Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Great Chain of Lawnmowers

In fact, this was originally a companion piece to Pierre de Chardin's foundational "Great Chain of Being", but his publisher had just ended an unhappy love affair and didn't see why anyone else should be having a good time. So, I'll present the basic outline of it here to you, with my own *ahem* embellishments.

You see, I have two lawnmowers, and both of them are broken. Here, let me repeat that, to let the absurdity sink in. I have TWO (?!) lawnmowers, and they're BOTH (!??!?!?!) broken. And in case you live in the mojave desert, I'll just let you know that lawnmowing season came upon us with a vengeance. No, not even that. I think it used some kind of tachyon-based time-field thingumy. One day I probably had two weeks to get at least one of our mowers fixed, and the next day I was already two weeks behind. My neighbors were starting to give us nasty looks. We were in serious danger of not being invited to the next neighborhood barbeque.

And so I did what any small town dweller with a deep-seated hatred of her lawn, but an even deeper-seated hatred of confrontations with her neighbors, would do. I borrowed a lawnmower from a friend.

Ah so. Perhaps the more astute of you can already see where this is going. I now have in my possession THREE lawnmowers, and they are all of different basic types. I am now in the unique position to be able to evaluate the variety of lawnmowers available to mankind (at least for under $300). Lo, as Prometheus brought Fire down from the Gods, I shall bring unto you the Truth about Lawnmowers.

The Reel Mower
Oh reel mower, what can I say about you that could convey how I love thee? You run silently, leaving me able to enjoy the sounds of nature or, better yet, my iPod. You have no noxious fumes to foul the air. You don't fling chunks of stick & rocks at my ankles or, occasionally, eyes, with lightning precision. You do not suck down anything non-renewable, except perhaps my energy. You are easy to maneuver, and when kept well-oiled, easy to push. I need not fear the dismemberment of my children when you are in use, and in fact can also hear when the children are attempting to dismember each other, thanks to the aforementioned silent running. You don't make my arms vibrate for hours after I'm done. You don't make my head hurt. Yes, it's true, if we fallible humans allow the grass to get too high, you may struggle mightily, and eventually even need rescue. But this fault cannot be laid at your feet--er, wheels, for surely it is only the weakness of humans and the allure of the Wii that allows such events. No, in this and all things, I find you flawless. Truly, you are God's Own Mower. In heaven, the angels use reel mowers.

The Electric Mower
(Warning: drastic change of writing style ahead.) This is the mower I borrowed from my friend. What can I say? It's certainly not as awesome as a reel mower, but when your reel mower is busted, and your grass is nearly one foot high in some places, it's a godsend. Upon reflection, though, its qualities are stranger than I'd originally thought. It starts up delightfully easily. It's not as heavy as a gas mower, so it is easier to maneuver than one, but it's still at least two, if not three, times as heavy as the reel mower. Dealing with the power cord was... well... weird. Not really difficult, just a minor nuisance, but it was just strange to have to constantly be yanking a cord back & forth out of your path. Originally, I was going to say that it doesn't smell terrible like a gas mower, but I realized that this is wrong. It's just a master at displacing its smell. Gas mowers run on gas (duh) but many people forget that electric mowers run on coal (unless you've had your house re-roofed in PVC cells, and you live in Phoenix). So that mower wasn't stinking up my yard, it was stinking up someone else's yard, so really that's okay, right? Oh, no its not, is it. Damn. But still, in the final analysis, I will take an electric over a gas mower any day, hands down, no question. Which brings us too...

The Gas Mower
Comes directly from Hell. Is part of the trials and tribulations assigned to mankind (how much more religious imagery do you think I can shove into this post?). The only, and I mean only good thing I can say about the gas mower is that by emitting a constant stream of brain-cell-killing fumes, you are at least reminded the entire time that your desire to make the land around your house look like a golf course is destroying the world. So there is that. Otherwise, those things can all die in a fire.

Okay, I admit it. I had way too much fun making that graphic.

Of course, I have not addressed my preferred method for dealing with the lawn, which is to get rid of more and more of it every year! I hate lawns! The only flora or fauna they bring are grubs; they take up space that food, or at least flowers, could be growing in, and you have to kill the planet to maintain it (or get a reel mower and be the envy of your neighborhood). The only excuse I can see for lawn is when it is more properly called "pasture." I did offer for my current boss to bring the alpacas over to mow the lawn, but she declined (there's a big, badly trained, dangerous german somethingorother dog a couple of doors down that makes her edgy).

So my current strategy is to fix the reel mower, and continue my quest to eradicate the lawn once and for all. Mwahahahaaa.


  1. Love the graphic; nice work there. I too hate cutting the lawn. I too am out to destroy more of it this year. But we do, sorta, use some of it as "pasture" for our hens, so I'll never be entirely free of mowing chores. There's this little side section too, which is really the only part of our lawn that is sort of public, in the sense that it can be seen from the street. And there's just not much that can be done with that patch. It's on the north side of the house, shady, and narrow by suburban standards. Plus, the old well is there. Between that structure and the proximity of our and our neighbor's house foundations, planting anything with a major root system is right out. I hate mowing it, but can't seem to figure out what else to do with it.

  2. We have an electric mower, too, but when the on/off handle broke, we bought a gas-powered one. But, eventually, my husband figured out how to fix the electric one so that it now just has an on/off switch, which, yes, could be dangerous but we're careful. We have 3/4 acre of lawn and it does take some finesse to get the mower going in the right direction so you don't have to swing that cord out of the way quite so much. But it is so much lighter than the large gas-powered monster that I can practically skip as I mow instead of pushing a boulder up a hill. My husband prefers to use the monster, but I prefer the electric one. Although it is a bit difficult maneuvering around our raised bed gardens with the cord.