Tag Archives: Lawn Mower

Growing Older, But Not Up

I think I might actually have grown up.

I fought against it for years and years (hence the title, based on a fabulous Jimmy Buffett song Growing Older, But Not Up, embedded here for your pleasure.) but I think the years might have eventually worn down my resistance.

This came to mind yesterday when I realized suddenly that I actually enjoyed mowing the lawn.

When I realized this, I’m almost certain I felt a ghostly dopeslap to the back of my head by my mom, reaching out from beyond the grave to try and pay me back for all the grief I gave her while I was a young dude and it was my job to mow the lawn.

I hated it, dudes. Sincerely, loudly and with great passion, hated mowing the lawn. I would do anything to avoid having to get out there behind the mower, sweating in the brutal Dallas sun and trying to cut a lawn that would only grow back as soon as I got done cutting it.

Which, oddly, was my favorite argument as to why I shouldn’t have to mow it. Sort of like why it was dumb to make your bed since you were only going to sleep in it that night and mess it all up again.

I’m completely ignoring the fact that I’m the one who makes my bed every day now, just because it looks nicer than does an unmade bed.

As a young dude, when I was forced to mow the lawn, I’d grumble the entire time and then do as poor a job as possible. I didn’t mow in straight lines. I threw in curves, loops, circles and, on one memorable

occasion, Abe Lincoln faces.*

All of which meant that, as soon as I was done an put the lawn mower away, I could call myself done only until either my mom or dad saw the result and forced me to go back out there and get it done right. Which only led to more grumbling and groaning.

Amber Rose is an American model and performer who is married to some rap star and is the first person who's picture appeared when I typed Amber into Google Images, otherwise I'd have no idea who she was. Sorry, Amber.
Not the kind of amber I was talking about, dudes to the left.

Somehow, over the years, I’ve changed, despite my best efforts to cast my personality in amber and never move on into adulthood. It’s sneaky, adulthood. And it snuck in on me.

When I mow the lawn now, there’s a certain sense of . . . satisfaction, I guess. A feeling that, as the blades of grass fall to my rotating cutter, leaving behind a smoothish, shorter line, I have accomplished something tangible. And, apparently, I’ll take that sense of accomplishment where I can get it.

Growing up, it turns out, isn’t one big step, but a series of tiny, incremental ones that you never even notice.

Who knew?**


Footnotes & Errata

* I was very, very bored.
** Yes, everyone. Everyone but me. Yes, thank you for reminding me.

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Word Of Mouth

How do you know that what you want to buy is any good?

If you’re buying something from a nearby brick-and-mortar store, you simply go there, take a look at it, heft it in your hands and get a feel for the object.

Then you go back home and do the same thing you’d do if you were buying the object, sight unseen, from a store on the internet: you look it up and start reading reviews.

I realize that there are some folks out there who are making a mockery of the review system, in that they are either hiring people to write glowing reviews of their product or scathing reviews of the competitor’s product, but I can’t think of a better system — when it’s not being gamed — for getting the unvarnished truth about a product.

Purchaser reviews are like talking over the backyard fence to your neighbor about her new lawn mower, or asking your cubicle-mate at work what he thought about that new Ethiopian restaurant downtown. You get to hear what each dude or dudette really thinks about the purchase or the food or the service.

You know that the person you asked isn’t being paid to speak only in glowing terms about the new nose-hair trimmer she just purchased. If you trust her, then you’ll trust her opinion of the nose-hair trimmer.

The internet, however, is a bit bigger than only your neighborhood. Odds are, you won’t know who the person recommending a product is, but you can be reasonably certain they are reviewing this under their own initiative, not because it’s their job to shill for Company X.

This came to mind last night, when I received a note from Amazon.Com that my review had helped another customer decide to purchase an item I got for Hyper Lad. It made me glad because, for a long while, I’d been reading reviews, but leaving hardly any.

That is just bad form.

See, you might recall that I’m a writer. (See A Dude’s Guide to Babies: The New Dad’s Playbook by Richard Jones and Barry Robert Ozer, on sale at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, Powells.com and fine brick-and-mortar stores everywhere for proof.)

Since the book came out, I’ve been begging people to read it and then leave a review on Amazon or Barnes and Noble or anywhere they think others will see the review. The more reviews we get, the more people will see it, the more people will buy it, the better I’ll feel about the whole thing. (Which might not be all that important to you, but is oddly high on my list.)

I still don’t think we have enough reviews, but as I was brooding over that, I realized that I wasn’t holding up my end of the bargain. That is, I wanted reviews, but I wasn’t giving reviews.

Now, I understand there’s no big review toteboard up in the sky that ensures if you leave a review, you’ll get a review. But I thought maybe it was time to practice what I preached.

So I’ve been going back and leaving reviews for most of the items I’ve purchased from Amazon.com and other places. It’s taking a long, long, long, long, long (I like to buy things on the internet instead of searching for them IRL), long, long time. But I’m sticking with it.

And I think you should as well. I know you dudes and dudettes have read the reviews others have left, but have you left one in return? If folks don’t keep leaving reviews, the system breaks down and then we have to depend on the paid flacks for their not-so-honest answers.

No one wins when that happens.

Do your part, dudes. Buy a product? Write a review. Read a book? Write a review. Watch a movie? Write a review.

It only takes a couple of minutes. You’ll be glad you did.

You can always start here, reviewing A Dude’s Guide to Babies: The New Dad’s Playbook by Richard Jones and Barry Robert Ozer. Just a thought.

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Monster Of A Chore

by Richard

Getting young dudes and dudettes to do chores can be a gigantic pain in the rear. And other places less savory.

Seriously, what parent among us hasn’t ripped down a chore chart in frustration and just started ripping the thing to shreds as they stalk outside to the driveway, stopping near the lawn mower on the way to pick up the gas can, then piled the ripped-to-shreds chore chart on the concrete, doused it with gasoline and then danced around, flailing my arms like a wildman, chanting and whistling now that that fight-inducing horror was gone?

I mean– What? Really? No one? No one else? It’s just me? Hm. Oh, well, you know, I was, you know, just, ah, kidding. To make an example. Really. That’s all it was. A, uh, an example.

Moving on.

So, getting kids to do chores has never been easy. Well, it’s never been easy once I grew up. I was, as has been aptly demonstrated, a model of virtue and goodness. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.


Chores. Tough thing. The young dudes and dudettes don’t want to do them and parents keep insisting because those chores did such a good job of making them into wholesome, industrious people. Or something like that. Well, oddly, if you’re tired of fighting with your little-ish one over chores. . . there’s an app for that.

ChoreMonster is a cool, little iPhone app that makes a game out of chores. And, at least as far as I can see, I think this is a pretty cool little idea.

Gamification is the idea that we can make more repetitive real-world tasks more fun to do if we take some of the good ideas from games and incorporate them into the difficult things. Let people earn points for doing the dishes and stuff like that. Make them able to redeem the points for something cool. Induce a little competition.

Well, ChoreMonster has taken the idea of gamification and welded it onto household chores. An odd little Frankenstein of a mix, but I think it works.

Parents create a list of chores for the little monster, along with assigning a point value. Then they make a list of rewards (which can be anything, from hugs to iTunes gift cards or, you know, whatever) and how many points it will take to earn them. The kids then sign into the site, look over the chores and get to work. Along the way, they can earn a random monster worth some amount of points, just as an added bonus.

I think this is a great idea.

Give it a try. Head on over to ChoreMonster, sign up and try it out. I mean, it’s got to be easier than yelling at the little dude to make his bed right this instant or you’re going to come in there and he’s going to wish he’d never been born, so help me, see if I don’t! Right?

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