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Another Lawn Lesson

 I mowed the lawn again yesterday.  It had gotten pretty shaggy.  To be honest I have a very laissez-faire (very leave alone?  You either leave it alone or you don’t, eh) approach to lawncare.  I weed by hand when I feel like it.  I’ve fertilized it twice, but not completely, I did one section last fall and one section earlier this spring, leaving about half the lawn unfertilized.  I don’t study the stuff I’m supposed to - nitrogen, magnesium, you know, I’ll probably never be head greenskeeper.  We have no sprinklers, so in the summer if it doesn’t rain the lawn turns brown.  It comes back, though.  I have complete faith in the recuperative powers of nature.  Up to a point.

My neighbor (well, one of my neighbors) has a different approach to lawncare.  I’d dare say opposite, but I’m trying to move away from the whole us/them, good/bad mentality.  Reagan died yesterday and I can only see this causing more polarization.  Maybe I’m just being pessimistic, I haven’t heard anyone suggest we change the name of Washington, D.C. to Reaganland yet, so maybe those that loved “The Great Communicator” so much will at least restrain their adoration if not acknowledge that his intellectual heir, George W. Bush, (you can laugh now) has taken the role of benign ignoramus to frightening new heights.  My neighbor spreads fertilizer on his lawn (nice segue, eh), brown, smelly steer manure.  He has a gardener, well, a guy in a truck.  He might even have a landscape architect, I’ve seen him standing with a guy, plans in hand, sweeping gestures across his yard.  But, that might have been the guy who built his fence.  Two big fences now block the north and south borders of his property.  We couldn’t quite figure it out, and then on Friday I saw him drive home with a new Porsche SUV and I realized he was a mouse.  You know the joke, an elephant comes upon a mouse stuck in a ditch.  The mouse screams up, “Help me, get me out of here.”  The elephant looks around for a vine to throw down to him, nothing; he tries sticking his trunk down, but it’s too short; then an idea strikes him, he pulls out his penis and extends it down to the mouse.  The mouse is a bit taken aback, but he’s been in the ditch for a long time and will do anything to get out.  So, up he climbs and he’s free.  “Thank you, oh thank you, I’ll never forget this, how can I repay you,” he says to the elephant.  “No problem,” says the elephant, “Don’t worry about it, I’m happy to help.”  And they part ways.  Well, time passes and as fate would have it (I used to think jokes had many more coincidences like this than real life, but I’ve come to see more of them in my life, or maybe my life is just becoming more of a joke) the elephant falls into the very same ditch.  He can’t quite muster the combination of turgidity and tensile strength needed to pull himself out of the ditch with the same tool used to help the mouse, and he sits for days.  Finally, who comes along but the very same mouse.  He quickly recognizes the predicament, shouts words of encouragement down to the elephant and dashes off.  Hours pass.  At last, the elephant hears the familiar roar of a Porsche engine.  The mouse jumps out, ties one end of a rope to the back bumper throwing the other down to the elephant, who holds on tight and, to that powerful purring sound of German engineering, the elephant is pulled to safety.  Debt repaid, everyone lives happily ever after.  The moral of the story: If you drive a Porsche you don’t need a big penis.

So, I was mowing my shaggy lawn, thinking weeds are really a good thing for a lawn.  I mulch, I have a mulching mower - a Toro Super Recycler Mower Model 20037 with a 6.5 hp GTS Engine that my wife gave me for Father’s Day last year.  You can throw chemicals on your lawn and try to kill all the weeds and then spread manure and new seeds and hope to have a nice homogenous green, or, you can take the Wenker Approach and let the weeds and lawn grow, mulch them back into the lawn and then let the weeds and the grass fight it out for supremacy.  It’s Darwinian – if the grass is stronger it will push out the weeds.  Well, it’s modified Darwinian because my wife makes me pull the really big ugly weeds (did I say it was My Lawn?  It’s Our Lawn, of course).  Apply this mentality to geopolitics and I think you probably see my point. 

Do I need to do the dot connecting, too.  This is why these articles are so darn long.  Reagan’s addled mind saw the world in black and white.  Evil there, good here.  Bush II is even more extreme, 40 years from now we’ll see images of an old, feeble Laura Bush mourning the loss of her soulmate (sniff), while people contemplate his contribution to the world (Dangerous Ideologue or Cowboy Columbus spreading new ideas to closed lands).  The truth as me and my lawn see it, is that life isn’t black and white, it’s all shades of green - clover and fescue and dandelions and perennial broadleaf – all combining in a chaotic yet beautiful tapestry.  There are “good” elements in society and there are “bad” but systematic separation of the two and a dogmatic determination to eliminate what some think are “bad” for the collective “good” will leave you with a wan yellow lawn unable to survive the harsh reality of nature.  All of this occurred to me as I was sucking down the exhaust from my Toro (does anyone know if methanol can be used in a Toro engine, anyone…) trying to figure out distribution of corn-based fuel to run lawnmowers (does anyone think McDonald’s would branch out into fuel distribution?  They could take all their old French fry grease and sell it to people who have lawnmowers outfitted to run on such.  If lawnmowers can run on it, cars could too [oh, wait, they already do].  Just think, future road trips could require just one pit stop to take care of both filling the tank [with French fry grease] and filling the belly [with French fries, or are they freedom fries, now?]).  Do people really want to drive cars that use a cleaner fuel?  People Do.  Will someone please make this happen.

Yeah, you’re right - I’m lazy.  I’m too lazy to do it myself, and I’m too lazy to pull weeds and I really really really want a Porsche.  Because, let’s face it, as much as it’s used as a status symbol, it is just a well made car and you have to admire craftsmanship whenever you see it these days.  And, come to think about it, is there anything wrong with status symbols.  If being able to purchase something you are proud of makes you work harder and provide for your family better and gives you a sense of worth, then who am I to belittle it.  It’s hard enough to get by in this world without some little man driving a Volkswagen making me feel bad about my Porsche SUV.  And, really, as long as we’re on the subject, what’s wrong with the SUV?  If we don’t approach crisis, we’ll never need to come up with a better solution.  So, we should use as much gasoline as possible as fast as possible to force someone on this planet to come up with a better alternative.  We all need deadlines.  And speaking of deadlines and planets, what’s so great about this one?  Planet, I mean.  We should be spending ten times the amount of money we are exploring Mars because it’s apparent there’s water there, and by gum, I don’t know of any other planet in the solar system with a clean, large, and naturally purifying supply of water.  OK, I’m going to very leave this alone now.  All’s fair that ends fair, or all’s fair in love and war and peace.  Out.

Jeff Wenker