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Pain in the Grass


Lance Pugh

Neuton Battery Powered Mower


There are a number of theories that I'm currently entertaining to explain the rapid and explosive rate of growth of my lawn: One is that recent wet weather has fit perfectly into the growing cycle. Another is that Global Warming is tightly focused on my yard, for reasons as yet unknown. The third and most probable is that someone is applying fertilizer to my heretofore lackluster lawn in order to keep me shackled to my cordless electric mower, for no sooner do I finish the last pass with the mower than I begin anew where I first started.

Yet, given the magnitude and unpredictability of the drenchings, I am mostly reduced to staring out the window while the green grows skywards at the rate of jungle bamboo or, in economic terms, faster than the second-by-second increase in our national debt. Now I know why the President is named Bush.

During a thunder storm the other night I blinked as lightning struck nearby, lighting up the sky. During my blink the lawn shot up 2 inches. I sighed, closed the door and went back to bed.

After a week of rain my tears only added to the deluge, for the lawn must dry out before being submitted to the blade. Occasionally the growth outpaces the abilities of my mower, requiring that I first hack down the canopy with a machete honed to a razor's edge.

Once the tall grass is hauled away by a team of dull oxen, also known as oxymorons, I adjust the blade speed to approximate that of a black U.N. helicopter and make the first pass some 4 feet above the ground, necessitating the use of saw horses and 2x6's upon which the mower rolls while I teeter behind on stilts, carefully guiding the mower down the makeshift wooden rails. With each pass I lower the lot another foot and in only a few hours I have an area the size of a car carefully manicured.

I tried to get ahead of the curve by hiring a lawn boy, though one who doesn't drive a Mercedes and fan his nose at me as he speeds by with his other hand draped over the shoulder of his latest squeeze. The kid arrived by bicycle and used my yard tools.

Unfortunately, I lost track of the lawn boy in just a few minutes on his first day as I attempted to follow his trail as it entered the rapidly rising sea of grass. Much to our relief we found him 4 days later barking at the mailman through the hedge. I'm told that the kid will be out of therapy in a month or so and has already progressed to the point where he will look at a lawn, as long as he's standing on cement. I don't think that he'll be back cutting grass anytime soon, at least not in my jungle. The staff says his Johnny Weissmuller jungle cries sound quite authentic, which, I think, is encouraging.

Not to be a victim of inclement weather, I came up with a solution to my mowing conundrum. It was a simple matter of mounting a kerosene space heater on the mower like a jet engine, this to dry out the grass enough to make a clean cut. It takes a little adjustment to desiccate things just right without leaving scorch marks in the grass. The drawback is where once I had a Neuton battery operated mower that I pushed with pride, I now operate a contraption that spews fumes, requires a 200 foot extension cord and sounds like a street sweeper crushing gravel.

I continued my search for a more palatable solution, finding the solution in the form of a goat. I had plenty of feed growing and the goat seemed happy at first, but soon slowed his chewing, then gave up completely. I called a friend who raises goats and explained the situation. It was pretty simple to him...the goat was lonely, so I bought another goat and the munching picked up considerably. After a few more days both goats fell into a slump and boycotted both the grass and each other.

I called my friend again and unloaded. He said that sometimes two goats need the input of a certain other animal to make them happy. He said that he'd be right by with the solution, which turned out to be a chicken in a burlap bag. He let the chicken out and immediately the goats beamed at each other and lowered their heads into a feeding frenzy. Now this all seemed to make sense until, some days later, the goats and the chicken went on a hunger strike. They all just stood there with long chicken/goat faces and did absolutely nothing.

Back on the phone to my friend I spouted out an update of life in the yard. Again a solution was at hand. It seems that my dog, Spooky, had taken to sitting on the porch and watching the three critters. Turns out that the dog was in the dumps too, as he wanted to herd the goats and chase the chicken. His depression was apparently contagious and the root cause for the general animal malaise, which had sprung like dandelions throughout the yard. Following my friend's advise, I encouraged Spooky to do the dog thing and the result was a miracle.

Spooky now chases the goats and the chicken with glee, this until he gets tired. Then everybody goes to their corner and eats their fill. The cycle repeats itself every two hours or so and the results are amazing. My yard is mowed, the animals are happy and the post office refuses to deliver my mail.

(Lance was last heard yodeling in the side yard. If you want to get Lance's goat, chew him out: lance@journalist.com)


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