I live on a street of perfect lawns. Well, except for one.

Yes, that would be mine.
 
Every other lawn on my street has grass that is the same height and same color and can sing in the same key. The other lawns are perfectly trimmed and immaculate, manicured so there’s rarely a blade out of place. The blades never seem to be sweating or breathing heavily.

My lawn looks like it’s been huffing and puffing to get off the couch.

 
Over the years, I have blamed my lawn deficiencies on too little sun. I’ve also blamed it on too much sun. My wife suggests it may have something to do with only watering during presidential election years.

Then again, it could be that my lawn has too many tree roots and not enough complex carbohydrates. Maybe it doesn’t exercise enough and spends too much time watching old movies on television.

Also, my lawn mower doesn’t work. That is, of course, the good news.

It means I have been able to stay inside the house recently, watching television and drinking pina coladas, rather than being outside trying to find out at what point sweat boils.

But the neighboring lawns have begun whispering. They have refused to invite my lawn to any lawn parties.

I figured I had to do something, and the idea of mowing my lawn seemed like a reasonable idea.

I have an electric lawn mower. I figured this would be easier than a gas-powered one because I wouldn’t have to keep pulling the starter on a gas one and lengthening my arm and thus have to buy shirts with two different arm lengths.

My lawn mower is a 24-volt, 20-amp, cordless, 17-watt, 42-hertz, AM/FM, self-starting, hybrid, self-adjusting, sunroof-opening, Panini-making model. I understand none of that, of course, except that you push this one button here right on the top and it works. It cuts grass and I can go inside and have more pina coladas.

And then it didn’t work.

I kept pressing the button and nothing happened. The other lawns in the neighborhood kept getting nicer and getting invited to free sneak previews of major summer movies and I kept pressing the button. I also adjusted the levers, deflected the side discharge deflector and changed the smoothie-making height adjustment bar.

Nothing happened.

I checked the manual. Fortunately, I had had the foresight to cleverly keep the lawn mower manual with all the other manuals for all the other appliances I have in the house, either in the back of the upstairs closet behind the extra light bulbs or inside the medicine chest in the guest bathroom on the second shelf just in front of the probe covers.

When I finally found the lawn mower manual, I immediately went to the section called “troubleshooting” and found out that if your lawn mower has trouble and doesn’t work, they recommend shooting it.

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