Editor's note. Also from the Fatnathan's Greatest Hits - this essay was written in August of 2001. This just shows that I have long enjoyed talking about how lazy and fat and indifferent I am.
Late August is the time of year when people really start to let things go. The days are long and the heat is oppressive and we just become lazier and lazier. When I say people, I am speaking of myself. Pray for my wife, because when August rolls around I cannot bring myself to get out of the chair for any reason other than food, bathroom, or bed.
The first thing to go is the yard. While I love the clean lines and uniform look of a freshly mowed lawn, this time of year I can not bring my self to venture out to the mower until strangers start knocking on my door and offering to cut the grass for a special price.
There is one fellow in particular that I have a very hard time saying no to. He is a tall, thin white guy who appears to be in his mid-thirties. This guy does not have some big lawn care company with a fancy white truck and trailer and logo. He simply walks through the neighborhood pushing an old worn out mower with a gas can balanced on top of it. If he sees a yard in need of attention (and mine invariably is) he will knock on the door and say, “I’s wonderin’ if you needed yer yard cut for ya?” He is sweaty and carries the distinctive scent of his chosen profession and I feel awful for saying no to him. I always gently decline and offer a glass of water, but he never takes me up.
You see there is something a little bit offensive to one’s masculinity to pay to have the grass cut for you. My old man is a pastor and lives in a parsonage. For equity’s sake he owns the lot next to the house he lives in. This is out in the country where the lots are large and two side by side creates several acres of yard to be mowed in the summer time. Fortunately he is not lazy. With the trees and the flowerbeds and the garden to cut around, by the time he finishes mowing it is pretty much time to go back to the beginning and start over. With this as my example, it shames me to be so worthless when it comes to my tiny mid-town lot. So when the seed heads are about knee high, and the sweaty guy starts knocking on my door, and my wife starts making fun of me, I will amble begrudgingly out to the shed and see if I can get the old push mower started.
Just the other night while I sat in my chair and watched my one-year-old son eat a snack from the remains of his dinner scattered on the floor underneath the high chair, I realized that the yard is not all that I let go in August. It has only been about a month since I saw him eat a piece of a cheesy cracker off of the kitchen floor and totally flipped out. I jumped up and ran across the kitchen, shoved my finger in to his mouth and demanded he give up the bite. Then I restrained him while I swept and disinfected the floor as if it were an operating table. When it was all over I looked at my sweet wife and said in a quivering voice, “I was not prepared to be a parent!”
Now it is August and when the boy gets hungry for a snack he knows that he can just toddle over to the dining room area. In the seat of the high chair and underneath on the floor there will be crumbs and bites and fruits a plenty for his taking.
August brings easygoing summer vacation laziness to all facets of my life. I don’t shave very often. I do not get a haircut until it starts to flip on the ends. I don’t shower until people start to move away from me. The floorboard of my vehicle starts to clutter with empty hamburger wrappers and soda bottles and pay at the pump receipts. The only thing that gets plenty of attention this time of year is my chair and remote control.
Soon it will start to cool off. Class will start and I will have to study. My wife will get fed up and tell me to get it together. Things will start to have some order to them once again. Then, post-season baseball will start.