Saturday, April 17, 2004

April 17, 2004

In the same instant I imagined all the poignant eulogies pouring in, like this one: “We are not really surprised by his death,” Jerry Scott of Baby Blues and Zits fame said from his home in Malabu. “What’s so shocking is that a card carrying cartoonist would actually get caught doing yardwork.”

Yes, I promised Kathy I would carve out this weekend so we could attack the back yard and clean it up so the dogs would have a “comfortable habitat.” I had an opportunity to be on the border this very weekend researching in some funky cantina with The Bull, but no, here I am with gloves on and a pruning sheers, hacking at tangled mesquite and palo verdes that haven’t been touched in at least 17 years.

It was bad enough we had to make two trips to Home Depot for equipment. Kathy bought an electric chain saw ($43, unassembled) and a screen door ($105, no handle). I almost got into a fight when I was carrying the screen door out to where the chain saws are, got tired of carrying it, turned to put it down and clipped a fellow customer in the head. He was stunned (I barely knocked him down) and seemed to want to fight, but I think my demeanor saved the day (“Please don’t hit me! My wife made me come here! I’m just a cartoonist, who hates all of this stuff!”). I think he could read my body language and he backed wayyyy down.

As I hacked at the jungle of spines I thought of all the artwork I could and should be doing. I also thought of a half-dozen plots for movies and articles and none of them had anything to do with yardwork (although in the interest of full disclosure, I did think of this blog, and, in fact, quit working to come in and type it up).

That’s when I got cut. As I was dragging one of the spine-encrusted green limbs over to the transfer pile I got jabbed, right through the glove! Blood started oozing out of my forearm. I’m on coumadin (blood thinner), so my mind immediately flashed to the above headline. Not that I’m prone to hysterical hyperbole or anything.

As I contemplated bleeding to death, I thought of all the men in history who would never even dream of doing yardwork..For example, can you imagine Custer doing yardwork?

“Sorry guys, can’t go. I promised Libby I’d trim the oleanders this weekend. Good luck with that village. Bring me back a t-shirt.”

And, for that matter, can you visualize Crazy Horse or Gall doing yardwork? How about Sitting Bull? Geronimo? I didn’t think so. O.K. maybe Chief Joseph did yardwork (I’m just trying to play the devil’s advocate here).

I’d be willing to bet both my work gloves that Billy the Kid never did yardwork (no yards in New Mexico). or that Doc Holliday never did yardwork (allergies), and I can’t really see Wild Bill Hickok doing yardwork (might chap his gunhands).

And my suspicions are that even someone like Henry David Thoreau probably wrote about yardwork so he wouldn’t have to do yardwork. But that’s just a working theory.

Loaded all the branches in the Ranger and went to the dump with Kathy down at Happy Valley Road. I hate to admit it, but it actually felt good.

“It's remarkable how large a part ignorance plays in making a man satisfied with himself.”
—George Herbert

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