There are some things I do because I simply enjoy doing them. Eating Oreo cookies would fall squarely into that category. So would cabinet-making and doing crossword puzzles. There are a few other things I could add to that list but in order to save space and preserve some illusion of respectability, we’ll let it go at that.
One thing that does not go on that list is mowing the yard. I don’t push that cheap little grass grazing device of mine around the yard because I enjoy doing it. I mow the yard because it has to be mowed. I mow the yard because I don’t want the neighbors to think I’m a lazy, degenerate fink who has no pride, self-respect or any sense of neighborly consideration. It would be an exaggeration to say I hate mowing the yard. It would not, however, be prevarication of congressional magnitude.
My lack of enthusiasm for mowing the yard gives me a genuine disdain for “water grass.” I have no idea what it’s properly called; that’s what my dear ole daddy called it so that’s what I call it.
The blades are very soft, the color is rich and in hot, wet weather, it grows as if fueled by steroids and meth. All exaggeration aside, to keep a well-kept appearance in the weather we’ve had this summer, I’d have to mow the stuff every three days. It is so thick and well, watery, that it constantly plugs the discharge chute on the mower and sticks like wet cement to the mower housing. But… it sure feels good to walk over with bare feet and makes a fine-looking yard from the street for the first few hours after it’s mowed.
Like a few other things in my life, I put up with it because getting rid of it and replacing it with something better would be a lot of work. Sometimes what we pretend is tolerance is really just some appreciable degree of laziness. In our back yards and in our society, we sometimes convince ourselves that the fight just isn’t worth it. And so we keep mowing the confounded water grass, wishing we had a nice thick sod of bluegrass.
And consoling ourselves with the comforting deception, “Well, at least it’s grass and not thistles.”
Not yet, it’s not. But if we keep choosing the easy alternatives—in our own lives and in our culture—we will find that the thistles are not only coming, they’re taking over.