By Dick Wolfsie
I have never aerated my lawn. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever written the word “aerated” before. If I did I am sure I misspelled it. I think I accidentally went from liquefy to aerate while making a strawberry shake in our blender. That’s the extent of my experience. I guess I aerate my tire when it is flat, but I don’t think that word works with a 7-year-old car. If you own a 2013 Lexus, you aerate. Otherwise, you just put air in your tire.
Despite many years as a homeowner, I first learned about lawn aeration the other day when my wife and I arrived home from a Sunday brunch and saw our neighbor John wrestling with what appeared to be a 200-horsepower lawn machine. The really strange part was that John was not aerating his own lawn, but rather Herb’s lawn — an apparent act of great selflessness, unless you saw he had simply lost control of the behemoth and was desperately trying to steer the machine back to his own front yard. Then Marty, watching John from his living room window, came outside to request that he be given a chance to aerate. Herb also wanted in. This scam was so ingenious that it made Tom Sawyer look like an amateur.
John tried to explain to me why it’s important to aerate a lawn, but most of the explanation required that I actually listen. He did say something about golf greens that got my attention. And I kept hearing the word “plugs,” which made me mildly interested because I once had a hair transplant. During the operation, the surgeon put over a thousand plugs in my head. My hair does look a lot thicker now, so I’m trying to keep an open mind about aeration.
I watched Herb try to aerate. Herb, who can only claim 5’8” in his wife’s high heels, was being whipped into unspeakable contortions and had to push the emergency button after he aerated Marty’s newly paved driveway. I’m opposed to deadly asphalt weapons, but John told me that the Second Amendment covers lethal lawn equipment, as well.
Herb chose to wear shorts, socks and sandals during this demonstration, so we all got a pretty good picture of what would happen if people from a third world country went to Jack’s Tool Rental on a Sunday morning. By the way, Herb’s lawn is full of topiaries, shrubs meticulously manicured to depict various species of wild life. Herb goes out each morning and circles every bush about 20 times before making a single stab at with his shears. Does anyone really need that many rounds for one clip?
After observing my neighbors gleefully involved in raising their testosterone levels, I agreed to try aeration myself. I declined doing my own lawn, having arranged several years ago for nine moles to do the job for me. I took hold of the handles, pressed the bar and was quickly propelled into action.
I had never realized how exciting it would be to poke holes in a neighbor’s lawn. It was fun, but four seconds was long enough. John could see I was uncomfortable with an aerator in the neighborhood, but he put my mind at ease. “Aerators don’t poke holes in lawns. People poke holes in lawns,” he told me. That made in feel a little better. But I still think there should be backyard checks on people who want to own aerators.