I think I may have mowed my lawn for the last time this year. It was hot and very dry this summer, so I didn't have to mow it too many times, and now fall is closing in day by day.
My idea of lawn maintenance is to mow the thing whenever it gets ankle-deep.
I don't have a big yard because I live in a city, and I own a 100-year-old three-decker of the kind always and forever called a "tenement." The original builders of these houses didn't provide much lawn because the idea was to cram as many immigrants as possible into every square inch of these neighborhoods.
It was a good idea for those cotton mill-working immigrants to be at least partially miserable all the time, so they'd be less likely to complain about being continuously miserable at work. If you gave 'em too much lawn, they'd play on it and roll around on it and nap on it and dream dreams, and they'd become dissatisfied with the hellish nature of their regular employment. The work force of today has been encouraged to dream big, and now they can't reconcile themselves to working at Target for $15 an hour, and that's why there's only one cash register open.
Teachers who tell students "you can be anything you want" should be fired and sent to run a cash register at Target. Kids need to learn there's an excellent chance you can't be anything you want, and it might be because you're stupid, or at least not as smart as you have to be if you want to be anything you want.
So, my lawn is a scrap, and it doesn't get much care, but everything that grows out there is green, even that strange weed that feels slimy and is climbing up the side of the house, which is too old to defend itself.
I don't water my lawn, either. I believe watering your lawn makes it weak and dependent.
I have an outlaw lawn, an urban thug lawn. It's ugly and of doubtful parentage, but it's hard as hell to kill unless you sprinkle it with fentanyl, which has killed nearly everything else in my city. It's all right. My lawn will survive. I've never seen a poor neighborhood with a shortage of children. Out in the suburbs, there's empty classrooms at the high school because people making $200,000 a year think it's too expensive to raise more than one kid. Where I live, the classrooms are full because, as my father used to say, "If I only had the things I could afford, I wouldn't have anything."
I don't put any chemicals on my lawn, either. Whatever grows is welcome, even if I don't know what it is. What the hell, I've got people living on my block, and I don't know where they're from because they can't speak English, and I can't ask. They're welcome here, too.
Lately, I've been pretending that what I don't do to my lawn is intentional.
"Those are all native wild grasses and plants," I say. "My lawn is just the way it was when Native Americans roamed the land between my chain link fence and the tattoo parlor a couple blocks over."
Hard work can't be dressed up. No matter what you say about it, it's hard, and it wears you down, and it makes someone else rich. Laziness, on the other hand, can be made to look romantic, and quite possibly artistic. My lawn can be anything it wants to be, anything at all.
To find out more about Marc Munroe Dion, and read features by Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com. Dion's latest book, a collection of his best columns, is called "Devil's Elbow: Dancing in the Ashes of America." It is available in paperback from Amazon.com, and for Nook, Kindle, and iBooks.