The men who live in my cul de sac aerate their lawns. I’m telling you this because there’s a good chance that because of this unnecessary demonstration of male virility, I may put my house up for sale and I’d feel guilty if someone reading this ended up in the same neighborhood.

Recently my wife and I arrived home from a Sunday brunch and saw Jeff wrestling with what appeared to be a 200-horsepower lawnmower. The really strange part was that Jeff was not aerating his own lawn, but Stan’s lawn, which looked like an act of great selflessness unless you take into account that he had simply lost control of the behemoth and was desperately trying to steer the machine back to his own front yard.   Then Mark, watching Jeff from his living room window, came outside to request that he be given a chance to aerate. Stan also wanted in. This scam made Tom Sawyer look like an amateur.

I have never aerated my lawn. I don’t think I’ve ever said or written the word “aerated” prior to today. If it weren’t for spell check, the first line of this column would have been: “The men who live in my neighborhood airrate their lawns.” Once, I accidentally went from liquify to aerate while making a strawberry shake in our blender. That’s the extent of my experience.

When I learned about aerating, I was sure I wanted no part of it. Here are some of the things I’d rather do than aerate my lawn:


  1. Clean the gutters with my own toothbrush
  2. Tar the driveway in my bare feet
  3. Be president of the homeowners association

Jeff tried to explain to me why it’s important to aerate the lawn, but most of the explanation required that I actually listen. He said something about golf greens that got my attention. And I heard the word “plugs,” which made me mildly interested because when I had a hair transplant, the surgeon put more than a thousand plugs in my head. My hair does look a lot thicker now, so maybe there is something to this.

I watched Stan try to aerate. Stan was being whipped into unspeakable contortions, and he had to push the emergency switch after he aerated Mark’s newly paved driveway. Stan also chose to wear shorts, socks and sandals during this demonstration, so we all got a pretty good picture of what would happen if people from a third-world country could also go to Jack’s Tool Rental on a Sunday morning.

After observing my neighbors gleefully involved in raising their testosterone levels, I agreed to try aeration myself. I declined doing my own lawn, having arranged several years ago for nine moles to do the job for me. I took hold of the handles, pressed the bar and was quickly propelled into action on my neighbor’s impeccable grass.

Putting holes in someone else’s lawn was fun, but four seconds was way long enough. Aerators make me nervous. They are potentially dangerous. I am uncomfortable with even having an aerator in the neighborhood, but Jeff put my mind at ease. “Aerators don’t poke holes in lawns. People poke holes in lawns,” he told me.

That made me feel a lot better.

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As I mentioned in my last column, I don’t think Baby Boomers will ever feel comfortable with technology. It’s not that we can’t master it, but more that we don’t trust it. When Microsoft Word asks if I  “want to save the changes?” before I close a document, I often want to do exactly that, but how can I be sure that the people at Microsoft Word can be taken at their word and my changes will be saved? I want a BIG, SOLID commitment, not a puny micro-soft one.

I also don’t trust the dome light in my car. This past Saturday morning, just prior to daylight, I parked next to the location for my TV segment and jumped out of the car, then paused for several moments. “What are you doing, Dick?” came a voice from behind me. “Why are you staring at your car?” It was my guest who was going to appear on the air with me that morning. “I’m waiting to be sure my dome light goes out,” I said.

At the time, it seemed like a reasonable response. But the more I thought about it, the more concerned I became about my behavior. I realized that I’ve lacked confidence in the dome light in all my cars. I feel a little ashamed, because I am sure that millions of dollars of research went into this technology. Why couldn’t they have spent all that cash on a way to stop stuff from falling between the seats?

What’s never really detailed in the manuals is how quickly the light will go out. How long should you wait before smashing the glass and pulling out the bulb. Is it a bulb?

Also, does the dome light stay on for a while even during the day, which means I could walk away not knowing if it’s gone off? If there’s one chance in a million that light is going to be on all afternoon, I’m not leaving the car.

I should be taking advantage of this technology for its time-saving and safety aspects instead of squandering my life waiting for my dome light to go out.  Here’s how I figured it: once a night (30 seconds) for 20 years, I’ve stared at my car’s interior. That’s 219,000 seconds, or 60 hours of my life wasted waiting for that darn light to go out. My goodness, that’s 40 naps I missed out on.

Related to this, I’d like to know how to politely inform folks when it appears they have exited their car without turning off their headlights. People used to say, “Oh, thanks. I sure didn’t want a dead battery.” Then they started saying, “Thanks, but this is one of those cool new cars where they go off automatically.” Lately I get a lot of:  “Relax, Grandpa, it’s okay. When’s the last time you bought a car?”


Well, it’s nearly sunset and I’m about to hit the sack for the night. I have to get up early, so I asked my iPhone to wake me at 5:00 a.m. and then I set my clock-radio for 5:05 as a back-up. But I’ll never fall asleep, anyway…wondering if that porch light is gonna go on.







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