Monday, June 2, 2008

Crazy Like a Lawnmower, Part I

My power lawnmower is nothing unusual, 3.5 hp, except that it is too small to mow the whole acre of lawn grass. I am not unusual except that I am a U.S. citizen totally clueless about mowing a lawn.

Firstly I decided to mow only half the acre. Problem 50 percent solved. I put off the job as long as possible, hoping it might rain every day, or at least every other day. God obliged with the third-wettest spring in 130 years. Problem solved for all of April and half of May.

In mid-May I had four-inch grass and knee-high weeds full of ticks jumping from stem to stem like my lawn was their jungle gym. I knew that mowers used gasoline, but had no idea how much. I was a real pantywaist about pumping the gas into a 5-gallon can, terrified and flinching and doing it one drop at a time. But I muddled through, telling myself that the gas was probably more scared of me than I was of it.

Then in the driveway I had my first close-up look at the mower. What a relief to see that the machine had idiot graphics that showed where to put in the gas and oil. I did know how to prime the machine with three jabs at the red rubber button, and to yank that cable “straight from the shoulder, just like a baseball pitch only in reverse.” But it took a while to realize that I shouldn’t pull the lawnmower out into the center of the lawn and try to start it there.

Honestly and truly, my father did not sire a moron. . .

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