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Tucson's axe-less lumberjack


Wildcat File Photo
Arizona Daily Wildcat

Phil Villarreal

By Phil Villarreal
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
January 12, 2000
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Tucson's greatest treasure is a giant-sized statue of Paul Bunyan that graces the ghetto area on the northwest side of town. I've lived here 13 years, and he's the one structure that I will miss when I leave for my internship in June.

How beloved is he? A friend of a friend of a friend of mine who goes to Northern Arizona University (which has its sports teams nicknamed "Lumberjacks" and several lumberjack statues gracing its campus) visited Tucson last year with the singular goal in mind of seeing our lumberjack statue.

If you've never seen the Bunyan statue, then you've never seen Tucson.

But as much as I love Bunyan, I can't recommend taking a look at him right now.

You see, some idiot has stripped him of his axe and replaced it with a candy cane.

Some might see the 30-foot-tall lumberjack with a gigantic candy cane in his arms as "cute."

But Bunyan is made to look like a wuss holding a candy cane instead of an axe. It is about as "cute" as a rodent dressed as a mini-reindeer with antlers stapled to its ears.

And please don't tell me that the candy cane travesty doesn't matter because Bunyan is simply an inanimate object.

The fact that Bunyan is an inanimate object is all the more reason to let the man keep his freaking axe.

Still don't agree? Indulge me for a second, please.

Imagine that you are Bunyan. It's tough to do, but give it a whirl. Your legs are four feet wide and made of plaster. You're forced to spend every moment of your life on the corner of Stone and Glenn, with a dopey grin on your face because you lack the power to manipulate your facial muscles.

But underneath that smile, you're hurting, baby.

You're never allowed to go to the bathroom, a fact that is only slightly mitigated by your inability to eat.

And because you spend all your time outside, you never get to watch TV or get on the Internet.

Translation: masturbation is out of the question.

So where do you get your pleasure? Your motivation to go on? I'll tell you where - the dirty pleasure of scaring little kids.

When Bunyan has a candy cane, he's very non-threatening. But when he has that axe, look out.

The first time I saw him, as an 8-year-old, I was scared that he would slam that axe down on the hood of my parents' car as we attempted to drive by.

And mine wasn't the only young soul he's tortured. The sight of Bunyan with axe in hand has scared many younguns. When my friend Jackson was in third grade, he had nightmares about Bunyan finding out where he lives and chasing him around his backyard.

No axe, no more little Jacksons having nightmares at night.

So what would you do if some goofy jackass walked right up to you one day, decided to take your manhood away and replace it with a red-and-white-striped symbol of holiday cheer?

You would quote Chris Tucker from the 1998 movie "Rush Hour," of course.

"Oh, haaail no," you would scream. "Don't you ever mess with a black man's radio!"

It's the middle of January, for heaven's sake. So idiot, wherever you are, stop messing with the man's radio.

Give the axe back to Bunyan.

Phil Villarreal is a business management senior. He can be reached at prv@azstarnet.com

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