Tag Archives: the Odyssey

Sing, O Muse, of the mowing of Ian’s lawn

I hate mowing my lawn.

I own three lawnmowers. I got them for free. I hate all three.

The first is a push mower, which  initially seemed like a great idea because using it meant that not only would I be mowing my lawn, but I’d be getting some exercise too. Try using a push mower in 100° weather and you’ll realize what a stupid idea that is.

The second is a gas-powered mower, and the only thing it really has going for it was that it was free. I  got it from my parents when they dumped it for a new mower. This should have been a clue. Nearly dislocating my shoulder every single time I try to pull start it should also have been a clue. But as my wife will attest, I’m not always that bright.

The third is an electric mower (I’ve hit the trifecta of energy use with these three mowers – all I need now to complete the set is a wind-powered mower). It works okay, except my extension cord (all 100 feet of it), after a few uses with the mower, is a twisted mass of insulated braided copper wire that rivals the famous Gordian knot.

(It’s also not nearly as easy to cut.  Except when I run over it with the mower. Which I have done. More than once.)

If I were to make a horror movie involving a lawnmower, the lawnmower would be one of the victims, not the weapon.

For some reason, the way lawn maintenance works is that during the winter you don’t have to water it because of the constant rain, and you can’t mow it because of the constant rain. This is great. I can look at the lawn, the blades now approaching 3 feet in height, and say “I really need to mow the lawn, but I can’t because it’s raining.”

This is all fine and dandy until summer hits. Now it isn’t raining, I have to pay for the water to keep the lawn alive, the average temperature is in the mid-90s, the average cloud cover is zero, and I really, really, it’s-so-tall-the-neighbors-can-see-it-over-the-fence, need to mow it.

Have you ever tried to mow a wall of lawn?  Not fun doesn’t begin to describe the experience. It is not quick. It is not refreshing. If Odysseus’s journey home from Troy had consisted of mowing my back lawn, he would never have seen Penelope or Telemachus again. The effort required is that epic.

And once you finally manage to slash back that lawn to a reasonable height, you’re in for another surprise. Your lawn looks like crap.

Why is this? Because grass is Machiavellian.

You see, during the winter, when you’re letting your lawn grow unchecked, the blades of grass are choosing sides.  There’s intrigue, political jockeying, negotiation, and, of course, ruthless, cold-hearted backstabbing.  Which means that some of the sides are going to lose.

The winning grass, which grows in tight clumps, grows tall and blocks out all the light, killing the  neighboring grass that chose poorly. You can’t tell that this has happened when the grass is three feet tall and fanned out. But once you’ve slashed and burned the overgrown jungle in your backyard, you will be dismayed to discover that you have small islands of  bamboo-like green stalks surrounded by channels of dirt and brown dead grass.

So over the course of several days, sweating under the hot summer sun, my exposed skin turning bright red, I will drive back the overgrown green horde, only to be rewarded  when I am finished with a wasteland.

This is why I hate mowing the lawn.  No, that isn’t true. I don’t just hate mowing my lawn.  I hate my whole damn lawn. Every last freaking blade of it.

And don’t get me started on taking out the garbage.


Posted by on 7 July 2011 in Conspiracies Out To Get Me, Life


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