Turning over a brand-new leaf blower


Published: Sunday, January 11, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 11, 2004 at 1:37 a.m.

Have you ever wondered why the entire world runs so smoothly? The answer is: Guys.

Don't get me wrong: I have the deepest respect for women. My own wife is a woman. But when things need to get done, you cannot beat the results you get when guys swing into action.

For an excellent example, we turn now to a news story from the Greenville (S.C.) News, written by John Boyanoski and sent in by alert reader Michael Ester. The story concerns a guy - let's call him Guy A - who had a problem: There were leaves in his yard. So he fired up his leaf blower.

Leaf blowers are the ideal guy tool, because they have engines, they're loud, and they enable you to blast debris, ray-gun-style, from one place to another without having to actually pick it up. I'm willing to bet that somewhere in America, there's a guy who, at least once, cleaned his living room by firing up his leaf blower indoors and blasting everything - pizza boxes, beer cans, ancient potato-chip shards, underwear, deceased spiders - into a less-critical area, such as the dining room. (This guy is not married.)

But getting back to our story, which I am not making up: Guy A, taking action, used his leaf blower to blow the leaves off of his property. Problem solved!

Except that the leaves wound up in the yard of another guy. Let's call him Guy B. He now had leaves in HIS yard. What do you think he should have done about this? Should he have asked Guy A, politely but firmly, to remove the leaves? Should he have avoided a potential confrontation by picking them up himself? Or should he have decided that life is too short to be bothered by this kind of petty annoyance, and simply ignored the leaves?

If you answered ``yes'' to any of these solutions, you are, with all due respect, a woman. What Guy B did, according to the Greenville County sheriff's department report, was the same thing that roughly 175 percent of the guys reading this column would have done: He fired up HIS leaf blower, and he blew the leaves back onto the yard of Guy A.

So now the leaves were back where they started. This was a crucial moment - a moment when some people, realizing that nothing good was going to come of this situation, would have said the heck with it. But these were not ``some people.'' These were guys, and when guys start a job, guys want to finish it, no matter what. That is how we got the pyramids, the interstate highway system, and World Wars I and II.

So Guy A blew the leaves back onto Guy B's yard. This left Guy B with no choice but to blow the leaves back onto Guy A's yard, leaving Guy A with no choice but to blow the leaves back into Guy B's yard, and so on. They played leaf-blower tennis for a while, until apparently it dawned on them how silly this was. And so, according to the sheriff's report, as recounted in the Greenville News, ``they started blowing air in each other's face.''

From there, things went downhill. According to the sheriff's department report, Guy B claimed that Guy A head-butted him. Guy A claimed that Guy B hit his leaf blower with a hammer and knocked his dust mask off, scratching his nose. (Yes: Guy A wore a dust mask. It's important to follow leaf-blower safety guidelines.)

Finally a sheriff's deputy was called to the scene of the dispute; after listening to the two sides, he shot both guys in the head, to improve the gene pool.

No, really, the deputy couldn't determine who was at fault, so he decided not to charge either guy. I don't know what the situation is now, but it would not surprise me to find out that both guys - having learned a valuable lesson about how a stupid little dispute can escalate into a potentially dangerous situation - have purchased bigger leaf blowers.

Speaking of which: A LOT of leaves get blown onto the United States from Canada. When are we going to fight back? When will the Defense Department launch a project to develop a tactical nuclear leaf blower, code-named Screaming Wind?

Until that happens, I urge you guys in northern states to grab your leaf blowers, organize into units and patrol the Canadian border, intercepting incoming leaves and blasting them back where they belong. You should wear camouflage. Also, of course, dust masks. No point in taking chances.

Dave Barry is a humor columnist for the Miami Herald. Write to him c/o The Miami Herald, One Herald Plaza, Miami FL 33132.

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