Save the yard work for Mr. Greenjeans

Up front, just let me inform you that I’m a hypocrite. Now that spring has crawled out from under the covers of winter, I’m one of those countless landscaping laborers populating Berks suburbia. And I despise every microsecond expended cutting grass, growing grass, pruning, planting, yanking weeds, mulching, sweating, sneezing and swearing.I sometimes wonder if all the other backyard dirt-splattered warriors really do have an affinity and affection for yard work or are they grass-stained hypocrites such as myself. I suspect there are more of the latter.You see, we all get sucked into the foreboding and ruthless hell of social expectations. Since all the neighbors have gussied-up lawns and flower beds and gardens and whatever, we do, too.So there we are, grouchier than Cinderella’s stepsisters, outside looking in. Granted, nice sunny spring days are OK to toil in the yard. But just how many are there of those? Not too damn many. I know that weather whiz Ed Hanna over there at WFMZ-TV Channel 69 must know this, but why have our Berks springs in recent years had the bleak feel of a Russian winter?Much of my landscaping ventures are spent shivering in the wind. I like my drinks chilled, not my blustery breezes.And the sun can be a most elusive partner. The sun is like a wife with a not-so-discrete passion for shopping. It’s never around. So I’m sentenced to do all the grit-and-grime work under slate-gray skies.Nevertheless, fueled by the great expectations of my neighbors and rationalizing in the belief that genius truly must be perseverance in disguise, I continue to attack my yard chores with the outward zeal of a battalion commander. Indeed, I consider my gun-metal lawn mower to be an assault vehicle. When I look closely, I can see the blades of grass flinching in fright as I approach with my trusty killing machine.Well, I’ve squandered enough time on this sunny, beautiful spring Saturday. I can hear the symphonic percussion of my neighbors’ lawn mowers, weed whackers and chainsaws. I’ve procrastinated long enough. It’s time to plunge into the treacherous whirlpool of lockstep social behavior or risk being ostracized. After all, the nail that sticks out gets hammered. And we suburbanites are honeycombed for survival in an environment where conformity is as prized as lush landscaping.