Ake's Pains debuted in the University of Akron Buchtelite in September of 1977. The school's reputation as an institute of higher learning has still not recovered. Ake's Pains returns after a brief 32 year hiatus. It's back, baby!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Grass Cannot Be Greener On The Other Side

I can remember back when I thought people who used lawn treatment services were idiots.  I mean who would actually pay someone to fertilize their yard when it was so easy to do yourself?  Spending gobs of money just to have the best looking yard on the block? What morons!

But then those yearly trip to the hardware store became less enjoyable. This was mainly because the bags of weed-and-feed mysteriously became heavier every year.  Why they decided to start making the bags harder to lift, I’ll never know. 

So a few years ago I actually started employing a service to treat my lawn. This change meant the condition of my lawn suddenly became of supreme importance to me.  I had made an investment in my yard and I could literally watch that investment grow. 

Of course, they put that little flag in your yard after they finish.  They tell you the flag is to warn people your lawn has just been treated, but of course that is not the real reason.  In reality, the flag symbolizes your commitment to a superior lawn.  It states that your lawn is so much better than the surrounding turf, that it deserves its own flag!  As I stand in
my yard, hands on my hips, I am declaring independence for the Kingdom of Donrovia! Long live the king!  Of course as referenced previously, my neighbors are thinking, “What a moron, he’s wasting good money on his stupid lawn”.

But this year something very disturbing transpired.  I noticed in June when I looked out my bedroom window that my lawn did not look any better than the widow Cooper’s next door.  How could this be?  I’m paying hundreds of dollars to have the best lawn on the block and her lawn looks as good as mine?  I speculate that my lawn service has provided substandard treatment.  I am perplexed and upset.

A few days later while walking my dog, I solved the mystery.  At the other end of the widow Cooper’s yard was a flag.  It was a flag from another lawn service. That witch had gotten her lawn treated for the first time since I moved in.  How dare her! This was totally unacceptable. This was an outrage.

Then to make this incredibly bad situation even worse, upon further investigation I discovered something that almost made my head explode.  The widow Cooper’s yard actually looked better than mine.  This pushed me over the edge, so I called my lawn service to complain.

Me: My neighbor uses a competitor’s lawn service and her lawn looks better than mine.

Lawn Guy: How is it better?

Me: Her color is more vibrant

Lawn Guy: So are you actually saying that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence?

Me: No, what are you talking about?  There is no fence, but yes, her grass is in fact greener.

Lawn Guy: Well it always will be …

Me: That’s what I’m trying to tell you.  Yes, it always is.  Monday, Tuesday, whatever.  On all days that end in “y”. Her grass is greener.  So you agree with me?

Lawn Guy: No, the grass always appears greener on the other side of the fence.

Me: Alright, I told you before, there is no *!#&ing fence! And I am shocked at your lousy attitude.  You are conceding that your competition always does a superior job! Dude, show some pride in your work.  If you’re going be like that, maybe I should use those guys next year!

Lawn Guy: No, it’s an expression.  It is an optical illusion.  Her grass only looks greener because at a distance the colors appear stronger.  I assure you the grass is the same color.  If you looked at it from her yard, your grass would appear greener.

Of course I thought his explanation was pure bull crap.  I considered sneaking through the woods across the back of the property to look across the widow Cooper’s yard into mine to see if what the lawn guy told me was true.  However, I realized I would then be standing in the yard of my neighbor “Hot Carla” with a good view of her bedroom window.  If I got caught trespassing by the police, I would have to convince them I had snuck over there to get a peek at the widow Cooper’s grass and not Hot Carla’s ass.

If it went to trial, not even Perry Mason could save me:

Prosecutor: I now present Hot Carla, and we are going to label this evidence Exhibit A ……. and uh, B.

Perry Mason: Wow! My client confesses your honor.  Tom, you are so guilty.

Me: My name is Don, not Tom!

So instead of sneaking over there, I took a photo on the property line and as you can plainly see the grass is truly greener on the left side of the stick (my neighbor’s side). The
widow Cooper has plainly kicked my grass.  Her lawn company has pumped up the nitrogen and has defeated my kingdom.

I am dejected. I know I should not be this worried about the condition of my grass and I shudder to think what may happen the next time the neighborhood kids venture on to my most cherished investment.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Dancing On The Grave Of A Dead Dog

My neighbor Numbnuts had a huge, mean, dog that would attempt to kill me when I did my frequent exercise walks.  The dog is a mix-breed, a combination of Rottweiler and bear. It would growl and lunge aggressively at me. It would even attack my car when I drove by. I hated this dog and it hated me. 

I do refer to this guy as Numbnuts not because he has nerve damage in his man parts, but because he has damage in his brain parts.  He could not control this beast on its leash. The monster dog just pulled Numbnuts all over the road.  Numbnuts would yell frantically for the dog to obey with this wide-eyed, stupid look, but the dog would never obey.

This caused a big problem in that Numbnuts would often walk Cujo after dark, in the street, with no flashlight. (the allotment has no sidewalks or streetlights).  And since the dog was in effect walking Numbnuts, this created a dangerous situation.

Because Numbnuts could not control this hellhound and I feared the monster-mutt could snap its collar and proceed to maul me, I had to avoid them on my walks.  This was a major inconvenience.  Because there is only one way out of the neighborhood, sometimes I had to wait for them to clear the area or even return back to my home for safety.  So I allowed Numbnuts and Damien to rule the streets, until one fateful night.

I had just driven into the allotment one night when I had to suddenly swerve to avoid hitting the mutt.  The dog had decided to sit right in the middle of the road and there was Numbnuts, with his dumb Numbnuts expression, frantically pulling as hard as he could on the leash, but to no avail.

As I swerved, Numbnuts yelled at me to slow down.  But I was not speeding. As soon as I had straightened my car out of the turn, they appeared in my headlights and I veered to the right narrowly missing the dog. I had not even had time to accelerate.

I stopped the car, lowered the window, and yelled at him to “Get a flashlight”.  And that’s when Numbnuts fired an “F-bomb”.  Now he is an idiot, doing something idiotic, and he somehow thinks this is my fault.  Of course I am fizzed. I put the car in park, unbuckle the seat belt and reach for the door.  It is at this point I realize I will not only be confronting Numbnuts, but the demon monster dog from hell, the dog that wants to kill me. I put the car in drive and continue home.  Well played Numbnuts, well played.

But you don’t fizz me off this bad without consequences, so I decided to “take back” the streets.  I needed protection, but what type?  My machismo-oriented, NRA-type, friends suggested I conceal carry.  This however would pose a problem in the summer when walking with very little clothing would only leave me one obvious area for concealment.  I don’t want the women in the neighborhood ogling the size of my luger.  It may be fully loaded but I am not that well-cocked (we are still talking guns here).   Concealing a weapon in this manner also makes premature ejection a very painful experience.

I considered an electronic dog repellent device but at the moment of truth with demon dog a few feet away, I did not want to trust my life on a gadget that I could not see or hear.  I envisioned someone at the morgue saying, “No Jeff, we are still not able to get that device out of his hand. He was still pushing that button really, really, hard, right to the end.

I settled on a canister of dog mace.  The drawback here is if I unload a blast of mace at the dog, I could also inadvertently gas Numbnuts. ---- Okay, so there really are no problems with using the mace.

I do admit I felt some machismo walking down the street with my new weapon.  I wanted the chance to confront this enemy.  I wanted to have a Dirty Donnie moment where I stare him down and utter, “Go ahead pooch, make my day”.  I wanted to see the fear on Numbnuts face when I didn’t leave the street, when I stood my ground.

But alas, I carried the mace for months and even though I would occasionally see Numbnuts with the dog, there never was a confrontation.  Then, I stopped seeing the dog altogether.

Ding dong, the wicked dog was dead. Ordinarily I would be sad when a beloved dog died, but not in this case.  This dog hated me and wanted to kill me and now it was dead.  I wanted to literally dance in the street, but I refrained knowing my bad dancing ability would alarm the neighbors.  I felt great, I felt euphoric, I felt liberated.  Hallelujah, the streets were safe again.

But now Numbnuts has a new dog. And in a moronic case of pure numbnutsian logic, he has found a dog of the exact same mix. Cujo Jr. has arrived.  Of course I discovered this one night driving home when I turned the corner and was startled by Numbnuts standing on the road; leash in hand, no flashlight.  

The dog is a now a “puppy”, more like a mini-monster.  It has already looked at me with disdain. I am sure it is eager to grow large enough so that it can kill me.  I know it hates me and I hate it already.  My joy is gone, I am depressed …..

Numbnuts has a new dog.  Where did I put that mace?