I hope my wife doesn’t read this column. I’m probably going to reveal some hidden secrets about the male psyche that I’ll regret later.
For years we’ve argued over the mowing of our lawn. She always thinks the grass isn’t cut low enough; I argue that you have to leave it fairly high to keep it healthy.
She also thinks I don’t mow it often enough; I tell her I want to allow it “ample time and space to grow.”
Then the other day I finally had to sell our old rider mower. The 10-year-old heap was costing me more in maintenance than a professional landscaper.
We had agreed beforehand that we’d take some of the money from the sale and spring for a new push mower.
I brought the new Sears model home one night after a long day at work and sat down to put it together. It was advertised as “No assembly required,” which translates into “should take less than two hours to get it running.”
I had it all assembled by 7 pm. That meant I just had enough time to try it out while there was still light out.
By the time darkness fell my lawn was looking like the 15th green at Rhode Island Country Club.
I realized something terrible that night: I had actually enjoyed mowing the lawn for the first time in years, simply because I was forming a bond with our new mower.
Once the novelty wears off, I’ll probably retreat into my old philosophy of “allowing the grass ample time to grow.”
What is it with men and machines? With men and tools?
Frankly stated, there seems to be some kind of a tool gene that we are born with. Look around yourself at the Sears store. The men are all examining the teeth on the power saws, while the women are down in the fabric section.
Where this all comes from I have no idea. Maybe it harkens back to the time we spent in the caves with nothing to do but sharpen our stone axes and throw bones at our dogs.
When my son was only six months old he saw me using a screwdriver and let out a piercing howl and lunged after the screwdriver. Remember, he was six months old. I went out and bought him a plastic one but he wouldn’t have anything to do with it – as if he was born with a native aversion to plastic.
Of course, now that he’s 21 the only tools he keeps company with are the CD player and the cell phone.)
So this is the secret that I referred to in the opening sentence: Wives, if you want to get your husband busy out on that front lawn, the answer is to buy him a new tool. Then watch the fun.