August 1995 – Sincerely Sire Newsletter


The Sounds of Silence


I’ve noticed lately that gasoline powered leaf blowers follow me around.  Vacuum cleaners, garbage trucks, airplanes, and car alarms I can deal with, but these blowing contraptions are driving me nuts. 


They’re everywhere at once; at my house, at the gym, at the supermarket, at my office, everywhere.  I’ll be on an important phone call, standing in front of a window, and from out of nowhere ERRRRRRR, one of those babies will crank up and start howling like a Sherman tank.  Or it’s seven o’clock in the morning and the gardener starts up on the neighbor’s lawn behind us, first the power mower and then, inevitably, the power blower.  They drone on and on and on, blowing their little guts out.


When I was a kid, about thirty-five or so years ago, if you would have seen one of those things strapped on somebody’s back (a power blower, not a power mower) you would have thought the Martians had landed.


Ah, yes, when I was a kid.  When I was a kid I cut the lawn with a push mower.  I’d tear off my T-Shirt on a hot summer’s day and my bony little ribs would stick out like a starving dog as I huffed and puffed and pushed that old lawn mower through the thick green grass.  Sometimes it would be so thick I’d have to get a running start and I’d chop the grass a few inches at a time.  But, shoot, I didn’t care.  I’d take four or five lemonade breaks and make an afternoon of it.  My mom would come out every once in a while and tell me what a great job I was doing.  I was doing a man’s work, she’d say, and I’d feel like I was a man.  We had one of those hand edgers too, but I hardly ever used it.  I was too tired and hungry by the time I finished cutting the lawn.  I was ready for a bologna sandwich with mustard on white Wonder bread.


The kid next door usually cut his lawn the same day as I did.  He was a couple of years older than me and did a much better job than I did.  He’d edge the whole lawn with hand clippers. When was the last time you’ve seen that done? 


I liked him a lot.  His name was JR (I never did find out what it stood for).  But as good as JR was at mowing the grass he was a better whistler.  He’d whistle the whole time he worked.  Let me tell you, that son of a gun was the best darn whistler I’ve ever heard.  Now if he would of had a power mower he probably never would’ve whistled in the first place, and even if he would have I couldn’t have heard him anyway.


When I finished cutting the lawn I’d sweep up the freshly cut grass with a broom.  It wasn’t even a push broom, just a regular old, back and forth, straw broom.  There’s a certain satisfaction that one gets sweeping up grass that you’ve just cut on a hot summer’s day with no shirt on and your ribs are all sticking out of your skinny little body and you’re sweatin’ and your mom just told you were doing a man’s work and you’re just a kid and you’re feeling like you’re doing something really important and you’re doing it well.  A satisfaction that all is right with the world and everything is going to be okay.


Just think how much quieter and more peaceful it would be if we didn’t have any power mowers or power blowers.  Sure, it would take a lot longer to cut the lawn, but what’s the hurry anyway?  Think of all the new job opportunities.  And gardeners and homeowners alike would whistle while they worked and drink lemonade too.  There’d be less pollution.  People wouldn’t be so stressed out.  They’d fight less and mow more.  People would have a feeling of self-worth.  World peace would break out, or, then again - - - would people just let their lawns go?


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