Since man first conceived the concept of the yard, he has fought a never-ending battle to keep it manicured. This is a labor few find enjoyable, especially in the mid-summer heat. With this in mind, man has struggled to find ways to make this chore easier. Thus we get to the subject of this article, the gasoline powered lawnmower. I will not be brand specific here because all gas-powered mowers work on the same basic mechanics. You put gas in, start the mower, and then mow. Yes riding mowers and self-propelled mowers make the work easier, and the old standard “go at your own pace mowers” have an engine to turn the blades, but they have dark secrets that your local salesmen may not mention.
Here are ten of those secrets:
1 Gas-powered mowers can be dangerous.
Many manufacturers have had product recalls due to safety issues. Issues that range from projectile hazards to fires and explosions. Is a well-groomed lawn worth bodily harm or death? Even gas-mowers without recalls pose certain hazards. Just read the pages of warnings and cautions in ones owner’s manual. Do not refuel while engine is hot. Wear eye protection when operating this equipment. Do not place your hands under the mower deck while the engine is running. Wear long pants while operating this equipment. The list seems to go on and on. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to have to wear long pants and goggles in ninety-degree heat. I definitely don’t want to waste hours waiting for an engine to cool before finishing my lawn. The old human powered drum-type mowers never needed a complete chapter on safety precautions. I have yet to find anyone who has been injured by a projectile from one, and have found it almost impossible to get my hands near the blades while I was using one. Fire hazard? If you can generate a fire from using one then you are obviously much faster than me. No, gas-powered mowers are just too dangerous to buy.
2 Gas-powered mowers have many hidden costs.
Gas-powered mowers need regular maintenance. Don’t believe me; just go look again at ones owner’s manual. From oil changes to winterizing, they are chocked full of required maintenance. Replacing fuel filters, spark plugs, air filters; the list is endless. If you are not among the mechanically gifted then you will have to pay someone to perform these tasks and take their word that they are done correctly. Heaven forbid you should set out to mow your yard, only to find that your gas-powered mower won’t start. Then you have to take some repairman’s word when he tells you that your flux capacitor is not fluxing. If you are among the immortals that are good at all things mechanical, then you still have to spend your money on repair parts that will take two weeks to get to the store. Not to mention the valuable time you will spend enacting those repairs. I am a firm believer in the K.I.S.S. philosophy. Keep It Simple Stupid. My old drum-style mower never needs engine repairs or maintenance, just keep the blades sharp and clean.
3 Gas-powered mowers are not good for your lawn.
Gas-powered mowers tend to use rotating blades that rip and tear the grass rather than truly cutting it. This ripping and tearing can lead to diseases and the browning of your lawn. I, for one hate to see a brown or diseased lawn. No sir, I like my grass green and healthy. The added weight of the engine also contributes to compacting of the soil your grass depends on, and to thatch production. Both of these conditions, compacted soil and thatch, are harmful to your lawn. There are ways to correct both problems but it requires the purchase of more lawn-care equipment. (See reason 2 Hidden Costs) For me, mowing the lawn is enough of a chore without adding more steps to the process, and I certainly don’t want to spend time mowing all the while creating problems that I am going to have to take more time correct. Once again, I will stick to my drum-style mower that cuts the grass and weighs very little. If I miss a week mowing, then I just get out my rake after mowing and; surprise, no thatch.
4 Gas-Powered mowers are noisy.
Gas-powered mowers make so much noise you can only use them at certain times in some areas. There is nothing worse than being awakened at six in the morning after pulling an all-nighter at the keyboard by an unsympathetic neighbor trying to beat the heat by getting an early start on their lawn. It is even worse when their flying projectiles ricochet off the side of my house and car. It reminds me of a scene out of some war movie. Then I have to go over, in my pajamas, with my blood-shot eyes and nervous system reeling from the shock of my rude awakening and a severe overdose of caffeine and nicotine, and try to explain to my neighbor; over the noise of their offending contraption, my failure to find blissful slumber and the role they are playing in this epic drama. Gas-powered mowers are loud. They even suggest you wear hearing protection while using them. (See reason 1 Dangers) I have never had a complaint about how loud my old mower is, nor do I have to wear hearing protection to use it. Unless my neighbors catch a glimpse of me in the yard, they never even know that I am hard at work mowing my lawn.
5 Gas-powered mowers contribute to pollution.
Gas-powered mowers give off exhaust fumes that contribute to air-pollution. Try running that engine in an enclosed space. (See reason 1 Dangers) Their oil is often disposed of improperly, contributing to water-pollution. And when that engine is finally beyond repair it will probably end up in a landfill. That engine also contributes to noise pollution. (See reason 4 Noise) My mower gives off no exhaust, has no contaminates, very little noise, and when its engine dies, it will be buried in a pine box or cremated. Also the tearing action of most gas-powered mowers inhibits the grass’ ability to produce oxygen. In case you haven’t heard, oxygen is what we breathe, and I believe that someone once told me our bodies need clean water also.
6 Gas-powered mowers are a theft risk.
When you buy a gas-powered mower notice that the store keeps them locked-up. They don’t want their merchandise to leave their property without being paid for. You will spend your hard earned money to purchase that death machine and you won’t want someone to take it either. So what is an inconsiderate noisemaker to do? Do you keep it in your garage? If you do, then where will you park your car? Do you chain it up? Now you have to buy a chain and lock. (See reason 2 Hidden Costs) Do you build or buy a shed? (See reason 2 Hidden Costs) Your new possession is now on some thief’s wish list and you have to protect it. I haven’t found a thief desperate enough to steal my mower. If I wanted, I could probably hang it, out of the way, on my garage wall, but I just leave it on the porch. No one wants to steal my mower. That brings me to my next reason;
7 Someone will always want to borrow your gas-powered mower.
Friends, neighbors, relatives; they will all come knocking on your door. “I can’t afford a mower right now” or “My mower is in the shop.” These are phrases you will come to fear. If they can’t afford a mower then how are they going to pay to fix yours if they tear it up? If their mower is already tore-up, are you really going to trust them with yours? If you don’t lend it to them you risk offending them. If you do lend it to them, then when will they bring it back? Will they take proper care of it? (See reason 2 Hidden Costs) Will they adhere to all of the safety precautions? (See reason 1 Dangers) Will they be considerate of their neighbors when they use it? (See reason 4 Noise) Will they protect it as if it were their own? (See reason 6 Theft) Not one single person has ever been over to borrow my mower. I have even offered to let my neighbor use it. (See reason 4 Noise)
As of yet, my offer has gone unaccepted.
8 You really won’t feel comfortable letting your children use your gas-powered mower.
For this reason I could just refer you to all of the previous reasons, but that really wouldn’t do it justice. Children are a gift from God. He gave them to us so we wouldn’t have to mow the lawn. Young children are eager to help and volunteer to mow the lawn, but do you really want to leave a young child with your precious gas-powered carnival of carnage. You would be better off just giving them razor blades, matches, and a slingshot. Older children dread mowing the lawn and only do it as punishment. We all know that children will do almost anything to escape punishment; dirt in the gas tank, running the mower over tree stumps or large rocks, cutting the starter cord with a sharp rock so that it looks like it just wore in two… I could go on for days but you’re probably in enough pain already. Really though how much punishment is it to ride around the yard or walk behind a self-propelled environmental hazard. My mower is so simple, I can trust my nine-year-old with it, and when my thirteen-year-old gets a little older she will dread getting in trouble in the summertime. Right now she still enjoys mowing. Kids really are strange.
9 The ever-rising cost of gasoline.
Gas prices have been at an all-time high, and we can only expect them to get higher. If it takes you just two gallons of gas to mow your yard a single time, then you could have bought a new mower like mine for the cost of mowing your yard about ten times. Add to that, all the hidden costs (see reason 2 Hidden Costs) and you probably could have retired on the money you spent polluting the environment, (see reason 5) endangering your health, (see reason 1), and killing your lawn. (See reason 3) You would have come out cheaper just putting in astro-turf.
When you become a grandparent, your children will tell your grandchildren how mean you were to them, how hard their childhood was, what a cruel, sadistic person you were. Your grandchildren, of course, won’t believe a single word of it as they gleefully push your old, faithful, and drum-style mower across your lawn. Why would you give that up for gas-power?