Being Picky About Yard Work

Ron Nagasawa
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Wednesday - August 06, 2008
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Why does turning 50 have the stigma of suddenly being old? I make the half-century mark next month and because I’m so close to hitting that “golden age,” I’m suddenly being treated as though I’m a frail, grouchy old man.

Hey, I am not frail.

Last weekend I decided to tackle a project that I’ve neglected for over a year. Our back patio has a couple of areas where we have grown some foliage since we moved in. In my so-called youth, my wife and I kept the area well-manicured and useable for family barbecue-type gatherings.

The last few years I’ve really let the place go, and what started out as annoying little weeds are now full-blown trees. I figured I’d better remove those before I need a backhoe to do it. I borrowed a heavy-duty pick from my brother and announced that I was going to commence hard labor.

Suddenly, everyone was concerned about my ability to do the job. I don’t know how they found out, but both my mother and mother-in-law called me to tell me not to strain myself, that I was no longer “as young as you used to be” and that I had a family to think about.

You’d think that I was going to climb Mt. Everest. Even my wife started suggesting that I hire someone to do the work. Before they tried to fit me for a pair of Depends, I stood up and started bragging how this task was going to be a walk in the park.

Why I decided to do this on the hottest day of the summer was beyond me. And the pick that I held seemed a lot heavier than I last remembered. I swung away at those weed-trees, digging them out from the roots up. I haven’t worked that hard since ... well, I’ve actually never worked that hard.

Still, I had to prove that I was capable and wanted to back up my earlier bragging. At the end of the day, as tired as I was, I had to feign vigor, so I asked my wife if there were any other manly chores for me to tackle, like chopping firewood or building a log cabin.

The next morning, when I opened my eyes, it was as though my body was completly paralyzed. I couldn’t raise my arms high enough to even brush my teeth. My wife suspected what was going on and put in her two cents, “Maybe next time, you won’t push yourself so hard to impress us.”

From my now supine position, I looked at her and replied, “What do you mean, next time?”


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