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Can Do
by Alex Wyte



I needed a tree surgeon, one of the oak trees near the house was starting to drop branches, there had been too many near-misses.

I called Marty, he has a “can do” attitude.

“I’ll sort that out for you.” He claimed “I’ll be round on Tuesday”.

Tuesday came and so did Marty, complete with orange clothing, ropes, clips and whatnot. He quite looked the part.

He threw a line over the tree, pulled up a rope and started to ascend. As he gained height he seemed to lose confidence, his rate of rise slowed, he kept looking down.

“Are you OK?” I enquired.

“Aye fine.” He replied, somewhat unconvincingly.

He was swinging slowly from side to side, some twenty feet from the ground. If he was going to achieve anything he was going to have to double that height and traverse from the rope to the sloping trunk of the tree.

After a few minutes I thought it best to leave him to his own devices, it’s unpleasant to feel that you are being watched when you are in a difficult situation.

When I returned a few minutes later he was still gently swinging.

“I think you’d better come down.” I said.

“Aye mebbe.” He admitted.

Once on the ground he ruefully packed up his ropes and his clips and trudged back to his van.

His “can do” attitude was completely absent.

“I’ll ask Jack to come and do it.” He stated as he drove off.


Jack turned up the following Monday. It was only when I saw his approach to the job that I realised that Marty wasn’t in the same league.

For Marty, merely climbing the tree had been a daunting task, but for Jack it was just a formality to be completed before the work could begin.

He was up there in a few minutes and the strident sound of the chainsaw rang out around the neighbourhood. Pieces of the proud old oak were dropping to the ground all about the tree as Jack efficiently dissected it.

In less than a day the tree was reduced to a pile of logs, fuel for the stove in a year’s time.

Marty helped me to clear up the mess, “I lost my bottle” he admitted.

I told him not to worry, the job was done and he had facilitated it by getting Jack along.

“You don’t always have to do a job yourself to get it done, part of the skill is in knowing when to call on someone to help.”

“Aye, I guess I can do that.”

“That’s the attitude!” I said.



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