Well, it finally happened: Mom had to Photoshop over my bald spot. I knew this day would come. Having your mom artificially enhance your head in photographs is just a part of growing up in the Information Age, like getting spammed with emails about non-accredited university diplomas made out of Viagra that also lower your mortgage if you just confirm your credit card number.
Now that I’m beginning to show my age, I suppose it’s important to start caring about grown-up things, such as the Dow Jones, Golden Girls reruns, and the grass-to-weed ratio of my lawn.
Someone recently noted that the greenery on my lawn is not grass, as I had believed, but is actually just a collection of weeds cut to grass-like length. I say “someone” said this rather than coming right out and telling you that it was my father-in-law, because we’ve only been family for less than a year, and I’m not sure we’re to the stage where it’s okay to talk about him in the newspaper. So just to play it safe for now, I’m sticking with “someone.”
Occasionally, I’ll look at my collection of dandelions and crabgrass and wonder if I should try to do something about it. I wonder internally, of course, because if I wondered out loud, my wife Kara might hear me, and then she’d start expecting something to actually happen. I’ve learned the hard way to keep these kinds of thoughts to myself.
The deficient nature of our yard is brought to our attention nearly every day by the fliers that lawn companies keep hanging on our front door. A lawn company leaving a flier on our door is like a gym owner walking up to an overweight guy and stuffing a brochure in his pocket. I’m aware of the problem, okay. If I want help, I’ll ask for it.
Besides, I think dandelions are pretty. And when they get all puffy, I like to wave them around and pretend that the seeds are little parachuting people. You can’t do that with boring old grass.
Lawn commercials almost always show middle-aged men beaming over their lush, weedless lawns. The sexist undercurrent is slightly disturbing, like the kitchen cleanser commercials that show women dancing through the house because they’re so jazzed at the thought of killing more bacteria, but I worry more that I’m missing some basic Y-chromosome gene that’s supposed to make me give a hooey about the virility of the grass around our house.
I think that the real problem here is that the media is making me feel inadequate by propagating unrealistic images of what a lawn should look like. It’s impossible to have greenery shaped that perfectly in real life. Those lawns on TV obviously all had professional work done to them. It’s unnatural.
One very effective way to get around having to make excuses for a bad lawn is to give some of it back to nature. Kara and I inadvertently did this after moving into our house a couple years ago. We had too many other things to worry about, such as erupting toilets, and a roof that merely slowed the rain down on its way to our carpet, to worry too much about the plant succession occurring just outside our cracked windows.
Without bringing in a team of archeologists to confirm, I can only assume that the area under the vines and pricker bushes used to be some sort of garden or flower bed. Since we let it go wild, though, I’m scared to get too close to it. Last week, I saw a feral tulip stalking the neighbors’ cat.