I had such a great time with the rented tiller a couple of weekends ago, I figured I’d go back to the good folks at Roberson Rent-All and rent me a lawn mower.
I’d mastered a tiller, so how hard could it be to work this little dude? It actually worked a lot better once I figured out that you had to start the engine before it would cut grass.
Rrrr! Rrr! Listen to that baby roar.
The grass in our yard was pretty tall. How tall was it? Why, I’ll tell you how tall. It was so tall that after I was finished mowing, an environmental group put out a report on the vanishing rain forest in Brown County.
Now, you’re proably thinking, haven’t you ever used a gas lawn mower before, cat juggler? And why did you let your grass get so tall? I guess Wife had enough of going out there with with a scythe.
A recent Associated Press article about lawn mowers caught my attention. Way cool, I thought, now I can read about someone else’s adventures on the lawn! I wondered if the AP reporter was a cat juggler like me.
“Powerful, loud mowers have been showing lawns who’s boss for decades,” the article began. Yes! This was Guy Stuff. Big, colorful toys with serious horsepower.
But wait, something’s not right here. “But now contraptions that couldn’t cut butter without a good shove are quietly — really quietly — making a comeback,” the article went on.
“Manual lawn mowers, long the 98-pound weaklings of the tool shed, are pushing their way, or, more accurately, being pushed around more yards all over the country.”
I was so stunned, I dropped three cats right on their heads. What kind of girlie-man stuff was this?
“According to buyers and sellers, the resurgence of these quaint reminders of yesteryear is due most notably to growing environmental concerns and an increasing number of women who do the mowing,” the article continued.
“Headlines about global warming, pollution and vanishing natural resources have people — and not just those wearing Birkenstocks — making changes.”
Oh, I get it. We’re supposed to feel guilty.
Do you drive to work instead of biking or using mass transit or light rail? Feel guilty.
Do you use electricty? Feel guilty (unless you’re Algore).
Do you travel by private jet when you could walk? Feel guilty.
Do you drive an SUV? Feel very, very guilty.
And now, add gas mowers to the list of planet wreckers.
“I’m not a tree hugger but I think we all think about being more environmentally friendly and leave less of a footprint on the world,” the article quoted a Chicago architect who started using his cute little mower this spring.
If you’re not a tree-hugger, you don’t have to try to convince people you’re not. The fact that he claims to not be a tree-hugger undoubtedly means he is one. Owns “An Inconvenient Goof,” no doubt.
“And the mowers provide one way to respond to pollution from gas-powered mowers, not to mention the warnings from at least one former vice president,” the article continued.
Planet wrecker. How could you?
Now, you’re probably thinking, I’m probably a closet manual lawn mower owner but too insecure to admit it. Well, I can’t believe I’m revealing this on TV, but I did own one a couple of years ago. My gas mower was done for, and me and Wife looked at a manual mower in a store. We pushed it around the store and were impressed with how light and easy to push it was.
We weren’t concerned about saving the planet. We just thought, heck, no gas, no maintenance, no hassle, no fuss. Just push it around for a few minutes, and bada-bing, bada-boom, the grass is gone.
So we bought it, but there was one thing wrong with our theory: while it was indeed easy to push, it didn’t cut worth a darn. And I just didn’t feel like a manly man, tiptoeing through the tulips with the cute little thing. Felt like I should be having tea and crumpets with a tree hugger.
We went back to a gas-powered mower, and not only does it actually cut grass, I’m a manly man again. Unfortunately it occasionally breaks, and it is in the shop getting unbroken. It’s still scads better than the manual mower we had for a little while.
Now, if you want to use a manual mower and it works for you, great. Pretend you’re saving the planet if that makes you feel better.
Bring on the horsepower, baby.
Steve Nash writes his column for the Brownwood Bulletin on Thursdays. He may be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.