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Sunday 21 Jul 2024

AJ Robinson

Mowing the lawn is one of those things that just about every man has to do at some point in his life. I did, it as a kid back, in Arlington, MA, and that was with one of those old-fashion push mowers! Oy, let me tell you, that puppy took a lot out of me! When my wife and I got our first house, we bought a number of things: gas bar-b-q grill, mailbox and a lawn mower. The latter was one of the new neat ones. Gas powered, pull start, safety bar and over-sized rear wheels to help it get over the rough terrain.

Mowing the lawn ranked with shaving.

Although never a big fan of mowing the lawn, it ranked right up there with shaving, over time, I actually grew to see it as useful. As I’m also a writer, having some quiet time for introspection was quite efficacious. My wife was always mystified as to why I didn’t mind mowing the lawn.

It was that, as the act was mindless, I could let my mind wander. I’d just drift off, and the next thing I knew, I was on a far-away world among aliens or hobnobbing with giants or vampires or, maybe, recalling the details of a bit of family lore. Then, once I was done with my more mundane task, I’d dash inside to write up the notes of my latest creative episode. I got many good stories out of those lawn care events.

One day, the lawnmower electrocuted me.

I was working away, just running the mower through our daughter’s play are. I always had to finagle my way through the swings and other elements of her swing set. She had this piece called the multi-person glider.


The glider had two plastic seats facing each other and four thin metal rods holding the whole contraption up. In order to mow under it, I had to push it aside. Well, I made the mistake of grabbing a metal rod just as the front of the mower touched the lower element of the glider.

Here’s the thing, the front of the mower was where the spark plug was located. As the plug touched the metal at the glider base, its charge passed into the metal and up to my hand. Normally, this wouldn’t have been an issue, but we’d had some rain recently and the grass was damp. That moisture was just enough to carry the electrical charge.

I did a face plant.

The charge zapped me. The mower shorted out and stopped. I did a face plant right into the newly-cut grass.

It took me a moment to get oriented. Fortunately, as the charge was small, it wasn’t overly dangerous. Once the blast was over, I was quickly able to recover. I had to re-start the mower, but it too was unharmed and I was then able to complete my appointed task.

Looking back, I now see not only the humor of the event, but the irony. Of all the times I mowed the lawn and thought about stories, I never thought just the act of mowing would yield me an amusing anecdote. It just goes to show you, a good story can come out of just about any situation.

Who knows what events will unfold the next time I take Juliet for a walk!

Combining the gimlet-eye of Philip Roth with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Working, again, as an engineeer, after years out of the field due to 2009 recession and slow recovery, Robinson finds time to write. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true. His teen vampire adventure novel, "Vampire Vendetta," will publish in 2020. Robinson continues to write books, screenplays and teleplays and keeps hoping for that big break.

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