Yard Work Not for the Faint at Heart

Out to Lunch, 2001

It begins in March.out to lunch

Otherwise manly men are reduced to humiliated husks of their former selves, sniveling and cowering before the hideous ogre that beats them down in May, makes them whine for mother in July, and by September has them eating quiche and putting the toilet seat down.

It rears its ugly head seeking whom it may devour, and calls itself Yard Work.

Oh, sure, men may say they enjoy working the yard, but that’s only true as long as there are dishes to wash, diapers to change, toilets to clean. Keep in mind that men also say we don’t care which way the toilet paper is put on the roll.

And when a football game is on television, you’d better believe that working in the yard suddenly ranks below listening to John Tesh’s gymnastics commentary (“you’ve got to understand the histrionics of the apparatus”).

Nevertheless, the whole thing is quite brilliant in its conception. Men were able to make Yard Work, a chore as appealing as bedtime stories told by Janet Reno, endurable by devising an entire industry of power tools to use. Anything can be fun if it involves rotating blades powered by a gas motor.

Power trimmers, power edgers weed whackers, chain saws, power blowers, mowers, tillers. You name it — you can probably plug it in or gas it up and use it in the yard.

Were it not for mechanized lawn implements, my yard would resemble a wildlife preserve, and that leaking faucet out back would provide just enough excuse for some federal agency to confiscate the area as an endangered wetland. I can just see Marlin Perkins whipping around in an air boat, describing the habitat while avoiding power poles and the neighbor’s storage shed.

Making use of available yard tools, I’ve devised the Faircloth Method of Lawn Care, which is simple in design but highly dependent upon motorized implements. The equipment necessary to excel in the Faircloth Method are a chainsaw, a riding lawnmower, and several hundred gallons of weed killer.

The Method is as follows:

  1. Whack it down with the chainsaw
  2. Run it over with the mower
  3. Douse it real good with weed killer
  4. Repeat as needed.

My theory is that if it can’t be done with a chainsaw and mower, it’s more suited for the lawn of a music mogul in Malibu Beach.

Unfortunately, though, there are some things even the Faircloth Method won’t remedy. For quite some time, I have believed that kudzu was the cockroach of the plant world, able to survive nuclear holocaust and IRS audits.

Not anymore.

Beating out kudzu for top honors in that category is the awesome wisteria. Your heard right: wisteria. It looks innocent enough, but is actually demon spawn from the pit of Hades.

I disposed of unwanted wisteria vine/plant/tree/bush following the protocol of the Faircloth Method of Lawn Care. It came back.

Perceiving the need for creative pruning, I soaked the glorified weed in gasoline for 48 hours, then set it all on fire. It came back. It went into redeployment mode and came back 20 feet away, then reacquired its base of operations and came back in the center.

I event treated the thing with Aunt Matilda’s bean dip, which is ordinarily potent enough to melt the tiles off the Space Shuttle.

If only Wal-Mart carried napalm in the garden section…

Now, if you’ll excuse me, my quiche is getting cold and I left the toilet seat up.

Rob Faircloth was once trapped in a wisteria vine for three days.

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