Friday, May 8, 2015

Lamenting the inaugural mow

I have some disappointing news for those of you who live vicariously through me and my edgy existence.

Yesterday, I betrayed both you and everything for which this blog’s stands.

I gave up. I surrendered to grinding conformities.

Yes, I mowed my lawn.

You didn’t think I was going to say I accepted a full-time job, did you?

In some ways, cutting my grass May 7 is the far greater capitulation.

Getting a job, an aspect of living also popular among conformists, would make a lot of sense.

Cutting the grass makes none.

First of all, it burns gas and we still import a lot of fossil fuels from regimes hostile to America. So every time I cut the grass I believe I’m helping fund jihad.

Second, cutting it now only accelerates the need to cut the grass again. By cutting it yesterday, I’ve ensured it’ll need cut again in just four days.

That means I’ve cheated my happy existence out of two hours I could otherwise devote to either blogging, napping or sitting in a darkened tavern chatting with cheerful inebriates, the trio of non-productive pastimes that give me ample time to brainstorm theories like: “routine lawn care equals jihad.”

Third, and most important, the news that I’ve cut my grass bestows bragging rights upon friend Paul.

We’ve for years had a contest to see which of us is the last to mow our respective yards.

It’s maybe the silliest endeavor in which I participate all year — and that’s coming from a guy who answers, “Blog!” when asked what he does for a living.

Last year’s contest ended in controversy when Paul’s neighbor got so revolted over the appearance of his yard that he came over and did it himself while Paul laughed maniacally from behind the curtains.

He contended that since he didn’t cut it, it didn’t count.

It was the most divisive outcome since the year our electric garage door malfunctioned and my John Deere was for three weeks marooned like some wheeled green ship in a bottle.

But last year profoundly affected me. I didn’t cut my grass until May 27 and wound up cutting the lawn just nine times all summer. 

It was an epiphany. I realized the longer I could hold out, the less it’d need cut.

I only wish the same logic applied to things like toenails and nose hairs.

Emboldened, I figured this year I’d try and go clear through Flag Day before the inaugural mow, not to be confused with the inaugural Moe, which Stooge purists consider “Soup To Nuts.”

But I didn’t anticipate the residual and still-seething vitriol from last year’s triumph.

Josie, 14, said, “Please tell me you’re not still doing that stupid lawn contest again. It’s really embarrassing.”

That this hurt is obvious. What’s worse how poorly it bodes for her eventual reaction to my annual beard growing contest.

Val was more subtle. She asked if I could please at least trim around the front so she could enjoy seeing the Lilies of the Valley she planted in the mulch she spread (she has no trouble conforming to prevailing homeowner mores). 

I sensed she’d eventually ask if I could please trim around the front because it looks from inside like someone’d painted all the windows green.

My buddies were all involved, too. They were cutting their grass once every four or five days. 

One neighbor keeps his property looking just like an immaculate country club. That he just so happens to be Arnold Palmer and the property is Latrobe Country Club is besides the point.

Pressure was building.

It felt in my gut the way it feels when you’re blazing down the interstate with the needle hard on E and decide — screw it — I’m going to see if I can make it just one more exit.

In play in all this, as always, is my precarious financial situation. I’m booking speaking engagements, but those are months off. Times are hard.

I won’t prove my family worth until I return from the hunt and toss the slaughtered meat on the table.

What can I say? Some husbands secure understanding by plying their wives with jewelry and fancy clothes.

Me, I mow the lawn.

What stinks is the realization the one made most cheerful by this awful emasculation isn’t even anyone in my family.

Doggone it, it’s Paul.

Because he above all others knows that Thursday I severed something more important to guys like us than the top of our grass.

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Unknown said...

That is one heck of a contest. Too bad that the mounting pressure was too much to handle, or you would’ve been able to hold out much longer. Anyway, I hope you’ll be able to outlast him next time.

Mike Mcmillen @ Dependable Lawn Care LLC

Chris Rodell said...

Thanks, Mike! I appreciate you taking the time to read. Good luck with your lawn care business!