Trees Into Toothpicks
Destroying trees for incredibly frivolous or wasteful purposes.


(permanent link) added: 2014-04-01 09:00:19 sponsor: Lumpenprole (last reply: 2014-06-16 13:29:58)

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Toothpicks, matches, ice cream sticks, paper products, etc. are in Real Life made from easily replaceable pulp-grade softwood. It would be unfathomably wasteful to harvest virgin timber solely to obtain wood for, example, toothpick making. Even more so to use an entire tree for a single toothpick. So naturally works of comedy depict just such a process for its absurdity. Sometimes done for laughs, other times as a Green Aesop.

A Super Trope of this would be any ridiculously wasteful product or manufacturing process.


Examples

Advertising
  • An ad for Hillshire Farms Lil' Smokies once featured Richard Karn carving a single toothpick out of a four foot 4 X 4 timber. He mentions that there's going to be a party. Cue a semi loaded with similar structural timbers.

Comic Books
  • In an Archie Comics "Gag Bag" strip, Archie's dad Fred is whittling down a piece of mahogany wood to make a table, but keeps screwing up and settles for something smaller. At the end:
    Archie's mom: How many people have a mahogany toothpick?
  • An early issue of MAD featured a parody of Robinson Crusoe in which he felled a tree, worked it into planks and planed down a large block of wood just to make a single toothpick.

Live-Action TV

Newspaper Comics
  • One ''Brevity'' strip has a toothpick, in the last moments of its life, mourn how it was once an 800-year-old tree.

Video Games
  • Abe and Munch bankrupt several Magog Cartel businesses over the course of Munch's Oddysee, one of which is Splinterz Manufacturing, a logging-and-toothpick-manufacturing venture.
  • In The Simpsons Game, Mr. Burns wants to cut down every tree in Springfield, and turn each into luxury toothpicks.

Web Original

Western Animation
  • The Dudley Do-Right short "Stokey The Bear", which opens with lumberjacks seeking to fill a rush order for toothpicks.
  • In the Foghorn Leghorn short ''Henhouse Henery", a pursued Foghorn chops down a tree and lathes the log down to a baseball bat (only to have Dawg snatch it away from him).
  • On Littlest Pet Shop (2012), Fisher Biskit uses an entire pine tree to make one drop of pine scent for pet shampoo.
  • "Lumber Jerks", a Looney Tunes cartoon starring the Goofy Gophers, depicting an automated lumber-processing plant that used a giant pencil sharpener to turn logs into a single toothpick each.
  • In S1E6 of Pepper Ann, the "Sani-Paper" company makes toilet seat covers from a single tree each.
  • A King Features Popeye short "Spare Dat Tree" in which he battles lumberjack Brutus to prevent him felling 5000-year old redwoods for toothpicks.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In the "And Maggie Makes Three", Homer wonders what happens to bowling pins after they get swept away. It turns out an automated assembly line throws out the used pins and makes new ones out of one fully-grown tree each.
    • In "Lisa the Tree Hugger", the logging rights for the Oldest Redwood in Springfield are sold for $100,000 to make a drive-through humidor. One of the other bidders is a restaurateur who wants to turn it into Thai takeout menus.
  • Tabaluga: When the former Big Bad, Arktos, is forced to do some good for others for a change, he decides to do this by starting to sell ice cream (his Trademark Favorite Food) to the people of Greenland. The problem is, Arktos thinks the ice cream sticks should be made of only of the best wood in a tree, thus for every tree there's produced only a single ice cream stick. This results in Arktos causing a natural catastrophe in the form of deforestation.
  • The Tiny Toon Adventures segment "Jungle Bungle" (likely a reference to "Lumber Jerks") had a giant -scorpion-shaped robot that harvested trees and processes them into a single elevator button. The rest of the tree is burned to power the robot so it can cut down another tree.

Real Life
  • Giant Sequoias actually were felled for reasons as frivolous as toothpicks and matchsticks. The wood from mature trees is far too fibrous for most building purposes, and breaking them down to scrap sizes was seen as the easiest way to harvest them. A general outcry in the mid 20thC eventually brought an end to this practice, but far too late for many of the giant trees.
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