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Friday, June 25, 2010

Reduce deficits, grow grass (not that kind)


It pains me to offer so many sensible solutions to so many global problems when the ideas always seem motivated by pure laziness.

Yet, I can’t help it.

The world would be a lot better off if everyone was less reluctant to indulge their laziness.

Lazy people don’t start wars, instigate Ponzi schemes or manufacture housing bubbles. They don’t drill deep sea oil wells, rig elections or trouble with any of the necessary couch shifting that leads to unwanted pregnancies.

In fact, the only scourge we can lay at the reclining feet of lazy people is lousy television programming.

So I salute lazy people and thank them for all their inspiration, including this recent brainstorm stemming from observing a vast patch of earth that could really benefit from a whole lot of laziness.

Grass. Lawns. Green space.

Can you think of how much money, time, aggravation and wasted fuel we’d all save if we all just sat back, sipped some lemonade, and let the grass grow?

The savings would be staggering.

And I’m not even talking about our own lawns. I’ll get to that.

I’m talking about the millions of miles of grass that coast-to-coast line and divide our interstate highways. On our recent nine-hour drive from our western Pennsylvania home to splendid southern part of Indiana, we covered 1,225 miles round trip. About 95 percent of those miles were spent on interstate highways straddled by between 50- and 75-feet of well-manicured grasses. Those same highways are divided by strips of grass about 100 feet wide for the duration.

We saw nearly a dozen taxpayer-funded work crews toiling in gas-guzzling tractors who, I’m sure, do nothing but tidy the highway grass for eight hours a day.

Why?

High grass is not a highway hazard. Heck, it’s hardly a golf hazard.

See for yourself. The grass along and between the highways is never more than about six inches long. The rough at golf’s U.S. Open is more daunting.

If it was next door to my yard, I’d mutter about it being unkempt but when I zip by at 70 mph, I couldn’t care less. Who would?

In fact, I’ll bet it would be more scenic if it was allowed to flourish. Wild flowers would poke up and the grasses would be reminiscent of splendid African savannas, albeit ones choked with hub caps, roadkill and those handy bottles the truckers use for urinals when they’re behind schedule.

Can you imagine how much money it would save our struggling state and federal governments if they they were to raise the blades and reduce highway mowing to, say, once a month?

The savings would be breathtaking.

Hell, they could probably let it go altogether. What would it matter?

If it grew to sufficient density, the grassy cushions might serve as safety buffers for out-of-control vehicles.

That brings us back home.

Reflexively, one of the first things I did after returning home from vacation was to jump out of the car and onto my John Deere.

The grass needed mown.

Or did it?

We used to live in a traditional neighborhood with yards slammed right next to each other. If fastidious Fred cut his grass, mine looked shaggy. I was forever struggling to decide whether to cut the grass or just kill Fred.

Now we live in a shady home up in the woods. Cars roar by at 50 mph. The only people who sees our grass are the garbage men and the school bus driver and we won’t be seeing her again until fall.

In many ways, a mowed lawn is an affront to nature. We expend so much money, sweat and time trying to tame what is wild.

Well, I’m done.

I’m going to resist the urge to cut the grass until it gets high enough to tickle my backside in the hammock where I intend to spend more time brainstorming ways true laziness can help mankind.

Give it some thought. Tell a friendly congressman or woman.

Longer grass is an idea that ought to really grow on us all.

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