Wacko

What I wanted for Mother’s Day was a weed whacker — one of those machines where the nylon fishing line spins around and cuts weeds. For days ahead of time, family members would ask “What do you want for Mother’s Day?” and I always answered, “A weed whacker.”

So when the big day arrived I was like a kid at Christmas. With every wonderful gift that came my way — and there were several — I silently wondered, do I get this AND a weed whacker?

wackoBut the whacker never materialized.

I don’t mind telling you I was disappointed.

And almost every day since then, I’ve observed the weeds along the driveway and felt a deep longing to whack them.

Then yesterday it occurred to me that if I want a weed whacker so badly, I should just go buy one. The thought was like a breath of fresh air.

It held the added advantage that going shopping would be way more fun than sitting down to write this column. And even better, if I bought a weed whacker and wrote about it, maybe I could write it off as a business expense.

Today I headed off to the weed whacker store, and it didn’t take long to figure out why no one had bought me one for Mother’s Day. There were just too many decisions to be made. I didn’t know whether I wanted a gas weed whacker, an electric one, or one that runs on a rechargeable battery. If I chose a gas one, I didn’t know whether to get a two stroke or a four stroke engine. Did I want a whacker with a straight shaft or curved one, and how much should I spend? $49 or $249 or something in-between?

Choosing a weed whacker was nothing like picking out a blouse or a handbag. Weed whackers all fit me, and as weed whackers go, they all look just fine. Furthermore, I expect they all do a good job of chopping weeds.

As I stood in the hardware store, I called some of the men in my family to ask advice on which whacker I should choose. Their advice was complex and confusing, better suited for a mechanical engineer than for a writer standing a hardware store. Finally I was able to reach John and he said, “Just pick one. If it doesn’t work, we’ll take it back.”

“Well of course it will work,” I said. “They all work.”

dowakaThen he said something that made no sense whatsoever, but somehow it spoke to me. Call it telepathy, or 32 years of marriage, or pure nonsense, but he said, “I’m thinking of that old Roger Miller song, ‘Do wacka, do wacka, do.”

There was a long silence on the line.

“Are you still there?” he asked.

“Yes,” I said. “Thanks.”

Somehow, the pressure was off and I knew what to do.  I chose the lime green one. Lime green has recently become my favorite color. It blends well into an outdoor environment, and it’s like camouflage if you are trying to sneak up on weeds.

There was one accessory I had to buy separately — a roll of nylon line that does the actual whacking. My choices were yellow or blue and I chose blue.

This afternoon, I put together my new toy.  The battery is charging, the blue line is installed, and by tomorrow morning all systems are go.  I’ll be up early. Look for me in the weeds by the driveway.

Let the whacking begin.

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