Today was the perfect day to mow the lawn. The sun was shining; not too hot, not too cold; the sky was full of puffy, white clouds; the birds were singing; the insects were buzzing. It was also the perfect day to plant the new flowering trees Sue had bought, the perfect day to weed-whack, the perfect day to get a lot of long overdue yard work done.
In short, it was the perfect day to play golf.
A good-looking lawn or a relaxing game of golf? One would be the same stupid, useless, frustrating, unrewarding repetitive task over and over again until I’m ready to scream, the other is just yard work. Decisions, decisions.
Why is it that the same days that are perfect for yard work are always the same days that are perfect for not doing yard work? There seems to be a huge flaw in the cosmic plan when the same day that is good for going to the beach is the exact same day that it’s good to edge the sidewalk. In a perfect world, we could mow the lawn on rainy days.
My friend Woodrow hated lawn work so much that, little by little, he had his lawn removed. One week, he’d widen his driveway. The next week he’d build a rock garden. The following week he’d extend his deck. After three or four years of continuous “improvements,” there was nothing left to mow, no place left on his property where anything wild could grow.
Sure, it had all the charm of one of those little strips that divide Parking Lot F from Parking Lot G at the mall, but he spent zero time fussing over his lawn. Well, that’s not quite true. Now, the lack of lawn is his wife’s second husband’s holiday. Woodrow spent so little time on his lawn and so much time in the house torturing his wife Betty – the marriage was doomed.
And that’s one of the main reasons we have lawns is to keep husbands and wives from spending too much time together.
Shortly after their honeymoon, Betty’s new husband started sodding over Woodrow’s six-lane circular driveway. He’s out there now, spraying weed-killer. We started as hunter-gatherers, we’ll end up as mower-sprayers.
The only other reason to have a nice lawn, of course, is to give the neighbors a reason to live. If it weren’t for my recent “back to nature” stance on lawn care, I’m sure several of my neighbors would have died of boredom by now. As it is, they have a new lease on life. They all seem to want to give me advice.
“Mow it or sell it!” said one note tied to a brick. Last year, Mort could barely get out of bed. Now he has the strength to throw a brick through my window. It’s a miracle!
“Haven’t you ever heard of ‘Meadow in a Can,’” I bricked back.
“Yes, but you must have bought ‘Eyesore on my Block!’ by mistake,” came the reply, narrowly missing Sue by a few rooms.
“Doesn’t Mort have our e-mail address,” she asked.
“Yeah, but it keeps filling up with spam about lawn-care products and services. It’s like we’re on some kind of list. I got an e-mail from Nigeria yesterday that didn’t beg me for money, it begged me to mow our lawn. It seems Gen. Achaba’s widow owns a house on the next block and she thinks her property values will go down if I don’t get out there and mow.”
“That’s crazy,” Sue said. “Betty says they can’t go any lower.”
“You been talking to Betty?”
“Quite a bit. You know, she has some fascinating stories. Mostly about the whole legal process. Poor Woodrow, though. He’s just a shell of his former self.”
Actually, today may be the perfect day for yard work.
Jim Mullen is the author of “It Takes a Village Idiot: Complicating the Simple Life” and “Baby’s First Tattoo.” You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright 2006, Newspaper Enterprise Assn.