Bentgrass can break spirits. Rough bluegrass can take its toll. Red fescue can make you feel blue.

It’s ankle-deep into summer lawn mowing — especially if you run irrigation in the sultry air. Cutting the grass goes beyond a mere chore. For some it is a self-propelled purgatory.

It’s only July and I’m ready to bag the whole mulching blade season.

Unlike a toilet swirly in the junior high bathroom, cutting the grass leaves no lasting scars; unless you run over your flip-flop shod feet. Equally painful is seeing the hairy-back neighbor pushing his mower in a Speedo.

I try to keep a “it-could-be-snowing” perspective this time of year. However, Mr. Speedo usually keeps his shirt on while snow-blowing in January.

Mowing the lawn wasn’t always a mundane task. There was a time I relished the aroma of freshly-cut grass; even if I was the pre-teen boy behind the Lawn-Boy mower.

My grass mowing zenith was 13 years old. I was entrusted with my father’s John Deere ignition key. My happy feet were off the ground — literally.

Despite the riding tractor’s four forward speeds, it was backward and downhill from this point.

My first real summer job soured the smell of mowed grass.

For three months I was a state of Michigan Youth Corp leader. I earned minimum wage leading six teens on a daily exercise in futility. Our job: cut the grass behind every guardrail within the county line.

I learned three important life lessons that summer: euchre lunch breaks, how to drive a three-on-the-tree transmission, and that grass stains your soul, not just blue jeans. I loathed every monocotyledon blade.

It took awhile, but I finally let my grass anger go. The smell of a gas-powered trimmer no longer makes me bitter.

In fact, I opted for a carpet of green around our house — and not the indoor-outdoor kind. I even checked my ego and paid cash for a Pony model riding lawn mower.

I’m totally fine cutting grass by the half acre; just me and my Pony. The only problem is utter boredom when you’re tearing through Kentucky bluegrass like Joey Chestnut into a case of hot dogs.

Lawn mowing is a mindless job that affords the opportunity to contemplate cosmic questions as the 42-inch blades spin.

Conundrums like, if there are pork rinds what happened to all the pork melons? If Goofy and Pluto are both dogs, how can Mickey Mouse be friends with one and own the other? Should a 42-year-old man ride sidesaddle on a Pony lawn mower?

You know, meaning of life stuff.

At some point I’ll turn over the grass cutting duties to the next generation.

Our daughter will finally get her Pony — just one with an ignition key.

Garret Leiva is community editor and can be reached at 933-1444 or by emailing gleiva@record-eagle.com.

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