By Jack Edwards
And it’s bigger and uglier than any monster you’ll ever find lurking in a “B” grade horror flick. The mere thought of confronting this beast sends chills down your spine. Its name is “Lawn.” And this soulless creature raises its hideous head each spring to scream my name. It is my reoccurring lawnmare.
When I was in college, my roommates and I simply ignored its looming presence. Our front yard was a blend of Tarzan jungle and Iowa wheat field. Yes, the neighbors complained. And, as you can imagine, as responsible college students, we were deeply sensitive concerning neighborhood relations. We would even go so far as to occasionally answer the front door and tell an enraged neighbor that we would “get right on it.” Then there were the official looking letters from the city. These letters were very stern and included captions like “Important Notice” and “Final Warning.” We’d eventually get around to knocking our crop down once or twice a year to avoid paying the much-ballyhooed municipal fine. We didn’t do what you might consider much edging. Or much mulching. We were wholly unqualified to mulch.
I now live in a respectable neighborhood with respectable people. Many of these people use lawncare services, which as you can image, cost actual money. So, obviously, that is not an option.
This spring, a thought dawned on me. As I was pulling the cord on my lawnmower for the bazillionth time trying to start it, I thought: “The only person who ever goes into my backyard is me. And I only go back there to mow the yard.” Adding to this madness is a little something called, “dragging the giant trampoline that no one uses and never did.” You see, part of the joy of your wife buying a trampoline that you begged her not to buy is dragging it around so you can mow what is left of the grass dying beneath it. This is especially fun in the early wet spring when you get the added benefit of tearing up your yard in the process.
So, this year, I am considering my options:
1. AstroTurf. Solves the watering problem. Solves the weeding problem. And solves the, “What should I do with my life savings?” problem.
2. Moss. I’ve battled moss forever. (Refer to the picture above showing my actual moss infested lawn.) Year after year, I have spread, sprayed, and sprinkled every form of moss killer up to and including Agent Orange in quest of a moss free lawn. Then it dawned on me. Why not a moss lawn? Let it go. Encourage it. Kind of like Kung Foo fighting where you use your enemy’s own force against him. David Carradine would love this idea.
3. I could visit a tattoo studio (didn’t they used to call them tattoo parlors?) and ask one of the artists/felons to ink a picture of a mule’s behind on my back. Thus allowing me to continue to mow my lawn each week sans shirt. Truly owning fate.
I remember when I was a teenager amazed at how old people (really old, like 35 or 40) cared about their lawns. Occasionally, one would have the audacity to wake me from deep REM sleep by starting his mower at the crack of dawn – sometimes as early as 10 a.m. And I’d think to myself, Wow, what a sad existence. I was yet unaware that just outside my bedroom window a war was raging. I was yet unaware that a soulless, hideous beast awaited destruction, and that one day I would carry my sword and shield into battle. Of course, little did I know that my sword would be a gas-powered weed-eater, and my shield would be insulated ear protection. Same thing. Because its name is “Lawn,” and it calls me into battle.