A few days back, I looked out the back window of the Jowers house and saw that the grass had gotten a little too tall. Not tall enough to hide a rabbit or a snake, but tall enough to need a cut. So I went to my shed and freed my postmodern lawn mower — the one with the lights and buttons and switches — from its trickle charger. But after a few seconds of eyeballing the newish mower, which looks like a giant cicada on wheels, I couldn't stop myself from glancing over at my slightly neglected 17-year-old Ryobi Mulchinator. You've got to love a machine that lasts as long as grammar school and high school put together. Out of curiosity, I turned the ancient Mulchinator over on her side, just to see if she still had a useful blade. As it turns out, she did. The blade was rusty, but it looked good enough to cut my shaggy quarter-acre.
As the Mulchinator lay on her side, I saw water seeping out of her battery compartment. It was floodwater, from May 2. It smelled like flood, like so many things I've smelled for the last 10 weeks. All the mulch in my neighborhood smells like flood. All over town, there's flood funk. There's flood funk with a barbecue-sauce smell, there's basement flood funk that smells like stagnant water along with rust and dust. And there's kitchen-sink water and hosepipe water that smell like sulfur.
The neighbor girl says it all smells like Mexico.
But I digress. For those of you who don't know, the Ryobi Mulchinator appeared sometime in 1993. It was the first cordless battery-powered mower I'd ever seen, and it cost me about $400 at the time. The cost was reasonable, because I didn't want to fool with the gas, oil, spark plugs, mufflers, cranking cords, noise and stink that come with gas-powered mowers. Since I got the Mulchinator, I've bought about $300 worth of batteries for her and had her push handle welded once. I figure each mow has cost me about two bucks.
Mulchinators fell out of favor in 1995, when Ryobi and the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recalled the mowers. Now you might be wondering: "Why would the Ryobi and the Feds recall a perfectly useful lawn mower?" Well, it had something to do with some Mulchinators' start buttons sticking in the on position, and knucklehead mower jockeys sticking their fingers into the mower blade just to see if the thing was running. Nine people cut their fingers, according to the CPSC. They did it messing around with lawn mowers that had a deadman's switch, which if you just let it go, turns the lawn mower off. And, there's a removable plug-in key that has the same effect. Simply put, a person couldn't hurt himself with a Mulchinator unless he bypassed two simple safety devices.
I feel a duty to offer some suggestions for people who can't run a lawn mower without chopping off body parts, like my South Carolina neighbor, Timmy, who set free some of his toes without really meaning to.
• Don't test the lawn mower blade with your fingers and toes. Use a banana instead.
• Resist the urge to shove a stick — or anything else — into the whirling blade, because a flying stick could put your eye out.
• If you're lame enough to get into mowing trouble, just turn off the mower, or get somebody else to turn it off for you. If you can't do that, just walk away and let the mower run out of gas or battery power.
All that said, experience tells me that any man who can't master a lawn mower — especially a battery-powered one — will always be in some kind of trouble. He's guaranteed to spend his days crashing cars, setting the bacon grease on fire, causing domestic disturbances and getting handcuffed.
While I'm thinking about mowers, lawn care and such: Will somebody please tell me when and why all the residential half-acre lawn-mowing work got subbed out to guys who ride red mowers the size of hang gliders? These monster mowers make more noise than a New York jackhammer. And who hired their little buddy, the guy with the loud nuclear-powered leaf blower? I say get yourself a quiet little battery-powered mower and pick up a rake once in a while. It costs less, annoys less and stinks less.
And just so y'all will know, the 17-year-old Mulchinator full of floodwater started right up and leveled out the Jowers grass.
Funny how the UK functions just fine with public financing of campaigns.
Well, there he goes again, ranting like a crazed old woman, loud and blustery, saying…
". And now the Obama phone cost to the nation is $2 billion."
wvfii: Quit repeating the lie. Romney paid his taxes, remember now. He paid a lot…
>>a good Mayor like Karl Dean<<
Oh, sweet jesus, you've GOT to be kidding!!!!…