Sunday, July 4, 2010

Throw away your power mower

In 19 years of practice as a plastic surgeon and microsurgeon, some of the most devastating and disabling injuries I've treated are from lawn mower accidents. It's especially concerning when children are injured since most of these injuries are preventable.
(Disclaimer: yes, I know even manual reel mowers can cause injuries--
I managed to tear up a thumb pretty good last year--but my thumb is as good as new.
I sliced it up again yesterday while cutting a hose.)

200,000 or so Americans are injured by lawn mowers each year, and over 80,000 end up at the hospital.

Lawns are an aristocratic English tradition. We signed the Declaration of Independence on this day 234 years ago, independence from the British and their obsession with mono-cultural pre-pubescent grasslands.

Ironically, the American Garden Club, no doubt run by British agents, promoted this unhealthy practice: "a plot with a single type of grass with no intruding weeds, kept mown at a height of an inch and a half, uniformly green and neatly edged." The Doyle Garden Club pulled out another chunk of front lawn this week.

A gasoline powered mower is loud, dirty, and dangerous. It costs money to run. It stinks.

A manual reel mower is quieter, cuts better, produces finer mulch, and is much less likely to maim you.

Better yet, screw the aristocrats, and plant a garden. A real garden full of odd, sexually active plants sprawling all over the place. If your neighbor raises an eyebrow, give him a fresh Brandywine tomato, If that doesn't placate him, give him a copy of the Declaration of Independence.

Time to go pursue some Happiness....

Painting by Fernand Khnopff, 1889, found at The Victorian Web.


John Spencer said...

No iron? Check.

Crappy lawn that is being used more and more to grow stuff other than grass? Check.

I'm feeling much better after these last two posts.

However, if you place coffee maker on this list, I'll have to demote you as my favorite blogger :)

Incidentally, I don't use the following machines:

1. Cable TV - we rarely watch television and I'm not sure I need twenty channels running reruns of Golden Girls

2. Cell Phone - I'm an introvert who doesn't need an electronic leash.

3. Alarm Clock - If my body can't regulate when I wake up, I know that I'm not sleeping right, eating right or getting exercise.

4. Iron - not for the eco consequences, but because life is too short to have unwrinkled clothes. Anyone who wants to judge me based upon a wrinkle is someone whose opinion is so superfluous to render them meaningless.

Items I am too chicken to get rid of (but wish I could):

Microwave - Food preparation should never take thirty seconds unless it is raw

Car - kills the earth, kills community, etc. I've often wondered why insurance companies will give discounts to people who don't smoke and yet the don't do anything for people who drive fewer miles. Driving is dangerous.

Television - Not sure I want to buy into the bread and circus.

doyle said...

Dear John,

I, too, am addicted to coffee (as well as a lot of machines). I like your list, and may borrow from it.

Thanks (as always) for reading and sharing your ideas here.

Louise Maine said...

I agree with John. Leave me my coffee maker. I can't go without my cell phone. How did my parents ever keep tabs on us kids? Do not use an alarm and definitely have no need of an iron. We still have a TV, but only have a netflix subscription and whatever the antenna brings in. Wish I could live without my car but may be able to do that soon (my husband's change in mind of marital status will soon thrust me a new future.) Planning to garden on all available space and get an old fashioned mower and maybe not have to drive a car.

doyle said...

Dear Louise,

Our parents could not keep tabs on us, at least not all the time. And (despite the occasional tragedies), I think we were better for it.

I hope things work out for you--voluntary simplicity is chic, but forced downsizing not nearly as liberating.

FWIW, your bright mind and good heart will stead you well.