Thursday, September 12, 2013

Mowing on Monday


Last week, this income inequality report failed to get the attention of our mainstream media.  In a nutshell, the gap between rich and poor widened again – this time reaching record levels unseen in almost a century.  Top wage earners - the so-called 1% - raked in 19.3% of all household income during 2012, surpassing the previous all-time record of 18.7% last set in 1927.  The remaining 99% earned a mere 1%.  Why is this report so damning – and shocking?  History has shown: Income inequality drives Depressions and Recessions and brings massive social unrest.  Not a word on the evening news, but we see it everyday in our communities.

Every other day of the week is fine, yeah
But whenever Monday comes, but whenever Monday comes
You can find me mowin’ all of the time.

For some reason, everyone in my neighborhood prefers to relax on Sunday and mow the lawn on Monday.  For obvious reasons, I prefer to mow my lawn with the sprinkler system running – no explanation necessary.  Why every Monday but not Tuesday, you ask?  Bizarre, I have to admit. Perhaps it just turns out that way.

Good lawnmowers make good neighbors.  We keep up appearances and keep peace in the neighborhood.  Witness this daily exchange every time neighbors meet at the mailbox:

“Good afternoon, Mr. Briggs. How are you today?”
“Mighty fine, Mr. Stratton. And yourself?”

Although everyone in my neighborhood mows the lawn on Monday, not everyone mows in quite the same way.   Here is the odd part: Some of us aim our lawnmowers in straight parallel lines, while others tend to meander, zigzag, or form contour circles around their homes. Why should Euclid matter as long as the grass is cut!  Folks of different strokes, notwithstanding, good lawnmowers make good neighbors. We keep up appearances and keep peace in the neighborhood.

Until a strange thing happened! Suddenly Lampposts, Manhole Covers, and Utility Poles won the right to be treated as legal persons.  Then they secured easements that granted them special access rights and privileges.

You would think homeowners in the neighborhood might find common ground to form a Monday grass cutting alliance.  Oh no!  The Lampposts, in league with the Manhole Covers, started a PR campaign that warned the homeowners on Magnolia Street to beware the residents of Hawthorn, who now regard the residents of Dogwood with suspicion and sneer at the residents on Elm, who scorn the residents on Elder.

In short order, Lampposts convinced the homeowners on Magnolia to love the neighborhood more than their neighbors who dwell on Hawthorn, Dogwood, Elm, or Elder – all of whom no longer look like, act like, or think like ‘real’ neighbors, they claim.

The Manhole Covers think of themselves as ‘Job Creators’ (although any job that has ever fallen into an Open Manhole quickly disappears – never to be seen again).

Utility Poles accuse lawnmowers of engaging in class warfare.  Cutting grass no longer levels the playing field, they insist; and the teachers, nurses, and other working folks living on Elm are oppressing the Lampposts and Manhole Covers, they claim.

Meanwhile, the Lampposts and Utility Poles say: “If the residents on Elder lose their healthcare or pension benefits, they should consider themselves ‘empowered.’

Legal but non-living persons now rule the neighborhood.  They never created a single job but reserve the right to trample on our bushes and shine flashlights at night through our bedroom windows.

Years ago when a Lamppost burned out, a service truck came to the neighborhood and replaced a bulb. This year, the Lampposts say: “Buy your own bulb and replace it yourself.”  Then they demand a bonus, a pay raise, and a tax cut.  Last year, their service truck morphed into a Jaguar.  This year, their Jaguar morphed into a Rolls Royce.

The situation has set neighbor against neighbor, and I am starting to think garden vegetables now speak on behalf of homeowners.  Today, you can hardly tell the difference between a Lamppost versus a real person anymore.

Meanwhile, the neighborhood has gone to pot.  Everywhere ... overgrown grass, weeds taller than Utility Poles, short sales and bank foreclosures, and neighbors no longer talking to neighbors.  If there is one lesson to be learned, forget the Lampposts, Manhole Covers, and Utility Poles.   Forget the polemics, stalking points, and dog whistles. Oh, how I yearn for the smell of fresh cut grass, E Pluribus Unum, and a friendly neighbor exchanging friendly greetings at the mailbox again.

Oh, Monday morning, Monday morning couldn't guarantee
That Monday evening you’d still be here with me.

Reminder:  Tomorrow is Tuesday, the day we bring our trash bins to the curb.


  1. I, Les Carpenter, Proprietor and Editor in Chief of one Rational Nation USA blog (and wordsmith not) admits to not mowing the lawn at all. For reasons I shall leave to each individual to fathom, or detetmine if you prefer, for themselves. Each as their perception may dictate.

    For the simple minded, and I have been described as such by both "the left" and "the right" at various times so perhaps it is so, what I take from this excellent example of superior wordsmithiness is... Capitalism run amok.

    Certainly there are remedies to save the patron saint of individualism and liberty for this and coming generations. But, there are lawns to now and perceptions to protect and defend.

    Time for a round of golf. Or the gym.

    Life is good.

  2. Sir,

    Regarding whether or not to mow on Monday or Tuesday, I would prefer not to.


    Regarding the gap between rich and poor widening again:

    “A rather vicious cycle has been at work for years. Reduced taxes on the rich leave them with more money to influence politicians and politics. Their influence wins them further tax reductions, which gives them still more money to put to political use. When the loss of tax revenue from the rich worsens already strained government budgets, the rich press politicians to cut public services and government jobs and not even debate a return to the higher taxes the rich used to pay. So it goes – from Washington, to Wisconsin, to New York City.”

    ― Richard Wolff How the rich soaked the rest of us-- Guardian, March 1 2011

  3. Rather amazingly the article you cite is from my hometown newspaper. I was born in Danbury, Ct. Here is why we left CT for the South; the weather is milder leading to less heating fuel costs. Cost of living so generally cheaper, real estate and taxes were much cheaper, so was car and homeowner's insurance. No matter how much we earned we struggled to keep our heads above water. Now, I don't mow my lawn, I pay a local small business to do it for me thus adding to the local economy. We are not wealthy by any means but we do live better on less here than we ever did there. Of course, there are many here who cannot earn what I do and THEY are barely subsisting. Not sure where they can move to...

  4. My property would return to the jungle within a few weeks if not mown and I'm sure as hell not going to do it in this heat at my age. That frees me up to do the more fun and creative part of gardening - like lying in the hammock and watching things grow.

    But it's more fun to be rich when everyone else is poor, right? To be the PatrĂ³n lording it over the peasants. That's why I've learned to stop worrying and become a Republican.

  5. That trash pickup you speak of is no longer free in many major U.S. cities. Same goes for fire departments. Taxes are the taboo. Apparently making a deal with the devil to avoid taxing the populace still remains popular as in San Diego's plan from earlier in the century that earned us the title of Enron-by-the-Sea and Poways' recent plan to fund their school system with a balloon payment loan amounting to something like 1,000% interest. We are only saddling and crippling future generations when democrats borrow money.

    1. "We are only saddling and crippling future generations when democrats borrow money."

      For trend for the past 3 decades: Lampposts, Manhole Covers, and Utility Poles have gotten away with paying fewer and fewer taxes while sticking the neighborhood with the cost burdens of civilization. If the zombie Lampposts and their Manhole Cover allies paid their fair share, there would be far less debt than there is now.

    2. But the trillions and trillions to fund DHS? To relieve Mr. Galt's tax burden? Oops, never mind.


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