Lawns are stupid.
Well, let me step back and qualify that just a bit: Ornamental lawns that exist merely to serve as a framing device for houses and picket fences, that nobody ever walks on except to maintain, are stupid.
Think about it. How much time and energy do people spend manicuring their lawns? How much perfectly good water runs out of private irrigation systems and into the sewer grating? How many tons of unnecessary pesticides do the neighborhood lawn junkies of the world (okay, mostly of suburban America, if we’re gonna be honest with ourselves) spread on their yards – and eventually all over everything? How many men have been rushed to suburban hospitals in suburban ambulances because their suburban neighbors’ devil-may-care attitudes toward lawn maintenance have resulted in a dandelion-fuzz-induced suburban brain aneurism?
Lest you think these questions are a mere rhetorical device, here are the answers, respectively:150 hours per year, 7 billion gallons per day, 80 million pounds per year, and that last one, while a bit of a silly caricature, isn’t totally off-base: lots of people get hurt every year taking care of their lawns.
Why do so many of us do this?
Well, lawns have become important cultural markers. They started out as grazing meadows back in England, then morphed into safe play areas for children, and eventually they became a symbol of patriotism and The American Dream. Today, they seem to be mostly the subject of mindless worship and macho pissing contests.
You know, like this classic sketch from the 2007 movie The Ten. (I know, I know, it’s not about lawns. But it’s totally the same phenomenon. Only dragged hilariously past the point of absurdity.)