Bungle in the Jungle

April 25, 2003

It’s a conspiracy. I’m not given to conspiracy theories, but I think someone or something in control of the weather is watching me. Have you ever heard that washing your car is a guaranteed way to make it rain? In my case mowing the lawn is the equivalent of creating rain clouds on a clear day. Actually I don’t mow the lawn. A "lawn" is something perfectly manicured where all the grass is the same variety, there are nicely cut shrubs around the edges, and until about fifteen years ago it would have had a statue of a little man holding a lantern but now has a purple gazing ball on a pillar. I don’t mow the "yard" either. A "yard" is what people who live on very small lots have. A "yard" is about nine square feet, which is why it’s called a "yard". What I do is called "cutting the grass".

Of course "grass" has many meanings. In my case it means "a conglomeration of mutant weeds that moved in to take up the bare space where the sewer line had to be replaced a few years ago." This stuff looks reasonably nice during the twenty minutes between the time that I finish cutting it and the rain starts falling. Once rain hits it, of course, it turns back into dense jungle underbrush.

I love cutting the grass, though, especially since I do it with a "lawn mower", which allows me to dream, briefly, that I have a lawn. I love the fact that the lawn mower sounds, to a wasp, exactly like another wasp, causing them to dive-bomb me. Wasps are already angry, socially maladjusted animals, which is why they chose David Duke as their supreme leader, but a wasp who’s just discovered I’m not a wasp is even worse. I love those little green worms that hang from the trees and somehow get inside my shirt. I love mingling my sweat with grass dust, getting hit by flying rocks, and driving every living thing ahead of me like Genghis Khan. I love it when I forget to let the engine cool down before refilling the gas tank so that when I pull the starter cord an eight-foot jet of flame bursts from the lawn mower. Why do I love it? Well, I don’t, really, but if I can convince whatever it is that keeps the rain falling and the grass growing that I love it maybe it’ll hold off for a while.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.

Future Novelists

These are actual analogies and metaphors found in high school essays:

Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two other sides gently compressed by a thigh master.

His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.

He spoke with wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.

She grew on him like E. coli and he was room temperature Canadian beef.

She had a deep throaty genuine laugh like that sound a dog makes just before he throws up.

Her vocabulary was as bad, as, like, whatever.

He was a tall as a six foot three inch tree.

The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife’s infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge free ATM.

The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn’t.

McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.

From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie surreal quality, like when you’re on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7 pm instead of 7:30.

Her hair glistened in the rain like nose hair after a sneeze.

The hailstones leaped up off the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.

Long separated by cruel fate, the star crossed lovers raced across a grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, on having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.

They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resemble Nancy Kerrigan’s teeth.

John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant and she was the east river.

Even in his last years, grandpappy had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.

Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.

The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.

Young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.

"Oh, Jason, take me!" she panted, her breasts heaving like a college freshman on $1-a-beer night.

He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a really duck that was actually lame. Maybe from stepping on a landmine or something.

The Ballerina rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.

It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids with power tools.

He was deeply in love when she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.

She was as easy as the TV guide crossword.

Her eyes were like limpid pools, only they had forgotten to put in any pH cleanser.

She walked into my office like a centipede with 98 missing legs.

Her voice had that tense grating quality, like a generation thermal paper fax machine that needed a band tightening.

It hurt the way your tongue hurts after you accidentally staple it to the wall.

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