News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists
SUNDAY, APRIL 15, 2007


‘Mowercide’ could be in this man’s future

What could drive a man to take a baseball bat to his lawn mower and beat the wheels off of it?

Let one more part break before the lawn gets cut and this man may snap like a cracked belt on a locked pulley.

A jury of peers would likely consider it justifiable mowercide.

Let’s not sink to the level of mentioning brand names, but we’ll affectionately refer to my broken-down riding machine as Mowed To Death.

If it were a horse, you wouldn’t have to shoot it. You could go ahead and bury it.

Of course that hasn’t stopped me from pumping dollar after dollar into it, hoping it will limp along for a ninth season.

My lawn mower repairman — who at this very moment may be sunning on some tropical island thanks to my repeat business — says it’s time to buy a new mower.

He recommends a zero turn radius mower, which has more levers and pedals than a Chinook tandem-rotor helicopter.

Somehow, though, it doesn’t seem right for a man to own a mower that’s worth more than any of his automobiles.

Besides, if I replace two or three more parts, the old mower should be brand new.

The spring of the unmowed yard started with a dead battery. Then it was a bad deck pulley and a slipping drive belt. Then it was a flat tire. Then, the only belt that I didn’t replace broke. Then it was a dead battery again.

My son Caleb and I finally used a jump starter to get it cranked on a recent cold morning.

Caleb made solid progress until a panicked look overtook his face. The front wheels were pointed in opposite directions and he was swerving out of control.

“It won’t steer!” he yelled over the roar of the engine.

A quick inspection revealed a broken pivot joint on the tie rod.

All of this happened before we could mow the yard one complete time, so now we have grass of varying heights.

I am threatening to buy a sling blade (some call it a Kaiser blade, I call it a sling blade) for every member of the household. We could make it an outdoors family event like croquet or badminton.

Better yet, does anybody know where I could borrow a hungry goat?

Scott Morris Scott Morris
DAILY City Editor

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