By Bobby Neal Winters
I came home from work last Monday evening, changed clothes, started up the mower, and mowed the front yard. I got hot and stopped until I cooled off, which happened this Saturday morning. I try to take care of my lawn and not just when I get those letters the city send out when the neighbors complain. (I know who you are and I know what you did.) Mowing, as you may recall, is my last chance to get into heaven. I’ve given up on faith and I’ve given up on works, so a good lawn is the only path left.
This time of year, though, keeping your lawn up can be dangerous. When you mow out in the heat, you can get overheated before you know it. This can have dire consequences. If the city can get on your case for having a pile of brush, what are they going to do for having an unburied body on the front lawn? And it’s not like your kids are going to take care of it either. Your wife would be stuck with the job. That is if you are not like Mark Sanford, Governor of the great state of South Carolina.
It is my opinion that every man should live his life in such a way so that his wife would give CPR to him if he fell of heat prostration while mowing. I am thinking that breathing life into her husband’s hot, sweaty body might not be a high priority with her right now. But then perhaps if the dear governor had been spending more time on his own lawn (wink-wink, nod-nod) he wouldn’t have strayed off on the Appalachian Trail, as it were.
Having mentioned that, I’ve got to wonder how his Argentine girlfriend liked being referred to as the Appalachian Trail. It’s curvy and beautiful from a distance, but up close it’s full of bugs and a lot of guys have hiked it before you. (Wink-wink, nod-nod.)
It brings me to mind of the wealthy and powerful Eliot Spitzer, who paid over four-thousand dollars for what our boys in khaki could get for a pair of nylons and a couple of Hershey bars back during WWII. I’ve shared with you before the remarks from the table at Rotary when that story was broken, but they are too precious not to share again.
“Four-thousand dollars an hour? What do you do for four-thousand dollars?”
“An hour? What do you do for a whole hour?”
But I digress.
My point is that one of the ways that lawn care gets us into heaven is by keeping us out of such mischief. If you are pushing a mower, trying to avoid stepping in any of the “presents” left by the family dog, then you are not thinking about “hiking the Appalachian Trail” as it were. And what is more, if, when you are done with your chore your wife should bring you a tall glass of iced Fresca—on her own without you asking—you couldn’t possibly image straying from the straight-and-narrow road.
But, like I said earlier, you’ve got to be careful when you’re mowing in this hot weather. Avoid getting over-heated, but when you do stop and take a break. If you have a large task, break it up into smaller tasks and take a break to cool off between them. And most importantly, don’t do anything to annoy the person whom might have to give you CPR.
(Bobby Winters is Assistant Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Professor of Mathematics, and Interim Chair of the Department of Chemistry. It’s a long story. )