I’ve been hesitant to share this news because I know it’s bound to disappoint fellow idlers who look upon me and my buddy as the Frazier-Ali of laziness, two heavyweights when it came to avoiding lightweight work.
Our competition was heated, but never bitter.
We never come to blows because we never come to mows.
Yes, it’s that time of year when Paul and I engage in our contest to see who can be the last to mow his lawn.
It’s been going on for 8 years. We’re now tied 4-4.
I have it all marked down on the hood of my trusty John Deere. I have all the dates of my first cuts and the number of times I cut.
For those of you scoring at home, I’m on a roll. I’ve won the last three springs.
My HOF year was ’14 when I was like the ’27 Yankees, known for mowing down opponents. The only difference between me, Ruth, Gehrig and the gang was I didn’t mow shit.
I didn’t cut my grass that spring until May 28 and wound up doing it just nine times the entire summer.
By contrast, many of my neighbors have cut their grass nine times the last three weeks.
Think of the leisure time they’ve lost, the recreations they’ve missed, the gas they’ve wasted, and all the petrodollars they’d funneled into the pockets of those nasty Saudi schools where the boys are taught to hate beer-bellied patriots like Paul and I.
And I’m just guessing that part about Saudi robes having pockets. For all I know they use fanny packs.
But this year something shifted. My victory seems hollow.
He says he got a new mower and was too eager to try it out to endure the competition.
I knew he was lying. There are plenty of other lawns in the neighborhood he could have mowed. I think, too, he has some shag carpet in his basement that’s looking dated.
He knows all this. In fact, one year he won because his anal neighbor got so fed up with the unsightliness of his lawn, he cut it himself.
It was controversial. True, he hadn’t cut his own lawn, hadn’t paid anyone to cut it for him or hadn’t adopted a pet goat.
All he’d done was hide behind the curtain and cackle as the goody-goody spent 90-minutes cutting his grass because it was so unsightly.
It was brilliant.
That’s why this year’s victory seems so hollow.
It’s like something special has gone away. Been mowed down to be precise.
He told me he’d cut his grass in April. April!
It was a complete capitulation.
I mercilessly berated him and reminded him of all the people he’d let down.
What I didn’t say was this was the year I was going to throw in the towel.
Like him I suspect, I just didn’t have the stomach for it.
So I cut mine May 5, the earliest ever recorded for me.
The pressure was just too great. I’d go the grocery store and see grown men with admirational tears in their eyes. They’d ask if I’d cut it yet. I’d tell them, no, I was still holding out. They’d high-five me.
To extend the grassy metaphor, I was the stem and they were rooting for me.
But I faced the opposite pressure at home every day. The kids were complaining about losing the dog when they let him out to wee.
Worse, I realize how unwise it is for a man in my precarious position to antagonize a wife already suspicious of my inability to sustain our family.
After all, I’m the guy who when she asks where I go in the morning says, “Off to work!” And then spends the day composing this stupid godforsaken deadbeat blog.
I could see her one day leaving me a note saying she’d left me for another man, one with a neatly trimmed lawn.
It’d be a rare occurrence of a husband getting a Dear John letter over a John Deere situation.
Funny thing is, I know what we do is inspiring to many men. They think Paul and I are really onto something.
Oh, well. The grass is always greener.
And now it’s also shorter.