Bob Higgins

As Long As You Have Your Health, Mow The Lawn

Posted in Politics by Bob Higgins on July 11, 2006

I want to report to you on today’s rare but regularly scheduled meeting of the Bar stool Academy of Science which holds it’s sessions from 3:00 to 5:00 on days that end with the letter Y.

From three to five may seem to most to be somewhat longer than the average hour, and most would be right, if they have failed to allow for relativistic effects (Relativistic effects of time fully explained) and the size of the gas tank on my lawn mower.

Actually, due to some ongoing health problems, back, knees, lungs, heart, vascular system, pesky things really, chronic arthritic pain, shortness of  breath and chest pains being, perhaps the peskiest, but I digress. Due to these health limitations my bride insists that I not mow the lawn and that I curtail my daily cosmological investigations and consultations with the usual suspects at the pool hall, which is where this august gathering is held.

When I prepared to leave for my daily seminar earlier today the bride objected and stated that the beers and the smoke in the atmosphere of the Academy meeting room might be deleterious to my health. Actually she said:

“That Damn pool hall will end up killing you”


I objected back that my dogged and devoted pursuit of the secrets of the natural and social world was critically important and worth the risk of a few beers (the scientific community around here tips a a few jars) and the short term  inhalation of the hearty yet, somewhat viscous, pool room vapors. Her reply:

“Well, if you’re feeling that frisky, mow the lawn before you go kill yourself on a bar stool.”

Somewhere in that single, simple, declarative sentence, I believe, lies the key to unlocking the ancient and arcane secrets of the logical processes of the mind of the fairest gender.

Just seconds ago she was worried that sitting on a bar stool in the somewhat noxious atmosphere of the pool hall would bring about my demise, and  now she insists that before I pursue the first dangerous activity, I must take the much greater risk of pushing a lawn mower in the hot sun, on a high pollution day, in my somewhat weakened condition. I fired an answering broadside in her direction:

“OK Honey”

I suspect that she fears that the limited strains of the first activity might only bring about a debilitating stroke and she’d end up wiping apple sauce off my chin for the next several years, whereas with the addition of the second and much more strenuous activity I might  go out with one great, dramatic, fully insured gasp of surprise at the capriciousness of fate. Like gardening with Brando. Marlon Gardens?

Ah well,  I did not come to this battle without years of training and preparation and I am ready for her.

I went to the back yard and got the mower from it’s shelter, checked the oil, filled it with fresh gas,  fired the internal combustion beastie to life and made a pass around the yard  until my breathing began to labor.

Enough, I had done my part on this day to insure domestic tranquility.

I pushed the mower behind the garage, out of sight of the house, but well within hearing range, and left it running there, and, somehow, feeling years younger,  I strolled, light of heart, the several blocks to the pool hall.

I reflected on the fact that the oversize gas tank on this mower had been worth the extra expense. I estimated that I had two hours at fast idle until my little friend ran out of fossil fuel and my game would be discovered.

The local scholars were in full swing when I entered the  smoky,  yet hallowed hall of timeless wisdom and dissolution and, as Vicky the Beer Goddess brought me a longneck, Mike the Painter asked what had delayed me.

“I’m mowing the lawn” was my reply.

Mike reflected for a moment, or maybe left us for one of his “vacations in catatonia” and after a minute he said:

“Bob, I know a little about your medical situation and I don’t think that you should be mowing the lawn, especially on a day like this.”

“I know Mike,” I said, “but I feel that I need to hold up my end around the house, health problems or not.” Dripping, Nay, oozing martyrdom.

Did I feel guilty about this charade? Not so far. In fact, I was reveling in my juvenile deceptions. and after a couple of beers I returned to the house, but, as I came up the alley I noticed that things were awfully quiet, “too quiet.” as they say in the thrillers.

Had “my little friend” run out of fuel? Had my subterfuge been discovered?

I skulked across the yard and got halfway to the garage before I realized that the lawn had been freshly mowed and the mower had been returned to it’s place under the shed roof.

“What the hell” had barely crossed my lips when my neighbor, Steve and his wife Kim, hailed me from two houses away.

They explained that they had stopped by to mow for me and found the mower running and figured that I had forgotten it momentarily and gone to the house to take a break.

I managed to thank them and stammer out a lame explanation and went inside. My bride looked up from her book and asked.

Any problems from mowing, do you feel Ok?” Who was at the pool hall?

“Just the usual suspects, I answered, “no, I feel fine, no problem.”

Later, feeling lucky for not getting busted and thankful for having such good neighbors I reflected on my crimes and as I searched for some small sign of contrition in my twisted soul, it dawned on me that I need to buy a snow blower.

With an over sized gas tank.

Thanks Steve and Kim, for living in my world, and even better, in my neighborhood.

Bob Higgins

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