Still he believes he will see his deceased parents when he dies. At age 88, he's not going to change. [shrugs]

Dissenter It is cute.

Paul There's a guy I see walking around downtown occasionally; long hair, scraggly beard and wrinkled clothes. He looks like he's on the way to the soup kitchen. He's actually a retired Mathematics professor from OSU. Really, one just cannot judge by appearances.

adrielleroyale said...

Yup, if you don't know the whole story, ya ought-ta keep your mouth shut til you do :)

Antares Cryptos said...

Nice anecdote.
Same molecular structure after all.

Paul said...

On that we agree Robert...:-)

secret agent woman said...

What strikes me most about this story is that the passerby would be critical to strangers. And why wouldn't you first ask what it was they were using before you assumed it was toxic. What presumption.

Sightings said...

Hee Hee! What you see is not always what you get!

Robert the Skeptic said...

Adrielle Good advice for politicians as well!

Cryptos Almost like the hoopla over "natural" Vitamins. Been through THAT one before myself!

SecretAgent People are presumptuous, make assumptions based on appearance, and for the most part, don't know what the hell they are talking about.

Sightings Indeed, appearances can be deceiving.

Kay Dennison said...

Gotta love it!!!! Thanks!!!!

Anonymous said...

I want to dump some fertilizer on those drummers of OWS !!

Robert the Skeptic said...

Kay Glad you enjoyed that.

Anonymous I agree, I'd love to see that movement grow bigger as well.

Anne said...

Nice!

Marylinn Kelly said...

So many elements here to celebrate - the generosity of spirit which inspired the volunteer work, the buttinsky confronted with facts...not all is as it appears.

Dawn @Lighten Up! said...

Ha! Sounds like a couple weeks ago, when the hippie admonished me at target for buying cooking spray. Only I am not a professor. Nah...I guess it's not like that at all. Oh well.

KleinsteMotte said...

Guess they took a break on Sunday's from wearing suits and sitting in labs!
What was their faith?

Murr Brewster said...

And all this time I've been discouraging Dave from using the same fertilizer with a different delivery system.

Orhan Kahn said...

Where you been? I hope everything is well.

Robert the Skeptic said...

Orhan, and all Thanks for your concern. Though struggling with some bumps along the road to my recovery, I am overall well. I've simply lost some of my enthusiasm for blogging at the present.

Jayne said...

Great story, Robert! We'll be here when the urge to write returns. ;)

Paul said...

Hang in there friend ... :-)

Nance said...

Had to come over and check on you! Enthusiasm for blogging comes and goes, but the friendships made here are more lasting. Miss you. How about some two-line posts along the order of, "I'm here and I'm fine. Be back when the spirit moves me." (That's a joke, see. The "spirit" moving Robert the Skeptic...oh, never mind.)

The word verification for this comment: "frisms." I've had those.