We’ve reached another of the year’s milestones — June, the month where mowing the lawn changes from a pleasant springtime chore into an onerous summer task.
Where, I ask, is it written that we are all supposed to live on well-manicured lawns? Who decreed that our yards should look like fairways? Since when did the length and density of bluegrass and fescue become a suitable topic for concern and the attendant snippy notes from the neighborhood association?
I mean, really, you let your grass get a teensy 3 or 4 inches taller than the prescribed 2¼-inch height and they jump all over you like you were harboring fugitives in your crawl space or making moonshine in the garage. Which is just preposterous. I have a cellar, not a crawl space.
Anyway, I’ve been thinking over this whole cutting-the-grass business, and I’ve decided it is pretty much nonsense.
For one thing, my lawn can hardly be described as grass. What I have is a test plot for every weed known to the central United States. Purdue could bring students here for Noxious Plant Identification Field Trials. If there is any bluegrass or fescue out there among the dandelions and nettles, I assure you it got there quite by accident.
For another, it’s the sort of job that can only be performed, never completed. As soon as you finish chopping things down to the appropriate height, they start growing again. What’s the point? It’s a fight you can’t win.
Of course, this could probably be a little easier to take if I had a riding mower. I am, after all, a guy. Riding mowers speak to me. They say things about power and efficiency and power and making the other guys jealous and mostly about power.
Problem is, I live in the city on a plot of ground that is roughly the size of your average farm garden, and it’s crowded with things like flower and vegetable beds. I couldn’t get a riding mower turned around in the space I have. I can barely do it with a power mower, which, I might add, is a step up from what I used to have.
For years I cut my grass with an old-fashioned human-powered push mower, the kind with the reel, the latest thing in Amish lawn-mowing innovation.
Or so I thought until I was driving through LaGrange County one day and saw an Amish kid walking behind a brand-new Toro. That’s when I decided to upgrade. When the Amish are ahead of you on technology, you know it’s time to step up your game.
(I thought for a fleeting moment about taking the opposite approach and using sheep to keep the grass down, but it quickly occurred to me that it’s bad enough having to scoop up dog poop. No sense piling on, so to speak. And besides, the neighborhood association would have found it to be in exceptionally baa-d taste.)
And so I’m stuck with what I have: A scraggly lawn that needs cutting with a power mower I can’t stand so a neighborhood association doesn’t call the cops on me for reducing the property values.
And I’ll comply, over and over again this summer, as the weeds continue their plot to take over my plot.
Mike Redmond is an author, journalist, humorist and speaker. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.