Tuesday, September 02, 2008

And the Dumb-Ass of the Year Award Goes to...


Have you ever done something so stupid that you felt like you had to tell everyone first before they found out otherwise? You know, that way you get to put your own spin on the thing...:-)

So, my daughter Anna, the track whiz, well, she has this little neighborhood lawn mowing business going. She has always been a very hard worker and is very tidy about mowing and weed eating and such. Anyway, she has gone off to college now, but the problem is, the grass around here is still growing. So, how can she keep her customers? I offered to mow this one man's yard for her and send her the money until mowing season stops. Good old dad.

The nice man from down the street dropped by Friday on his way to the beach and gave me the thirty bucks to send to Anna, plus some tomatoes and cucumbers from his garden. He also invited me to help myself to anything that was ripe while I was mowing.

So, Monday morning I took off down the street pushing the mower. Anna always listened to her iPod while mowing which would make it impossible for her to hear us calling, so I thought I would take mine with me. Led Zeppelin IV came to mind as good lawn mowing music, and I had just turned on the iPod as I pushed the mower into the guy's driveway. "Hey hey mama said the way you move..." You get the picture. So I cranked the Honda mower up and started mowing.

The guy had nice grass. Really nice grass. Our mower is stuck on "mulch"mode for some reason and I had to go over parts of the lawn several times. I like mowing. I used to do it a lot before Anna took over. She doesn't like it when I mow. The lines are all weird. She does perfect lines.

Anyway, I got to the guy's backyard - more long lush grass. I am about half way through with the back yard when I remember what the man said about the vegetables. I looked vegetables. Hmmm. I looked next door. Mucho vegetables!

I was mowing the wrong yard!

My heart sank. I knew I would have to cancel my lunch appointment. I was trying to think how I could explain away what would be a very long mowing job to my wife. I was also worried the folks might show up and shoot me. I had the thought - for real - am I senile? I thought about just leaving - just getting out of there - but then I said to myself, "I've gone this far I may as well do a good job."

So, I finished. Then I went next door and mowed the yard I was supposed to mow. Finally I got home. There was no way around it. I had to tell my wife. She tried not to laugh because I can be very sensitive about being laughed at. But my 11 year old couldn't contain herself. I'll exact my revenge. In time.

Later in the day I'm just finishing mowing my own yard and I look down the street and see a car in THAT driveway. Thinking there's no time like the present I marched down to apologize. I mean the guy had REALLY nice grass, and I've had a run in or two in my day with Lawn Nazi's, kind of like Anna but way bigger with a few Bud's for the heat, so I was a little worried the guy might just kick my butt right there on the spot. Or call the cops.

I walked up the drive way. There was a little girl looking at me from behind the glass door in that "never talk to strangers" kind of way that makes you feel like a total, well, you know. I said "Can you get your dad" and then I heard a voice from the garage.

The guy came out and I introduced myself. We shook hands. He seemed young enough to be my son. I told him that I had come down to offer an apology, and he was like, "OK....?" probably wondering what in the world had I done. I told him the story. He seemed worried at first not knowing where it was all going, but then at the punch line he laughed and was very gracious.

He said he had just gotten back from Virginia Beach and was tired and had been thinking about how he had to mow the grass and all, and when he drive up, there it was, all mowed. He even said I did a good job (which I need to tell Anna), but then he may have only been trying to make me feel better. He offered to pay me. "No," I said, "I can't accept any money. I'm just sorry it happened." He offered to have us down for a cookout and then we commenced to talking about deep sea fishing about which I know nothing whatsoever.

I had to go. We shook hands. I told him I'd see him around. I said, "You don't HAVE to tell all the neighbors if you don't want to." He laughed.

I'm just waiting for warning posters to start showing up in the neighborhood with the picture of a man pushing a lawn mower - "Beware of the Lawnmower Bandit." Then I'll have to move for sure. Maybe to SC. Ahh, a silver lining....


Michele said...

You're not a dumbass, you just did a random act of kindness! Nice!!

Joel said...


You are so very kind. But I must disagree. I'm either a dumb ass or I'm senile. The latter scares me to death, so I'll gladly take dumb ass.


Tom C. said...

Great story! Don't worry you're not was the Led Zeppelin tunes! Afterall, look at what it did to Robert Plant:)

Brenda Bowers said...

Joel Dear you have learned early a lesson that took me a bit longer to learn: The best way to get over an embarrassment is to tell the whole world about it yourself first.

And now:

Edward Waters said...

I'm afraid I have to side with Madeline on this one. Far too funny!

annie said...

I actually like the word "dumb a$$" and I truly haven't heard it in years!