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Clear Message: Don’t Mess With Men & Their Mowers

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I’m well accustomed to being called names. As someone who has questioned the practice of applying weed and insect killers on lawns for nearly two decades, my skin has grown appropriately thick. “Whack Job,” “Nutcase,” and “Fearmonger” are among the more colorful monikers I hear regularly.

Those are nothing, though, compared to the unprintable expletives I received after my post last week about a lawnmower race in New Hampshire. “Get a life” was among the most friendly replies. Most of the (men) who replied to me privately or on the blog clearly wanted to mow me down rather than entertain the thought of giving up driving their well polished John Deere ride-on as fast as possible.

Among the information I learned this week, the folks who loathe our Get Your Grass Off Gas campaign have their own national association: http://www.letsmow.com/. Their races are held on official paved tracks, or even homemade ovals in distant fields:
http://www.isurfmuhlenberg.com/news/local-news/6358-lawn-mower-racing-at-dogwood.html. Two days ago, U.S. Today published a piece in England about men in drag (races) lamenting the fact that their economy has conspired to shorten a 12-hour lawnmower race to four: http://content.usatoday.com/communities/ondeadline/post/2010/08/bad-economy-mows-down-british-lawn-mower-endurance-race/1. Isn’t four hours on a lawnmower enough, or is it just me?

The media, as it turns out, has a full-on fascination with all things related to the lawn mower. In just the past week, the drunk (lawnmower) drivers got lots of headlines: http://www.poconorecord.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100730/NEWS/7300366/-1/rss01 and http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iNhUnLfZxC5_hOXGJtfLQhgLcyQQD9GQMGI00. The (lawnmower) bandits get their share of ink, too: http://www.austindailyherald.com/2010/08/03/man-charged-for-stealing-lawn-mowers/ and http://www.ocala.com/article/20100731/articles/100739937.

Then there are the apparently unavoidable (lawnmower) tragedies that must be covered:
http://www2.tbo.com/content/2010/aug/01/boy-hospitalized-after-being-run-over-lawn-mower/ and http://www.chattanoogan.com/articles/article_180961.asp. But none of those things got anywhere near the play that this video received on the Internet: http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/dog-mowing-the-lawn. More than 100,000 people (including me, sadly) have found the time to watch a dog mow a lawn.

Of course, the media does need to cover the REALLY serious lawn stuff, too. This bit involving a certain famous New Jersey housewife begs the infamous question: Does a Bear xI*? in the Woods? Well, not in this case:
http://gothamist.com/2010/08/03/breaking_bear_poops_on_real_nj_hous.php. And just in case you don’t mow your lawn often enough in this town, thank goodness we have the Madison Daily News to get the word out about the local lawn ordinance: http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=20443236&BRD=1302&PAG=461&dept_id=181987&rfi=6. Let your lawn grow taller than 6 inches and you’re looking at a fine of $200 per hour of mowing required by the town employees.

But, then again, if you had hired the lawnmower racers to mow your lawn in the first place, we’d probably all be better off . . . Aaagh.

About The Author

Paul Tukey

An international leader of the green movement, Mr. Tukey is a journalist, author, filmmaker, TV host, activist and award-winning public speaker, who is widely recognized as North America's leading advocate for landscape sustainability and toxic pesticide reduction strategies.

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