NOTE: The following is an excerpt from Paul Steven Stone’s acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize in Occult Home Sciences.
“Honored Dignitaries and Members of the Swedish Academy:
“Much has been written about the drop pattern of the American Leaf (see Stern’s “Up To My Sternum in Autumn,” Windblown Press, 2003) but prior to my research it was firmly believed Leafus Americanus fell but once a season.
“Today of course, we know each leaf falls not once but on many occasions. Repeatedly, in fact, as I was able to prove. Ironically, it was a casual remark by my lovely lab assistant (who was not yet my wife) that ultimately led the way to my breakthrough discovery. She was lying on the living room couch, if I recall rightly, examining the leaf-raking oval blisters on both her lovely palms. Upon my suggestion that she return to our yard and continue raking leaves, she replied, “You should live so long. I’ll wait till after they refall.”
“Refall?” I said to myself. “Refall?” The word echoed and re-echoed through my mind. “Was it possible?” I asked myself. “Could leaves actually fall more than once?”
“Within minutes I organized a press gang of laboratory assistants (my three children) and together we began the torturous process of gathering and marking all the remaining leaves in our yard with my name. Afterwards, leaving my assistants to dispose of the test specimens in the woods behind our house, I went inside to pursue a parallel investigation I’d been conducting on the National Football League.
“The first returns on our efforts were quite dispiriting. Although a voluminous colony of leaves did reappear on my property, and the trees above remained as starkly bare of their leaves as before, none of the new arrivals bore any of our test markings. Chagrined, I went into the woods and measured the piles of our marked specimens, discovering to my surprise they had diminished quite dramatically in height.
“Here then was a double mystery. Not only could I not account for the new leaves on my lawn, I was at a loss to explain the apparent disappearance of many of my test subjects.
“A week later both mysteries were solved with a single phone call, the first of many I would later receive.
“You Paul Steven Stone?” the caller asked; he appeared to be breathing heavily and short of breath, which produced a most ominous sounding intake and release of air. Assured that I was indeed Paul Steven Stone, he began displaying a limited vocabulary of expletives, most of which he was forced to repeat once or twice in the length of that brief phone call. He ended the call with terse suggestions as to what I might do with all the leaves I had dumped upon his property.
“At last the breakthrough I had been seeking! And it was more startling than I could ever have hoped. For not only had my leaves fallen again, as my wife (or lab assistant, if you wish) suggested they might, but they had actually travelled two and a half miles to do so. Later phone calls confirmed my discovery, also revealing migratory patterns that ranged as far away as six miles from the test site. The threats and foul language I endured from my callers, however, were far more limited in their range, a sad testimony to the failings of our current educational system.
“You’ll be pleased to hear my research continues, and before long I expect to publish preliminary findings that will cause all of us to reassess our beliefs about the sex life of Leafus Americanus.
“All I can say at present is that the little fellow is surprisingly promiscuous.”