The city planted two trees on the boulevard last year. One of them didn't make it. This is Nature's way: Only the strong survive! Didn't get enough water? Well, you shouldn't have planted yourself 10 feet beyond the reach of the garden hose, then.

The other tree no doubt views the death of its neighbor with alarm, or perhaps irritation. Could you get that thing out of here? It's creeping me out. Would you like to spend your day standing next to a skeleton? Thanks. So I e-mailed the city to tell them we had corpse-wood on the boulevard, and another one would be just great.

Someone will come out and spray it with an orange X. I've never seen anyone do this. I imagine a black van driven by a guy in a Grim Reaper costume. He works at night.

My wife had asked if the city would prune the boulevard trees as well, because this is what women think about when they wake at 3 a.m. with the sudden conviction that something needs to be done about something, and why the conversation about pruning also includes doing something about your eyebrows. Why prune? The branches are preventing the grass from growing. Oh, there are weeds, but I guess they feed off dark matter or car headlights.

So I called the city. It's probably the only municipal number you can dial to report a death, and no one gets excited. Didn't even get a question about how it happened. Uh — it fell down the stairs. No — it got stung by a bee. Pretty sure it was allergic. When I inquired about pruning, I was told that the Forestry Manager would be around, possibly accompanied by his blue ox. This Lord of the Leaves may grant us a permit to prune, because even though I am responsible for watering and mowing the boulevard, they're not really my trees. Can you think of anything else for which you're responsible, but have little jurisdiction over in the end?

Besides your teenager.