by Jeff Goode
POONA THE FUCKDOG AND OTHER PLAYS FOR CHILDREN BY JEFF GOODE IS
COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL AND MAY NOT BE PERFORMED, DOWNLOADED OR
RETRANSMITTED WITHOUT THE AUTHOR'S PERMISSION.
When I was in shrub school, one of my professors, a withered old bush with gnarly arms like a
Japanese bonsai, stood in front of the class and asked us:
"Why shrubbery?" "What is the role of the shrub in society?"
Well, we were all idealistic young seedlings, and at that question, a dozen branches shot up. And
we began shouting our answers. One young fir wanted to "challenge" his audience. Another
thought shrubbery should educate.
But I had them all beat, because I wanted to change the world. I wanted people to walk into a
garden where I was playing a hedge, and walk out of that garden ready to grab injustice in their
fists and crush it into dust.
But before I could speak, the teacher suddenly cut us off. Not literally. He cut us off, and he
said: "The role of the shrub is to enlighten. That is the most you can do.
Nobody ever came out of an orchard a new man. Nobody ever looked at a beautiful landscape
and felt compelled to overthrow a government. Or write a law. Or write a letter."
The old bush folded his limbs across his trunk, and smiled at us, "Enlighten, my children."
That day changed my life. Because I look at all the gardens around me - professional gardens! -
and I realize... he was right. Here was one of the great shrubs of his day. A bush who had
worked with Ming Cho Lee!! And he never changed the world. The great
shrubs of our day never changed the world.
Because they never even tried.
Because they sit with their limbs folded across, saying:
"Enlighten, my children. And someday you can aspire to be as great as the grizzled old growth
who squats before you. Enlighten, and you, too, may blossom into a very reputable stump. With
And I said, "Fuck this fertilizer!"
I will change the world.
I will prune myself until people look at me. And die.
They will look at me. And find God.
They will look at me. And walk out of that garden and down the block and rush into a burning
building to save a child.
And some of them will look at me and write a letter. Or write a law. Or plant a tree.
And if I fail. If it is impossible.
Well, flying was impossible. But somebody had to put wings on that bicycle.
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