Grass cutting fun

Posted on July 16, 1999

In today's society, there are two groups of people — ones who get paid to cut grass and ones who cut grass only because it's their duty to the country. Actually there's a third, smaller group of people, composed mostly of apartment dwellers, kids and travel agents. But they, too, have either had to cut the grass or will in the future.

Before modern lawnmowers were brought to the United States by Marco Polo, homeowners used push mowers. One resembled blender blades, only it was to be used on grass instead of in pudding. They were durable, but took even the strongest person at least three weeks to cut a yard. In the early ‘70s, all push mowers were gathered, melted down and used to build the international space station.

Riding lawnmowers have become as popular as Chicken McNuggets. The only difference is you cut grass with them, and they don't come with sauce. Although it seems slightly boring riding around on your front lawn, it sure beats walking around in dark socks, plaid shorts and a shirt that reads, "Next gas station — 600 miles."

But a problem still lingers — keeping yards manicured. My aunt, who inspired me to write this column but will not receive royalties from it, says her neighbors nag daily to cut her yard. She replies, "It will only grow back." This syndrome is commonly referred to as Gremlin complex, fearing that watering or feeding your grass after midnight will result in more headaches to come.

On the other hand, my brother keeps a watchful eye of anticipation to cut the grass again. The catch — he gets paid for it. So he'll oftentimes water the grass right after cutting it, and occasionally, he'll tape tall grass blades on the yard's outskirts for a I-need-to-be-cut-again appearance. Miracle Gro is also not out of the question.

In Crawfordsville, residents must keep their yards mowed due to an ordinance passed earlier this year. If your yard is deemed a jungle, you will receive a fine, but the city will cut your yard. My guess is, it would be cheaper to hire a kid to cut the yard rather than pay the fine, which is the equivalent of 40 oxen and a jelly doughnut.

Lawn services can be profitable for teen-agers who aren't yet old enough to work behind a counter. My brother and I started one when I was 13. We had one customer. We made $25. After splitting it, we had enough to put some gas in the mower and buy a few baseball cards. The ambitious kids got all the good yards in the neighborhood. We gave up and decided to spend long summer days prank calling people instead. This was before the caller-ID days, of course.

Although grass cutting isn't quite as fun as Skee Ball, it should be taken somewhat seriously. But don't ridicule your neighbors just because their grass is ankle high. If it irritates you that much, go cut it yourself. It's your duty, and maybe your neighbor will be nice enough to share some of that tapioca pudding.