Phil Luciano: Mystified by manly endeavors

Phil Luciano

Guys, can't we help each other out?

Please. Turn off the lawn mower. Now.

Seriously, what exactly are you mowing? The grass is, what, maybe 2 inches high? It's not exactly a jungle out there.

Can't the march of the mowers wait until May? Can't we have a moratorium on grass-cutting until then? That still would leave five or six months for beloved yard work.

I realize that for some guys, there's nothing sweeter than the rumble of those 5-horsepower engines. That's fine. However, some of us have a problem with other guys' mowing like some folks have with second-hand smoke: The damage can be collateral.

Like Radar on "M*A*S*H," our wives can hear mowers at great distances. When that happens, my wife will wonder aloud - very aloud - why our mower hasn't yet been fired up. And if our mower continues to sit under its cloak of winter dust, she will suggest - in ways that will make my ears not just bleed but shoot blood like a fountain - that I get off the sofa and cut some grass.

And I really don't want to leave the sofa. Not yet. My sofa makes me happy. My lawn does not.

I realize a lot of guys love mowing and digging and planting and sweating and gasping their lawns into lush forests. They see grass as beautiful. I see it as a glorified weed.

I admit that my yard-work avoidance makes me less of a man. If guys were issued report cards on manliness, I'd get an F for lawn care. In fact, on such a report card, I wouldn't do so hot in other areas of masculine expertise:

Auto mechanics: F. Besides knowing (on most days) where to put the gas into my car, I know nothing about what goes on under the hood. For example, I have no idea how to fix a carburetor. What's that you say? Cars no longer have carburetors? Yeesh, it's worse than I thought. Give me an F-.

TV sports: D. I love to watch any pro football game, any time. But noncontact sports tend to bore me. For example, wouldn't baseball be more interesting if infielders didn't tag runners but instead would peg them with the ball? You'd no longer see runners dogging it on the base paths, I can tell you that. Just an idea.

Video games: F. Thirty years ago, I spent a lot of quarters at the local arcade learning that I would forever stink at Space Invaders and Pac Man. So I gave it up. I guess I could blame my ongoing lack of interest on poor manual dexterity. Really, though, I think I'm still bitter about all those wasted quarters.

Gory movies: C+. Don't get me wrong: I'm not channel-surfing for "Fried Green Tomatoes." If Rocky Balboa is getting pummeled by Clubber Lang, or Josey Wales is blasting bounty hunters, I'm glued to the screen. But if the villain wears a hockey mask, plays with saws, eats corpses and/or other zombies, or is a wise-cracking puppet, I'll pass on the fantasy.

Burping loudly: D-. This is sad, really. I used to hang with the best of them, rattling rafters with a ear-splitting belches. But no more. I'd like to be able to claim that I've matured to the point that I get no self-satisfaction from thundering burps that could drown out a herd of barking sea lions. Actually, the belching weakened greatly when I started taking medicine for acid reflux. My heartburn went away, but now my burps make barely any sound. I'm more polite these days, but that's not very manly, is it?

Phil Luciano can be reached at, (309) 686-3155 or (800) 225-5757, Ext. 3155.