True Story©… Green Thumbin’


     This summer, I pulled in side money with my lawn mower and arming myself with a collection of sob stories to sell up the source of my abilities.
All told, the hustle made me a plenty of extra cash for sneakers and narcotics using my spare time while also serving as a several-hours-a-week supplement to my weekly exercise regimen.

     It stands to reason that pictures posted to my socials of my own yard (below) and of a couple of the ones I am duly and fairly paid for (not pictured) serve as my “résumé” to any interested party, but the funny thing about human beings is that they want to know shit that might be none of their damned business.

     When I moved into my house in 2021, I was left with nasty work in the way of needing to fix this yard.  Over the course of this, I noted what a godawful job my next door neighbor’s yard man was doing of keeping hers up, despite the fact that he lives FIVE houses down.  In conversation with her, she decided that perhaps she would rather be paying me to do it since I clearly cared more about it than he did.
The fuse was lit.  I spent the first season being as detail oriented as I could be to make sure my work stayed top tier.  This also allowed me the chance to see some consistency across the properties from my yard to hers, considering I am the one over both yards.

     My daughter knows the truth of how I came to this specific set of skills with the equipment available to me but, as previously stated, other people wanted to know “how did you learn that?”
The facts of how I came to the possession of what may otherwise seem to be “exotic” or insider information is really quite mundane and need not be gotten into here.  Ask me in private if you really must know.  The point of today’s presentation is actually the fun I had LYING to people about how I came to this mastery.

     The first time I was questioned was early on in the season…  A friend of my wife needed a yard dude and my name came up.  She wound up going a different direction to try and save money for the meat of the season before coming back to me, but her neighbor has been happily on clientele uninterrupted from the very beginning and is already on for next year.
The neighbor is actually the one I decided to entertain myself by lying to.  I was wrapping up one day, blowing the clippings off of her sidewalk and driveway when she came outside with her little doggie…

Me: “Hey there, lil doggie!”

[Phlip note: I will ALWAYS speak to a dog first]

Her: “Good morning, how are you?”

Me: “I’m wonderful…  About to close up shop and head home, here.”

Her: “You don’t waste no time do you?”

Me: “Not atall…  I devise a plan and knock em out.”

Her: “I was surprised to see you get this done like this with a push mower.”

Me: “It’s a good workout and every yard gets the attention I wanna give it.”

Her: “You’re good at this.”

Me: “Thank you.”

Her: “How long you been doing it?”

Me: “Since I was a kid.”

Her: “Really?”

Me: “Yeah, like a KID-kid…  In the summers, we were made to work the family farm in Conway--…”

Her: “… South Carolina?”

Me: “No, north…  It is up near Virginia on the east.”

Her: “Mmhmm…”

Me: “Well, in the summers, we had the task of cutting the whole-ass plot of land without the benefit of a gas-powered lawn mower or any kind of tractor.  Basically,  by the time we were done cutting, it was time to start over again.”

Her: “Oh my!”

Me: “Yeah…  With that amount of practice and with the privilege of a full meal depending on the quality of the job, one becomes good at it.”

Her: “Wow!”

Me: “So now that I have better tools, this here ain’t NOTHIN’!”

Her: “That is--…  um, wow…  I will cashapp you when I get back inside to my phone.”

     That conversation was in June…  This woman has not spoken to me verbally since then.  I think I scared the shit out of her, she will only text me now if she has any kind of special request (delay, cut it lower, additional work, etc…) but never again has she ever addressed my ability to do what I do.
The fact, honestly, is that we never had to get dirty during any of our trips to the great-grands’ house as kids but that is none of anyone’s business.


     Last Monday was a teacher’s workday and roughly half the kids on my block – the ones who don’t go to a charter school – were outside playing when I went out to cut my front yard and edge mine and the neighbor’s.
I have settled into this “neighborhood dad” role, wherein the kids will come to me if they need their bike fixed or just to smalltalk me as a 9 year-old might.  They are comfortable enough with me now where they will do this even if my daughter is not home.  It so happens that she was and had just gotten out of the bed and was already outside playing in the street in front of the house when I went out on my lunch break to do my work.
Naturally, she and two of her little friends gravitated to me to talk after I had put the mower away and was dealing with the string trimmer.

Kid: “Hey Mr Ava’s dad?”

Me: “Yes, buddy?”

Kid: “How you get so good at cutting the grass?”

Me: “Well…  Y’see, buddy…  When I was little, we didn’t have a lot of money and couldn’t afford a lawn mower.  I had to go out and cut the grass with a pair of scissors every week.”

Kid: “Wow!”

Me: “If, when I finished, even ONE blade of grass was out of place, then I would get the worst whooping I had ever had in my life up to that point!”

Kid: “Really?!!?”

Me: “True Story©, kid.”

[Phlip note: HAAAA, I DID THE THING!!!]

Kid: “That’s crazy!  A pair of SCISSORS?  How long did it take?”

My daughter had been standing there the whole time and was absolutely not here for me and my bullshit…

Ava: “Daddy…  Didn’t you say you learned to cut grass at granny’s house and learned to make money doing it when you were like ten or twelve or something?”

Me: “Well--…  Dangit chipmunk, who taught you to listen to my stories?  Clearly not your mother.”

     I probably didn’t say that last part out loud, but I surely thought it.

     So here we are…  An evil semi-genius who is so terribly against being placed into conversations that he would rather not be in that he will tell an absolute STINKER to make the other person uncomfortable enough to just leave it.
Think back, now…  How long have you known me?  How many times have I told you a WILD story that shut down a conversation?
Was I bullshitting or not?


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