Male enhanced mowing
By Bobby Neal Winters
Because I have an extensive network of infiltrators, I am aware my readers in Oklahoma have been mowing for a couple of weeks now, but here in our little corner of Kansas because of our more northerly location, the start of the season comes a little later. After a winter like the one we had, we need to know there’s something good about living up north.
As I write this, it is the Thursday of spring break. It has been a long tradition that spring break is either the last bitterly cold week of the year or the first rainy week of the year. This year we followed the second pattern and have received abundant warm rain. The effect of this has been to bring out the leaves on some of the less conservative trees and to bring up the grass. As a consequence, the mowing season will soon be upon us, and it is time for those of us who’ve learned the value of preparation to ready ourselves for that eventuality.
At the beginning of last year, I was of the opinion that I was at a turning point in my mowing life. For many years, I had contented myself with a 3.5 horsepower mower, but after much consideration as to whether such a loathsome sinner as me was worthy, I made the move of going to a 4.5 horsepower machine. It was a honey, let me tell you, and I came to call it Little Darlin’.
Little Darlin’ cut my mowing time by one-third and used less gas in the bargain. This was because I didn’t have to pickup the youngest child’s toys anymore. I could just mow over them, and no sign of them would ever be found.
“You’re looking for your soccer ball? No, I haven’t seen it.”
But I let it go to my head. I got cocky and forgot the cardinal rule of mowing: Stumps aren’t toys. On the very last mowing of the year, I found the stump of a cedar tree I’d cut down several years ago. They say trees aren’t intelligent, and naturally you’d think that stumps were even less so, yet I believe this stump was seeking revenge. It has done this to me before, so the argument can be made it’s smarter than I am. Maybe it’s not smart, but something else is true.
I try to live a good life, the way folks on TV tell me, but I keep getting mixed messages. We are taught we should recycle and repair, and I believe that, yet when I went to my Names and Numbers yellow pages I could only find one lawnmower repair man, Bob by name. I gave Bob a call and all I got was a recording. Bob, it seems, is no longer in business. In a world market where the folks in China can make it cheaper than folks in Kansas can fix it, I suppose this is a natural thing, but there just some sort of wrongness about it.
In any case, in spite of all my good intentions, I was forced to buy a new mower for the second straight year. This was a good time for it because it seems the lawnmower business is undergoing a paradigm shift. What I mean to say is that last year, everything I looked at was listed by horsepower, but this year there are many models that are only listed by CC. There were 148CC engines, 160CC engines, and so forth.
You must understand that this puts me in a quandary because I don’t really know what any of this technical jargon means. Even the horsepower thing I only use with the idea that bigger is better with the vague idea that is has something to do with the amount of work a horse could do. It’s sort of like Smilin’ Bob in all of those male enhancement commercials. (Maybe male enhancement just means he can burp louder than he did before.) Ego wouldn’t let me take the chance that I might be slipping back a notch on my mower, so I got a machine that was listed with both horsepower and CCs. It is 6.5 horsepower and 190 CCs.
I am taking a real chance by going up by 2 horses in one year, but my ego needs it having lost my Little Darlin’ so soon. I think that subconsciously I’m hoping to get a machine powerful enough to do to stumps what Little Darlin’ could do to toys.
But I get the feeling if I try to find out I will be writing this article again next year.
(Bobby Winters is a Professor of Mathematics at Pittsburg State University, writer, and speaker. You may contact him at email@example.com. )