A Standing Invitation For DEA Agent Training

Published 4:59 pm Thursday, March 29, 2012

Everyone responsible for cutting the grass looks warily at the lawn as March ripens.

How long should they wait before heeding the command: Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines?

There are more important decisions during the year but most of those are made in the White House. For the rest of us, the list of questions whose answer carries greater consequence is a small one, indeed.

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Accepted wisdom declares that in life there are two things that are certain-death and taxes.

There are, in fact, three. The third certainty is that once you cut the grass that first time in March you are locked in for the next eight months.

After Daylight Saving Time starts going steady with warmer temperatures and spring showers, the grass is going to turn green and grow. Cut that grass just once and it grows quicker than it ever did before you pushed or drove that lawnmower for the first cut of the season.

So most of us think real hard before getting the mower out of the shed because cutting the grass that first time cuts both ways.

Cut it too soon and your weekly servitude begins.

Wait too long, however, and your labors become harder; the thick March growth will leave your yard littered with grassy clumps that will take weeks to get rid of unless you rake them up.

For me, raking the grass after cutting it adds insult to injury. I am a devout non-raker.

But whether you cut it too soon, too late, or, as Goldilocks would, just at the right time, that first cut will be the most satisfying of the year, just nosing out the final cut of the year.

Few things look scruffier than a yard in March before that initial cutting. The grass of an average lawn looks like it has been on a bender for the past four months and has awoken to the mother of all hangovers.

These lawns badly need a shave.

They are the lawns of folks who fertilize their yards once every four or five years, whether they need it or not, and winter has been anything but kind to their appearance.

The lawns, not the people. I have no idea what winter has done to the appearance of those owning those lawns.

After you cut these yards for the first time you have kissed the frog and turned it into a prince or princess.

And brought order to your universe.

For a week.

No, not a whole week, actually. After three days the prince or princess begins turning green, grows a long tongue and develops a taste for flies.

And then you've got to cut the grass again.

And again and again and again and again.

In a few weeks you will wish someone had invented self-cutting grass, or grass that grows to three inches in height and stops.

Like daffodils. Flowers don't keep getting taller and thicker. They reach a certain height that looks nice and have enough sense to be satisfied with who and what they are.

Grass is too ambitious. Grass wants to be a tree or a jungle or a stunt yard in a Hollywood film about good yards gone bad, or yards that go to the beach on spring break and come back as a stain on everybody's knee.

The federal Drug Enforcement Administration has an open invitation to practice semi-eradication exercises by cutting my grass once a week.

I even tried hiring moles to hold onto the roots of the grass, pulling them in an inch once a week, but the moles wanted benefits.

At times like that we forget how deep and dark and depressing winter was and long for that day in mid-November when we cut the grass, which has learned its lesson by that time, and it doesn't grow an inch. It just lays there getting covered with leaves.


Everyone responsible for raking leaves looks warily at the lawn as October ripens…