"Klotz" As In "Blood"

A Testament to the Insidious Impact of Florida Sunshine on Brain Matter

Monday, July 9, 2007

Lawn To Be Wild

Filed under: News from the Nation's Dicktip — Steve @ 12:07 am

I encountered a story in the Sunday Hurled about injuries resulting from yardwork, but damned if I can find in on-line. However, here’s the stats I wanted to cite, from another source:

According to the results, more than 663,000 people were treated in U.S. emergency rooms for lawn mower injuries between 1996 and 2004. More than 80,000 people required hospital treatment for lawn mower injuries in 2004, which means about 2 out of every 1,000 injury-related emergency room visits is because of a lawn mower injury. The rate is about half the number treated for firearms injuries annually. In addition to strikes from flying projectiles, the most common causes of injury for people over age 15 were non-specific pain after mowing and injuries occurring while servicing the mower. The most common injury requiring hospitalization was fractures of the foot.
— John Hopkins/ Bloomberg School of Public Health

See? Lawn mowers are deadlier than automatic weapons. Garden shears kill more Americans than gravity knives and zip guns combined. The crabgrass covered suburbs are more fucking deadly than the streets of the inner city.

I speak with authority here. I spend most weekends conducting all sorts of gardening activity, and I have virtually zero skills when it comes to lawn equipment. Every time I fire up that mower or weed smacker device, I place entire neighborhoods at risk, like a suicide bomber hollering “Asshole” in a crowded outdoor market.

My lawn isn’t large, but it’s overgrown like a rain forest: royal palms, carpenteria, arecas, rubber trees, bamboo, roses, deadly cacti, a gigantic thorny citrus mutant (sour oranges), and a zillion other natives and non-natives. I spend hours trimming, raking up dead shit, and pulling weeds, let alone mowing. Gets me out in the sun, moving, on my feet. I love yardwork.

scythe.jpgMy routine is to wait until 10 or 11, when the sun is high, before beginning. I wear nothing but shorts — no shoes, no hat, my only concession these days is protective eyewear (almost lost an eye to complications from Lasik 7 years ago, so I’m kind of careful) and sun screen on my nose. Over the years I have removed everything you can imagine from my feet — thorns, broken glass, wasp stingers, pygmies (everybody know that joke? If not, post comment), dog shit, buffo toad parts — I learned that no matter how young, green, and small the hanging fruit, it you run into it head first, it wins, your head loses.

It’s not like I’m irresponsible about sunstroke, bleeding to death, or skin cancer, though. E.g., I know now that when it’s 92 degrees with matching humidity, it’s vital to remain hydrated: drink liquids! That’s why I always take breaks every 40 minutes or so to pound a cold beer. Used to be Rolling Rock, but I swore off when Anheuser Mush bought them out, so now it’s Miller High Life Lite (not “Miller Lite”! Ugh!) or Grolsch, altho Grolsch is kind of heavy for half-blind middle-aged men undertaking strenuous activity involving machinery and sharp edges. Still looking for the ideal lawn-mowing-in-the-stifling-heat brew. I’ll gratefully accept take suggestions, particularly from dieticians and medical professionals.

In all the years I’ve been doing this, always barefoot, I have yet to cut off an entire toe, despite my extreme mechanical incompetence, even while struggling with a weed smacker. I have, however, dislocated bones in my back trying to start a recalcitrant lawn mower. I’ve walked into citrus thorns and bled like the proverbial stuck pig. I’ve disturbed wasps, nesting birds, mosquitoes, fire ants, no-see-ums, snakes, and hung-over neighbors, all of whom have attacked me. And once I developed a hideous rash after climbing a tree and coming into contact with some fuck-all toxic fungus or poison wandering jew or something. Consulting the doctor for treatment, the poor wretch stuffed his hands into his pockets at the sight of my suppurating pustules (a week of steroids cleared it up….and I hit 42 homers that season!).

Especially amusing: the stat on people injuring themselves “servicing the mower.” Once, I forget why, I reached under the mower to figure out why something I thought should happen wasn’t……the blade neatly clipped my index fingertip but I pulled back, thanks to lightning reflexes developed after years of nerve-damaging zaps off my bass guitar. (Usually playing barefoot. Coincidentally.) Cute blood blister, but no amputation. Alert the FBI: my fingerprints are altered. Fucking moron. Beer break!

Some inevitable day Guido and I will find ourselves forced into a condo, and that’ll be the end of my career as a Mexican lawnboy wannabe. With no bleeding, bruises, or broken tools, what will I do with all that free weekend time? Ah, well. At least there’s the cold beer.

P.S. Then there’s THIS guy.

10 Responses to “Lawn To Be Wild”

  1. Hollywood Hal Says:

    The solution to one of your problems is to buy a pair of shoes. Unless you really ENJOY pulling thorns out of your toes.

    But never mind the little stuff. Try Corona. It’s the tasty, refreshing way to invite a sunstroke by imbibing alcohol in the sun.

  2. Lois Terms Says:

    Thanks for the stats. You handed every American male another reason not to get off his ass and mow the lawn.

  3. caveblogem Says:

    I do wish they collected statistics on how many people were intentionally injured by lawn-care equipment, versus how many were intentionally injured by firearms. I was at home depot this weekend (well, like a dozen times, actually) and couldn’t help marveling at the Japanese-style pull-saw, which looks to be a marvelous choice for home defense. I’d put a heavier handle on it, probably a hickory axe handle, though. It’d look like a high-tech version of one of those spiky obsidian things with which the Aztecs attacked Cortes.

  4. Fran G'Panni Says:

    “I wear nothing but shorts….”

    You go commando, too? Run around the front lawn sweating, bleeding, drinking beer, with your balls bouncing around? No wonder the fire ants and neighbors attack.

  5. Dave Says:

    You sound just like me! I even tape the safety bar on the lawn mower so I don’t have to restart the cranky bastard! So Far I haven’t severed a finger or toe, but I did cut my little toe off when I was a kid on those demonic steel sprinkler heads that must be outlawed by now. Fortunately (?) the Doc was able to sew it back on with my Mom screaming in the background. As to Rolling Rock beer, I had a little shack in PA. right near Latrobe and I can tell you all the crusty old locals preferred Yuengling Ale a lot better…me too!

  6. Ted End Says:

    What’s the joke about pygmies?

  7. Rollo Nickels Says:

    I call BULLSHIT! Only reason you like running around barefoot in your sweltering little jungle is it reminds you of your primordial not-too-distant past. Maybe you’ll discover the actual rock you crawled out from under. Bullshit! BULLSHIT!!

  8. steve Says:

    Hal: I hate shoes. Whatever grief I encounter barefoot is worth the joy of feeling the lawn. BTW — I left “burning cigarette butts” off the list, as well as searing hot asphalt.

    Lois: always happy to defend the integrity of lazy-ass men.

    caveblogem: Excellent point. I absolutely will not touch a chain saw because it’s CERTAIN I’ll maul myself, but plenty of my neighbors own them, and I marvel that there aren’t more limbless (or lifeless) residents. But this is Florida, so most of them have guns stashed away anyhow. Why play with a pitchfork when you have a Glock?

    Fran: Yes. Come see for yourself. Bring peanuts.

    Dave: taping the safety bar! What a great idea! Thanks! Would leave a hand free for a beer and hustling my nuts, right Fran? btw — Rolling Rock was my passion, altho Yuengling is okay, too. Just steer clear of the Iron City, right?

    Rollo: nice to see you back at last. I was afraid your bullshit detector was broken.

  9. Klotz's shoes Says:

    We’re not crazy about HIM, either. His feet stink, and he’s pigeon toed. Last we looked, sometime in the middle ’90s.

  10. Verticus Says:

    Lawn mowing is becoming a lost art. I did it as a kid in Miami but my kids won’t get near one. They’ll never know the frustration of trying to yank a gas engine into life on a hot summer’s day. I don’t miss it at all. Thanks for reminding me of my blessings.

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