(other than This Lawn Looks Like Crap)


Interesting, if not deep, thoughts often pop into my head while I’m doing battle with my lawn. And yes, I do battle with a non-gas, non-electric, old-fashioned push mower. An actual reel mower.


Mower and Statesman

Why do I keep it reel? Well, I’d love to tell you that I do it for the environment, and that may be 15% true. I could tell you that I enjoy the added exercise of it, and that may account for another 13%. The truth is that I have very poor luck with gas or electric mowers, and although these flimsy reel mowers frequently get stopped (and even break) because of sticks and stones in the yard, they’re not all that bad. And my mind tends to think of some semi-interesting crap while I push along.

So, one of those thoughts was, Well, wouldn’t this idea make for an interesting column? Time will tell, but I think so – once I get past the growing pains of it. But, do I only do it on days when I mow, and how often? And do I do it in reel time?  No, to the last one, and I’m giving myself some license to use “while mowing the lawn” a bit metaphorically. That said, I promise you that this inaugural column was borne from a lawn mowing session. Now, I’m trying to decide how often this column will run, and when.  Sundays?



I’ll never have a very nice lawn, but seeing my glorified plot of crabgrass surrounded by all kinds of dandelions – and my being stricken with all kinds of allergies – does little to improve my mood. And so it was that quite naturally I started playing back an old conversation that made me a little cranky.

The conversation wasn’t all that momentous, and I’m picturing one particular person (unnamed, and not described) who really doesn’t deserve my scorn. Sorry, recurrent image: It’s just the idea of it all.

More generically, imagine that something bad recently happened to you, and you’re just starting to regroup emotionally. In this case, a family member just died, and you’re just returning to work, or another regular activity. And so it was that after my dad passed, I got an email reply from someone to this effect:  “Let me know if there’s anything you need.” That’s a nice thought, and he/she meant well.  I think. But…

Through no fault of his/her own, this person had never really done anything for me, or vice versa. I don’t know if he/she really had anything in mind that she (let’s just say “she” from now on) wanted to do. Now, yes, it’s a nice thought, but I question(ed) the sincerity of it. Not out loud or in print at the time, but a few years later while mowing the lawn.

If she said, “Please let me know if you’d like someone to talk to about this, as I’ve been through this” that would strike me as very thoughtful. Or, if she was in position to do any work on my behalf (or something of relief or value), I’d be quite appreciative, whether or not I took her up on the offer. But, to make an empty, half-promise struck me as lip service to only make herself feel better. I doubt that there was any sincerity behind it. Perhaps, we’ve all said or written things like this. If so, let’s stop this practice.

I’ve decided that the next time someone who is not in position or inclination to do something says “Please let me know if there’s anything I can do”, I will reply with, “Okay, like what?”  If I call his/her bluff successfully, I’ll call it a day. No harm, no foul. If I receive an actual reply, I will respond with either a thank-you, an apology, or both.



Have a good one” is hardly a newish expression, but somehow it’s stood the test of time. Decades worth, by now. It’s had an undeserved long run. Or, should I say, a good one. But why? It’s totally meaningless and insincere. I don’t even appreciate the shorthand of it. It was kind of the precursor of “LOL” (Don’t get me started on that one) in that respect.

So, why wish someone a good one? What does it mean? Let’s say, I’m leaving the bank, or a store, (even a friend’s house), and someone says, “Have a good one”, I may react with:

  1. Okay, thanks
  2. Same to you
  3. (Pretend not to hear)

But inside I’m thinking, “Have a good what?!” A good exit? A good day/afternoon/evening/night? Week? Month? Life? A good pee? A good crap? What exactly?

Have a good one.

A good what?

I don’t know. A good ONE.


No problem.

Now, that’s another one.



Okay, time for me to crank down the crankiness. One of my pastimes—although it’s been more of a Facebook (and speech) thing than a Tip-of-the-Goldberg thing– has been to recount the ironic wisdom and humor of my (pardon the brag) brilliant, funny five-and-a-half year-old son, Benny. In fact, I’m currently putting together a book of such Benny-isms.

This morning, he was reading aloud, and quite well, from a kids’ animal encyclopedia. He then came upon the word habitat, and read it quickly, and it came out like “rabitat.” As a word guy who has written one book and a weekly column about words I’ve created, this struck me as humorous. He does know the word “habitat.”

“Was that a Benny-ism?” asked my too-wise son?

“Not exactly,” said I, “but thank you for my next Wednesday’s Wordapod.”



While mowing, I was thinking about the title for the aforementioned book of Benny-isms. I’ve kind of taken to Hot Ice Cream – referencing one of my favorite Benny-isms – as the main title, and have been playing with the rest of it.

Right now, I think it will be:




Maybe not.

Till next time, have a good one, and if there’s anything you need, don’t hesitate.

I'm kidding…


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  • Dawna Bate says:

    When you mow, you think very similarly to me when I used to garden. (Which I hated doing. The gardening that is, not the thinking.) Now that I don't have to garden any more, I'll have to come up with an equally creative muse. 

    I am one who often says "if there is anything …". .Thank you for pointing that out – and giving me something to consider. I most certainly will come up with a better way of expressing my sincere desire to help / be there for the person. I think many people say that because they don't know what to say. I was raised with 'what to say', so I should have known better. 

    I wholeheartedly agree with your comments about "have a good one". And those are the same thoughts (sometimes vocalized but in the privacy of our car afterwards) that my husband and I think when we hear this. I didn't realize that expression had been around for decades. I'm behind in my irritation.

    Thanks for the Sunday morning smile. And yes, I will want to get you started sometime on LOL.

    • admin says:

      Thank you for your read and comments, Dawna!

      Even from knowing you mostly from afar, I don't doubt your own sincerity when you offer your help. And as with most things, this is probably more art than science.