It is with great sadness that I announce The Yellow Shark is no more.
That’s the Zappa-inspired name I christened the ancient, sweat-and-profanity-powered push lawnmower that I’ve been using for the last four years, ever since we bought our house. A 100% steel time-warp, it was of an uncertain vintage, having been used by various individuals for sure since at least the early 1960s. At one time it had been painted yellow, but all but for a few chips of paint had long since disintegrated. Passersby gawked. Neighbors offered the use of their gas mowers. I would have none of it.
A combination of factors kept me coming back to The Yellow Shark:
- It satisfied the same twisted desire I’ve periodically had to run distances equaling a half-marathon at a single shot just for the heck of it.
- The fact that gas-powered lawn mowers are some of the most horribly polluting contraptions we’ve ever invented has always dissuaded me from using them.
- A garage fire in my parents’ house when I was ten has left me with a life-long phobia of anything that would require me to store gasoline in the house (I won’t even put our cars in the garage).
- There’s a certain warm fuzzy feeling of specialness one gets from being That Doofus With The Push Mower, and,
- I never paid a cent for it.
Alas, all things must come to an end. During its last use, the back end finally gave out and snapped into several pieces. I’m surprised it lasted as long as it did.
As a result, for the first time in my life I’ve had to cave in, buy a lawnmower, and reluctantly acknowledge my place among the Griswolds of the world. I haven’t totally caved, though. The mower I got is a rechargable battery-powered electric doohickey made by a company full of environmentalists based in Vermont, which sort of keeps me from feeling like a total tool.