Stout Hearted and Enthusiastic


“With stout hearts, and with enthusiasm for the contest, let us go forward to victory.”

- Viscount Montgomery, to his troops on the eve of the D-Day invasion, which was not delayed by rain.

First there was this:

peter fonda

Then there was this:

king-of-the-hill

Now, there is this:

IMG_2954

A lesser man might assume that the fact that his former mower tried to kill him, leading to the costly (but extremely exciting) purchase of a brand spankin’ new authentic JD tractor – combined with the delivery of the said new mower in the middle of what would appear to be the heretofore unknown Juniorvanian monsoon season, making the actual riding or use of said mower hazardous and/or silly – is evidence that there is a spiteful God in the heavens bent on destroying all joy on earth.

Of course we – I – couldn’t entirely pass up the opportunity to climb aboard and live the John Deere experience. Some related observations:

  1. When you drop a few g’s on a garden tractor, and everybody in the room knows you’re paying more than a bit extra for this equipment because of the green and yellow paint job and the nameplate affixed to it, it seems to me that the dealer ought to be required – by law, mind you, not just moral obligation – to provide the purchaser with a logo-emblazoned cap. I’m just sayin’ that I’m going to look like a dork sitting up there on that yellow seat with no cap on. I’m supposed to buy my own damn hat, too?
  2. The folk who were charged with the responsibility of authoring the “Operator’s Manual” for this piece of machinery truly missed their calling, and it’s obvious. Rather than being stuck churning out dry technical user’s manuals, they ought to be in Hollywood crafting the latest teenage horror-thriller, mass-murderer on the loose with some sort of sharp implementIMG_2957 scarefest. Seriously, the first five pages of this manual are essentially a laundry list of the myriad of ways in which you can evidently maim, crush, kill, disfigure, or explode yourself, and the many calamities that might be visited upon either you or your property by way of fire, blunt force trauma, asphyxiation or chemical accident. One of the many warning decals on the side of the thing depicts some poor unfortunate stick man being pelted – simultaneously, mind you – in the face, legs and balls with various missiles propelled at high speed from the mower discharge unit; an ominous warning indeed. Having spent about a half an hour getting through the litany of burns, fractures, amputations and puncture wounds that threaten to afflict an inattentive or careless user of this device, I found myself thinking that a human being would have to be something approaching batshit insane to saddle up on this rolling meat grinder and go for a ride. Incidentally, this is much the same I way that I feel about horses, and I haven’t even seen an operator’s manual for one of those. About the only indignity that you cannot visit upon your body through the use of this tractor is “accidental irradiation”. So listen up, John Deere designers: you need to find a way to work in the potential for improperly shielded plutonium to be exposed, and then you’ll really have something badass. A cynic might even suggest that the conflict in Afghanistan could be quickly won by delivering fertilizer and pallets of garden tractors to the Taliban but holding back on the manuals; within a couple of weeks during the rainy season, the inevitably mounting casualties would force an end to hostilities. Bring the boys back home: mowers for the military!
  3. It has a cruise control. Seriously. For a moment, I found myself regretting that we did not go with the X360 – five position tilt steering is standard on that one. How long are people spending on these things, and how far are they travelling?
  4. Top Juniorvanian mathematicians, engineers and technical advisors are now hard at work devising a plan of attack for the initial attempt at mowing. The plan being contemplated needs to take into account a number of factors, including the complex three-dimensional geometry of the local topography, not to mention the many landscaping features (trees, shubs, gardens) that – for the moment, anyway – are growing happily throughout the target area. Assuming some degree of primacy in this complicated calculus, however, is the urgent need to avoid a continuation of the embarrassingly erratic manner in which the task was previously attempted by a hapless operator employing vastly inferior equipment. The eyes of the world are upon us; what is needed is disciplined, effective and efficient husbandry – cultivated cultivation, if you will. The top-flight, highly talented (not to mention brave) pilot for this most important mission is, accordingly, being trained in a secret facility using the latest high-tech tools and simulators to prepare for combat with the lawn.

Your faithful correspondent will, of course, post an update on the first mowing. Weather permitting.

2 comments to Stout Hearted and Enthusiastic

  • Is there a worse job in the world than “stick man”? What I find interesting about your particular victim is the sequence of shots he’s taken; clearly the one to the boys has caused him to start doubling over, bringing both foot and face into the line of fire. Clearly, some sort of protective gear is called for here. Goalie gear optional, but goalie masks and lawn care equipment may cause raised eyebrows.

    Do not, under any circumstances, allow any hats worn while on tractor to have the bill face backwards. When operating machinery of this kind, the grittier and more upright the hat (ensure that it has some sort of mesh back), the more suitable it becomes. Having grown up in farm country, I insist on a consistent image.

    Should you have the space, consider some sort of visible-from-the-sky message.

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