Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Lord of the Flies
I was once an extremely fervent Boy Scout, proudly flouting a badge-filled merit sash, achieving the rank of both Patrol Leader and Life Scout. I rubbed sticks together and slept in tents and makeshift cabins and ran through the woods hiding from the hairy fellow scout who was trying to engage me in some rather scary, ahem, wrestling. Point is, I dug the outdoors, the fresh air, swimming, climbing trees, nature at it’s finest. That was then, this is now. I don’t care if the only outdoors I ever see is that 2-minute block between my car and the next building door entrance. I despise the beach scene, with little kids kicking sand in everyone’s tuna sandwiches, Frisbees belting you in the back of the neck, a view that includes a far too wide array of body types who just simply shouldn’t have even thought about beachwear, and the trek from parking lot to towel spot, as long, sweaty, and arid as anything any recruit in the French Foreign Legion ever had to endure. I detest running, and runners, plodding down suburban streets with looks of determination that resemble George Bush trying to read a chapter of Don deLillo’s Libra, fitted up in outfits more ludicrous than the worst hip-hop attire, and most of them making faces more farcical than the great Jerry Lewis ever created in his heyday. But what I really loath, absolutely abhor, what fills me with curdled, poisonous, black hearted, astringent hatred is mowing the lawn. It’s an abominable act, a crime against humanity, a life strangling waste of time, thought, and physical motion. I vowed a long, long time ago to never mow a lawn, and I kept my sacred pledge through two marriages and many different abodes. My third wife, the good one, purchased some fancy-dancy lawn mower last year under the auspices of mowing the lawn herself, after we had hired and fired a series of misfit lawn guys who woke us up on holidays at 7:00 am, turned our healthy front yard tree into a diseased mini-behemoth, showed up three weeks after they promised to cut a lawn that now looked like a Argentinian jungle, or who kept increasing the blackmail price of the ole lawnkeep with absolutely no rhyme or reason. You can guess the final sad and sorry result-somehow last Saturday I found myself under the harsh, terrifying, suburban spotlight I’ve long dreaded (and avoided) for over 30 plus strong, manly years, pushing an infernal four wheeled noise machine across some grass, cutting logical geometric patterns in full view of a whole passel of neighborhood slo-mo car drivers, healthy bikers, dog walkers, baby pushers, ass-sniffers, RFK conspiracy buffs, Kansas City Royal followers, Sting worshippers, Rob Schneider fan club members, Rachel Ray recipe users, and Ovaltine swillers, all the while pressing myself to actually force a fake friendly nod in the direction of my next door lawn-obsessed neighbor (who spends more time bending over his immaculate lawn than a priest does in front of an altar boy), the same guy who is always out there swathed in some kind of Arabian pants that might be pajamas or maybe a moth eaten and moldy piece protected and saved from the long defunct MC Hammer clothing line, a bald-headed regular Joe who never seems to work, just washes his car, starts his motorcycle up in the driveway and revs it every fifteen minutes just so I can’t hear what non-baseball subject Jerry Remy and Don Orsillo have lapsed into, a guy I’d have to guess by looking at his extremely frightening black-wigged, waxen, Cranstonian, Italian-American, witch-like wife, that could very well be (has to be) a cross-dressing chicken fucker who gets off watching Olive Oyl showing her ankle to Popeye and Bluto while sloshing bleach around his immaculate basement work center, where, right above the sparkling, glimmering, gleaming set of barbells that haven’t been touched or moved since 1989 sits a full array of weird, hair-raising lawn tools of every size and shape, all oiled and well-used and seemingly vibrating with an inanimate anticipation of their next shot at cutting, trimming, or shearing the goddamned green, green grass of home. I hate the smell of cut grass in the morning.