Welcome to cul-de-sac known as Aerating Nation

The men who live in my cul-de-sac aerate their lawns. I’m telling you this because there’s a good chance that because of this unnecessary demonstration of male virility, I may put my house up for sale, and I’d feel guilty if someone reading this ended up in the same neighborhood.

Recently my wife and I arrived home from a Sunday brunch and saw Jeff wrestling with what appeared to be a 200-horsepower lawnmower. The real strange part was that Jeff was not aerating his own lawn, but Stan’s lawn, which looked like an act of great selflessness unless you take into account that he had simply lost control of the behemoth and was desperately trying to steer the machine back to his own front yard.

Then Mark, watching Jeff from his living room window, came outside to request that he be given a chance to aerate. Stan also wanted in. This scam made Tom Sawyer look like an amateur.

I have never aerated my lawn. I don’t think I’ve ever said or written the word “aerated” prior to today. If it weren’t for spell check, the first line of this column would have been: “The men who live in my neighborhood airrate their lawns.” Once, I accidentally went from liquify to aerate while making a strawberry shake in our blender. That’s the extent of my experience.

When I learned about aerating, I was sure I wanted no part of it. Here are some of the things I’d rather do than aerate my lawn:

•Clean the gutters with my own toothbrush

•Tar the driveway in my bare feet

•Be president of the homeowners’ association

Jeff tried to explain to me why it’s important to aerate the lawn, but most of the explanation required that I actually listen. He said something about golf greens that got my attention. And I heard the word “plugs,” which made me mildly interested because when I had a hair transplant, the surgeon put more than a thousand plugs in my head. My hair does look a lot thicker now, so maybe there is something to this.

I watched Stan try to aerate. Stan was being whipped into unspeakable contortions, and he had to push the emergency switch after he aerated Mark’s newly paved driveway.

After observing my neighbors gleefully involved in raising their testosterone levels, I agreed to try aeration myself. I declined doing my own lawn, having arranged several years ago for nine moles to do the job for me. I took hold of the handles, pressed the bar and was quickly propelled into action on my neighbor’s impeccable grass.

Putting holes in someone else’s lawn was fun, but four seconds was way long enough. Aerators make me nervous. They are potentially dangerous. I am uncomfortable with even having an aerator in the neighborhood, but Jeff put my mind at ease.

“Aerators don’t poke holes in lawns. People poke holes in lawns,” he said.

That made me feel a lot better.