Apparently this is the kind of story one writes when one is sleep-deprived.
"Hey, watch where you're going, dumbass," he said. Like I said, grumpy.
"Oh, sorry," I replied. "Didn't see you there. You're a woodchuck, right?"
"No, I'm a friggin' water buffalo. Yes, I'm a woodchuck. Name's Carl."
"Hi Carl. I'm Chris."
"I don't give a shit."
"Can I ask you a question, Carl?"
"Would it matter if I said no you can't?"
"Probably not. Don't know if you know this, but we humans have always wondered something about you guys."
"No kidding. What's that? What we taste like if we're barbecued and slathered in A-1 sauce?"
"Uh, no. Actually, we'd like to know how much wood you could chuck. I mean, if you could chuck wood. What's the story?"
"You can't be serious. You're the most advanced species on the entire friggin' planet, and that's the sort of shit you spend time thinking about?"
"Yeah, pretty much."
"Pathetic. But I'll see what I can do. First, I guess it all depends what you mean by 'chuck,' man. Do you mean 'to toss or throw with a quick motion,' 'pat or tap lightly, as in under the chin,' or to eject from a public place, like, 'Sully was being such an obnoxious asshole that he got chucked from Fenway Park without receiving a refund?'"
I thought about that for a minute. This guy sure had a keen grasp of the English language, not to mention Bostonians. After determining that wood would not attend Red Sox games at Fenway, nor did it have a chin to lightly tap, I said, "Throw with a quick motion. How much wood do you think you could throw?"
"What kind of wood? I'm sure that I could chuck pine farther than say, mahogany." I could tell Carl was warming up to this.
"How big a piece?"
"Twelve inch lengths of two-by-four."
"What's the time frame? Are we asking how much wood could I chuck in ten minutes? An hour? Or how much could I chuck until I simply collapse from exhaustion?"
"Let's say fifteen minutes."
Carl said, "Well, I guess there's only one way to find out, man. Let's go get some wood!"
I helped my new rodent-like buddy into the bed of my Ford F-150 and we took a quick trip to Home Depot. I bought 500 foot-long cuts of two-by-four and loaded them in the truck. Carl rode shotgun as we headed back to the park. Along the way we hit a McDonald's drive thru and I quickly found out how many fries a woodchuck could eat if a woodchuck could eat fries. Answer: a lot.
We got back to the park where I unloaded the wood with no help whatsoever from Carl, who sat in the shade polishing off the last of his strawberry shake. When I had all the two-by-fours arranged in a neat pile, I told him that it was showtime. He did a few quick stretching exercises, picked up a piece of wood, and chucked it.
"Shit, Carl! What the hell?" He'd hit me right in the forehead.
"Sorry, man," he said, giggling. "My bad."
He didn't look sorry.
"All right, let's do this," I said. "You've got fifteen minutes, time to start chucking."
In a maelstrom of woodchuck fur and lumber, Carl sent the two-by-fours flying all over the park. A Boy Scout on a Razor scooter took one off the left hip. Another landed at the feet of a stray German shepherd, who picked it up in his mouth and bolted. Several more boards ended up in the fountain, scattering a flock of pigeons who were mostly minding their own business. Fifteen minutes later, it was all over.
"TIME!" I called.
As I counted the two-by-fours that remained on the original stack, Carl walked over to the lake, took a quick drink, scratched his personal area and crapped on the grass.
"Okay, Carl," I said, "we have the results. There are 218 boards left, which means that you successfully chucked 282. Not bad!"
"Whatever. Now piss off, would ya?"
And with that, Carl and I parted ways. But I'd learned two things that day. First, a woodchuck would chuck 18.8 twelve-inch lengths of two-by-four per minute, if a woodchuck could chuck wood. And I learned that Carl the Woodchuck is a furry little asshole.
Now where can I find that damn owl with the Tootsie Pop?