They were portraying the rivalry between Auburn University (my alma mater) and the University of Alabama (demon elephant lovers) and suggesting it was absurdly out of control. What? What do these people know? It's good old fashioned football rivalry fun, that's all! They obviously aren't from the south and don't know how fun tailgating on the lawn
Enter Mr. Harvey Updyke, Jr. Die-hard, obsessed, over-the-top Alabama fan, who (and this is no joke) named his children Bear and Crimson Tyde. He was so raging mad lunatic over the fact that someone put a "Scam Newton" football jersey on his beloved Bear Bryant statue that he decided he'd show those Auburn fans once and for good.
Oh yes sir-ree, he was going to kill those damn trees on Toomer's Corner - ya know, those ones they roll with dat der toilet paper after winnin' a game? Yes, the delightfully fond (albeit environmentally unfriendly) tradition Auburn fans have of rolling the Live Oak trees outside of Toomer's Drug Store after a big win with toilet paper was destined to be a thing of the past, by golly. I mean, how dare they defame the almighty Bear Bryant by slipping a - gasp - removable football jersey over him in jest? It was only fair that the century-old trees were killed - for good - in retaliation.
And then do you know what the stupid SOB did? He bragged about it. It wasn't good enough to gain satisfaction from knowing he'd ended a decades old tradition that many Auburn fans probably cried their eyes out over, he wanted everyone to know he'd done it. And not just his drinking buddies, his cousins, his best friend. Oh no - EVERYONE. He called into the Paul Finebaum Radio Network and bragged about it.
Then, do you know what? He got arrested for it. And then he denied doing it. And then the trees started dying. Hmmmm - odd coincidence. The verdict is still out over what will become of Mr. Harvey Updyke, Jr., or whether the trees will survive the dose of pesticides that has now leaked over 20 feet in diameter around their base. But, he did call into Mr. Finebaum's show again - to "apologize". "I just want to tell the Auburn people that I'm truly sorry for all the damage I've done," he said in the call. "I'm not asking for sympathy. All I'm asking is forgiveness. I want the people that's Christians to understand I've done a lot of good in my life. I've never intentionally hurt anybody ... until this." (Mind you, he is NOT apologizing for poisoning the trees. Oh no, that he still denies. He is sorry that he's become an overnight sensation that people hate and loathe and hold up as the epitome of stupid. He's embarrassed, is what it is.) And then, before hanging up, he had to get in one final quip: "I know this is going to make a lot of people mad, but I just have to say it. Roll Damn Tide." Seriously, Mr. Updyke? You are one - classy - gentleman.
The ESPN show then veered off into the arena of the April 2011 tornadoes that killed nearly 250 Alabamians and devastated the town of Tuscaloosa, home of the University of Alabama. It indicated there may be some hope for this hopelessly insane rivalry, as Auburn fans traveled to help their fellow statesmen in need. But don't get too hopeful - old habits die hard. The show's recap indicated Updyke could get up to 20 years in prison for his actions.
"That poor old guy" my husband said. "Twenty years over poisoning some trees. Seriously?"
Seriously. I hope he does. Because I am an Auburn fan and loved those trees? No. I am an Auburn fan. I do love trees. I think it's a shame this happened. Because - "You can't fix stupid." Because this guy is as big an idiot as they come. Because he has no impulse control. Because if he can get so smokin' mad over a prank as stupid as a shirt on a statue that he can't contain himself and acts out like that, what else is he capable of? Because - just because you were born and raised in the south, grew up thinkin' watchin' football was the best way to spend your Saturdays (or five days out of every week for three months of every year), and are DESTINED to attend either Auburn or Alabama, depending on your family's legacy, and you better not even THINK about stepping toe in the other (or any other college for that matter - Samford? Oh, the horror!), does not give you the right to act like a complete utter moron idiot, and make everyone else from the south appear to the same to the rest of the world.
Get a life.
Oh - War Damn Eagle. :)
This photograph was taken of a rehabilitated Bald Eagle just before he was released. Auburn University houses a raptor rehabilitation facility which holds a near and dear spot in my heart. This link will soon be home to a post about that.