Yaupon Conspiracy Theory

A condominium complex is much like a tin of sardines each wearing a teeny tiny cowboy outfit and spurs. That's right. Closely packed eccentrics with the shoewear to be very irritating.

My condo complex is currently embroiled in the Rottweiler-Pruning scandal, as I learned while going door-to-door with the recycling program leaflets. Some condo owners allege that when they complained about a large dog leaving sizable unscooped deposits around their shrubs, the dog-owner retaliated by ordering a "hatchet job" of bad pruning on the aforementioned yaupon shrubs. The dog owner is alleged to be a member of the powerful Landscape Committee mob family. The Rottweiler poop victims also believe Neo-Nazis may be involved in espionage.

Whatever you do, don't make the mistake of attempting to explain that the Landscape Committee is not recognized by the bylaws of the condo owners association or the management company and has no authority to make personal requests to the landscape company employees, let alone order hits. Do not, I repeat, do not suggest to anyone that the shrubs might have been pruned because they hung way out over the sidewalk. Don't suggest "getting over it and moving on because it will grow back" [just hum "I'm Gonna Wash That Poop Right Off of My Shoe" to yourself] unless you want to experience counter-retaliation. AND, be exceedingly careful not to step in that Rottweiler mess the size of a cow patty! That would smell just like the Iran-Contra Affair.

This is a yaupon [ilex vomitoria] that has not received a retaliatory "hatchet job", at least not yet. Yaupons are ridiculous looking on their best day. Small ones look like they have been styled by Fifi's Poodle Grooming. Large ones look like the mythical ostrich with its head buried in the sand. Contrary to popular opinion neither ostriches nor poodles bury their heads in the sand. They just lay their heads against the sand in sadness and nausea about the appearance of the shrubs outside their condominiums.

Yaupons do have red berries that birds feast on in the winter. I don't have the energy to report on recent intensifications of hostilities between the bird-feeding owners and the owners who allege that little birdie's dirty feet are scratching the finish on their cars. I kid you not. I'm expecting to hear reports of greasy grimy gopher guts on doorknobs, and all-purpose porpoise pus being left on leather car upholstery sitting out in the hot Texas sun.

Yaupon holly's official name reminds me of my high school Greco-Roman History teacher. She loved the shock value of teaching about "vomitorium":

1754, "passage or opening in an ancient amphitheater, leading to or from the seats," from L. (Macrobius, Sat., VI.iv); see vomit. Erroneous meaning "place where ancient Romans (allegedly) deliberately vomited during feasts" is attested from 1923.

My son conveniently took these vomitorium photos in Rome last weekend:

I'm giving my stomach a few days to settle before I venture back out into the lion's den with my recycling pamphlets. Just look at those pruning shears laughing their diabolical laugh!

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