DAVENPORT, Iowa — While overwhelming a patch of leaves with his gas-powered, 4-cycle Husqvarna 560BT, local man Stan Little couldn’t help but wish there was an easier way to tidy his lawn.
The leaf blower, a sleek, eight-pound testament to human ingenuity, features a cushioned grip, padded shoulder brace, and state-of-the-art engine, but Little says it still requires “an awful lot of work.”
“There’s the oil changes. And the start button. And the safety strap,” complained Little. “We can put a man on the moon, but we can’t design a leaf blower that ain’t so complicated?”
Little’s dilemma mirrors that of many Americans, whose leaf removal tactics have tracked the country’s evolution into a moldy baby pool of spineless decadence.
In the sixteenth century, when fallen leaves were seen as natural and healthy, not harbingers of crime and prostitution, early settlers ignored the issue and tended to other matters, like killing bears with butter knives.
Centuries later, American men began to purchase yards, which needed to be “kept,” so the men’s wives wouldn’t leave them for neighbors with fewer piles of fallen foliage, a telltale sign of fertility.
To “keep” the yards, men used rakes—flimsy tools that required the aid of arm muscles. These muscles, however, were soon assigned to typing and making obscene gestures in traffic. This led to the creation of leaf-blowing machines.
But men like Little remain stuck in the evolutionary phase between leaf blower and whatever tool comes next, which is a source of some speculation.
“A leaf incinerator might be nice,” mused Little. “Or just a nuclear-zappy type thing that makes them disappear. That’d sure save a lot of time.”
John Clark just hires people to do this sort of thing.
Image by comedy_nose.