Monday, May 13, 2013

Too Much Technology: Gas, Gas, Gas

No, the title of this blog entry is not a reference to The Rolling Stones' hit single "Jumpin' Jack Flash".  (Nor is it a reference to the Whoopi Goldberg movie of the same name, which I haven't seen, but I'm sure is great because Whoopi Goldberg is delightful.)  "Gas, Gas, Gas" also does not refer to the insane amounts of methane produced by my daughters.  If anybody is still reading after learning that this article isn't about The Stones, Whoopi, or farts, I'll reveal to you now what this thing is actually about: the double-trouble problem of our society's addiction to gasoline-powered products and this addiction's byproduct of turning men from looking how they should look into the paunchy messes that they've become.  (Yes, I'm aware that women can also do the chores I'm about to detail below, but generally I see lots more men doing this sort of work.  Also, I firmly hold the opinion that women shouldn't look like old-timey strongmen [though they're certainly entitled to look that way if they desire to].)

I was originally going to include automobiles as part of my list of too many gas-powered technologies, but I think cars, trucks, and SUVs fall into the category of "Not Enough Technology".  Yeah, we've had electric cars since the 1890s, but combustion engines became cheaper to produce so people stopped giving a shit about electric cars until various gas-crises became problematic.  But by then the auto industry was a dominant force in America, and the oil lobbyists had mastered the art of giving Washington a handjob while sodomizing consumers.  Classy orgy metaphors aside, the bottom line is that most people, myself included, simply can't afford the electric alternatives available, thus we're all stuck driving around in our combustion-powered pollution machines.  So, you can scratch automobiles from the list, and instead I'll be focusing on gas-powered equipment that has viable and affordable alternatives that people are too lazy to use.

I live in the country.  When I tell people I live in a town called Waymart, I get responses such as, "Where the fuck is that!?"  (That's an actual response I've gotten more than once.)  The answer to that question is, "The middle of nowhere".  Because of this, a lot of people assume I lead a quiet life when I'm at home.  This is a false assumption.  Any time the weather is nice I'm treated to the obnoxious sounds of people taking care of their yards with gas-powered machinery.

Just about everyone with a yard has either a gas-powered push mower or riding mower.  I understand this; mowing the grass is a pain, and a device with an engine makes it easier.  Who would want to use their arm and leg muscles to push one of those old-time mowers that looks like a Segway but with a spinning blade dealy between the wheels?  That's the type of mower I opted to get.  Yes, it's somewhat challenging when I hit sections of the yard that are uneven, but some extra force from my legs and maybe a pelvic thrust are enough to propel the mower over the lumpy terrain.  And there's no obnoxious buzzing noise emanating from my yard while I'm using it.  Plus, running over a patch of clover is awesome because the clover leaves explode into the air.

By using a muscle-powered mower instead of a gasoline type, I get a workout when I cut the grass.  I don't have to go to the gas station and fill up jugs with gasoline in order to do the yardwork, I don't have to stand around cursing at my mower and trying to figure out why the engine stopped working, and I won't suffer severe hearing loss from the droning noise like my dad.  If you have a smaller yard like I do, I'd highly recommend going with the less expensive, less lazy mower option.  If you've got a huge yard... Well, maybe you should plant some trees and gardens and still get the muscle-mower.

Okay, my mower works fine for regular grass, but what about weeds that grow in hard-to-reach-with-a-mower areas?  Luckily for people who love to purchase gas and make more buzzing noises than a Dubstep concert, the weed wacker was invented.  If you're a city slicker who's unfamiliar with this device, it's basically a stick with an engine on one end and spinning blades on the other.  The length of the stick prevents people from being forced to use their stomach and back muscles to bend over, so humans can continue to evolve to not have waists anymore.  The smaller engine produces an equally-obnoxious but higher-pitched noise.

I'm sure the weed wacker works just fine, but there's at least three cheaper options that I can think of.  One is hedge clippers.  You could use those to cut the weeds down, and if you're a WWF star in the 80s, you can use them to cut your opponent's hair after administering a sleeper hold.  The second choice is a machete.  You can hack the weeds down with one of those and look like a badass while you're doing it.  Do you think any would-be burglars might be willing to try and rob the house of "that guy that's always walking around with the machete"?  And the third option, which you'll surely laugh at if you're the type whose goal is to have legs that look like unbaked bread dough, is to squat or kneel down and just yank the goddam weeds right out of the earth.  I know, I know, it sounds crazy.  But if you pull out the roots rather than giving the weeds a haircut every few days, they won't grow back.  Then you can nail the clump of weeds and its dangling roots to a tree as a warning to all the other weeds out there.

The last item I'll discuss is the chainsaw.  We all hate trees and want them to go away, and what better means to cut them all down than a chainsaw?  These also come in handy when the guys who came to buy cocaine from you act like punks and you need to teach them some respect.  We've all been there.  But the chainsaw is yet another gas-powered device that replaced a non-gas-powered device that seemed to work just fine.  What do Paul Bunyan, The Tin Woodsman, and Bloodaxe all have in common?  None of them used some kind of steampunk chainsaw.  They all used an axe.

I'll admit that I've never cut down a tree with an axe or a chainsaw (I do it with my karate chops, bitch!), so I don't know how much easier it is to do with the gas-powered choice.  What I do know is that the sound of an axe thumping into a tree is much more satisfying than the sound of yet another loudly-buzzing machine.  Plus, it just seems like more shit can go wrong with a chainsaw.  Plus plus, we all know that real men (and women) commit murders with an axe.  There are exercises based on the motions of chopping a tree that will give you a rockin' core, so if you have to cut down a tree because it's leaning toward your house, you need firewood, and/or the tree is doing queer things such as creating shade and oxygen, try doing it with an axe!

I feel like any technology that predates advancements such as the combustion engine is viewed as being "outdated" by a lot of people.  But just because some of these technologies seem to make life easier, it doesn't mean they're the best option.  When you factor in the purchase price of these new-fangled yardwork-o-matics, as well as the costs of gasoline and maintenance, it might be worth it to go with the classics.  You may have to use a little more time and effort to keep your grounds looking well-manicured, but you'll save money and tone your body.  You'll help cut down on noise pollution.  And regular pollution!  The only extra cost you'll incur is wax for the awesome mustache you'll grow to accentuate your new strongman body.

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