The Midnight Mower strikes again

Periodically I take a break from column writing (hey, I’ve earned it!) and allow another to take up temporary residence on this page. It’s a decision I make in part so I can enjoy the exciting reaction from editor, who sends me the funniest mock-angry emails when I surprise him like this (they’re adorable!). My Rolodex includes an array of interesting people you likely know and whom you have an opinion. This week’s guest contributor you may recognize from his sheer volume. Enjoy!


[shuts off loudest mower in existence]

Oh, hey there neighbor. I didn’t see you there, on the account it’s getting quite dark. Of course you know me. I’m the guy that decides to mow his yard at 9 p.m. for seemingly no reason whatsoever. You may know of my side project: owning somewhere between two and 40,000 dogs and getting them to bark wildly at 5 a.m. on Saturday mornings. It’s nice to finally get a chance to talk to you.

You might be thinking, “Hey, I wonder if the guy next door (me) gets home late in the evenings” as a reasonable explanation to my horribleness. Nope. You see my loud truck in the driveway when you pull up at 5:30 p.m. Sometimes you hear me rev it really loud for no reason whatsoever, other than to remind you I’m highly annoying. Have you SEEN my truck lately? It’s quite big.

Like cats gently knocking things off living room tables, there’s no real rhyme or reason for my late lawn mowing, save for being an extremely lazy person who gives zero cares about other people. Sure, I could be one of those lame guys that mows the yard at a reasonable hour, but where’s the fun in that? The problem with being an empathetic, normal neighbor is we’re just not very memorable. Neighbors need to be a little … whimsical. Haven’t you ever seen Home Improvement or Office Space? Well, this is my “thing.” Pretty sweet, huh.

I don’t know about you, but nothing makes my low danglers tingle more than getting all the dogs in the neighborhood riled up with the LOUDEST LAWN MORE EVER CREATED. Seriously, have you HEARD this thing? What am I talking about, you and anyone in a two-mile radius has heard this bad boy. Some people like to unwind with a scotch, maybe some America’s Got Talent, but me? Shucks, all I need to be happy is a weed whacker at 9:43 p.m. on a Tuesday and six neighborhood dogs freaking out for two hours. I’m a simple guy.

You’ll probably have noticed by now that I run over a lot of rocks. You’d think my yard is a quarry or littered with dinosaur bones, but I can’t help but get a great sense of joy out of running over every rock I can find. Sometimes I’ll go over to my landscaping and toss a few hundred into the yard, just so I can run them over. You’ll notice running them over is terrible one the blade and the screaming chickens that make up my mower engine. This has the added benefit of making my terrible lawn mower even LOUDER. I know, pretty freaking sweet, right?

If you’ve never had the pleasure of meeting me, just imagine the Broadway show STOMP, but louder and all the “instruments” are being played at random and they’re all lawn mowers and barking dogs. Man, should I be CHARGING for this performance? I have so many great ideas.

Have I mentioned I could care less about your kids? I know your babies are awake now but, look at it this way, now you get to spend more quality time with them! I don’t have kids myself, because I’m too much of a PARTY ANIMAL for that, but I imagine they’re easy to put down again; you know, once I’m done with the yard in the next 90 minutes. Don’t worry, I have a headlamp so I can get out the weed whacker right when you think I’m done. Because I’m not, and you’re actually in hell.

Sometimes I can infect others, too! When they hear me fire up my bulldozer, they feel it’s fine to do the same. Pretty soon you get stupid in stereo. Lucky you!

The best part? There’s really nothing you can do to stop it. What are you going to do, come over and tell me to stop? By now you know your Dad Lawn DNA is in full force, making that impossible. Not only is there GRASS NEEDING TO BE CUT, you can’t have a fellow Guy stop a project once he’s started. No, sadly, you’ll have to take some advice from my wife, Becca, when she gives herself a pep talk to have some fun with me: just grin, hope the funny noises are kept to a minimum and hope it doesn’t take too long to finish.


Kelly Van De Walle can be reached at or via glaring at his neighbors through closed drapes (they can feel it). Follow Kelly on Twitter @pancake_bunny because the alternative is to not, and where’s the fun in that?