Crap I Think of While Mowing the Lawn

Volume 2

(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. And my mind tends to think of some semi-interesting crap while I push along.

Welcome to Volume 2 of Crap I Think of While Mowing the Lawn.


Mower and Statesman





Perhaps, I’d feel differently if I had a huge, level yard with a riding mower and a beer in one hand. Are you picturing Forrest Gump, as I am? But the reality is that I have a medium-sized subdivision lot with sticks and stones and crapgrass and weeds, and I drink about one beer every month. If that…

The actual mowing isn’t too bad, and some of the abundant weeds actually disappear in the process. In fact, the lawn looks half-decent afterward, even if someone with a real lawn would be loathe to even claim it as the “before” shot of their yard. But as I said, it looks half-decent afterward for…these days…about 24 hours.

This has me asking myself and anyone else reading why I even bother to tackle this task (until the inevitable drought comes) on a weekly basis. At least, I can somewhat justify this near-futile dose of exercise, as my lawn would be an absurd eyesore – and impossible to cut – if I waited, say, a month or so.

This all brings me, naturally, to the conundrum of making beds. Unlike cutting lawns or shoveling snow, there doesn’t seem to be any great urgency to make a bed. Actually, the bed had already been made long before I ever slept on it, but semantics aside…

Why do any of us need to make our bed the next morning? I recall asking myself that question many times as a kid, and luckily the make-the-bed rule was never a big one growing up in the Goldberg household.

Now that there’s another (and neater) person sharing the bed…and often, a five-and-a-half year-old who still hasn’t conquered the dark…there appears to be some purpose to making the bed a little more presentable. There’s no great urgency, as nobody but the three of us ever sees our bed. But, I must admit that doing the minimum of stretching out the sheets and blanket and putting the pillows in the right spot (and removing books and toys) does make it a little easier to sleep at night. That even holds for this incurable insomniac.

So, our compromise is to usually leave the bed unmade during the day, and then to do a serviceable job making it, or getting it in a ready-for-sleep position, in time for that night’s sleep.  And no, we don’t have those 43 extra decorative pillows and shams that nobody really uses. Yes, the word “sham” is apropos.




Yes, it is early on Mother’s Day, and before zipping into the shower and leaving to teach my Sunday morning class, I would like to wish a wonderful day (and much more than just a single day out of 365) to all the moms out there. Much as I believe in, and hope to embody, the best attributes of an active fatherhood, mothers are often the glue and the true heart of the family: irreplaceable, and wonderful.

I was blessed with a very smart, very caring and often very funny mom, Sara Passo Goldberg. I can’t begin to do justice to her extreme selflessness as a mom, a role that she took to with great passion and extreme love, caring and concern. Mom, it has always been a regret (if I can call it that) that you never got to meet my son, and your grandson, Benny. I know that somehow you have gotten to know him (do you have some kind of TV up there set to our channel, which may not be must-see TV, but…it has its moments?), and I often imagine how the two of you would enjoy one another. The little nothing moments and the big ones alike. (And yes, that passes as a sentence nowadays. Go figure.)

Marriage brought me a wonderful mother-in-law named Li Dejun, but really, she was always just “Ma” to me, or typically, “Waipaw” – which means Grandma in Mandarin. My mother-in-law was, among other things, a world-class waipaw for Benny and his two older cousins. Although there was a bit of a language and cultural barrier that may have prevented us from being even closer, I always respected and loved you very much, Ma. I miss you, and all who ever met you were touched by your innate goodness, your energy and your spirit.

Of course, it’s also been a joy to see my own wife, Ruby, became such a great Mommy for Benny. More and more, we are being defined as Benny’s Mom and Benny’s Dad. That’s not all bad, is it?

Oh, and thanks, Ruby, for putting up with the messy lawn, the unmade beds and too many quirks, tics and inefficiencies to list and still make my self-imposed deadline.

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