It could happen to you. And when it happens, nothing will keep you from following your obsession.
Youll dream green, youll drool green, your knees will be stained green and youll repeat green, green, green, like a mantra in your sleep.
Youll have joined the millions of Americans who have succumbed to the summer phenomenon of obsessive lawn care.
And who would blame you? Dont we all cherish fond memories of summers spent on green lawns, playing ball or rolling down lush hills, our hearts close to such sweet-mown grassy knolls.
Unless, of course, we grew up in the concrete jungle. In which case, were sometimes even more susceptible to the alluring call of the lawn mower, buzzing away like a pleasant swarm of faraway bees, at 8 in the morning on a Saturday.
But before you decide to create your own field of dreams and buy into the multimillion dollar obsession that is the American Lawn, consider some of the shocking consequences.
For a perfect lawn is not achieved through personal sacrifice alone. It comes at the cost of your home, your family, your neighbors and your neighborhood. Even your planet stands to lose. Like buying a house on a full suburban acre of ungrassed soil, its not a state to be entered into lightly.
But assuming youve found yourself ensconced in an area or a headspace where Lawn Matters, lets look at the progression of this manic obsession.
First of all, youll begin to notice imperfections in your previously perfect home, as you realize the deeper implications of the phrase, "The grass is always greener."
Youll cruise the neighborhood after dark, your previously dormant competitive streak germinating as you check out yards, inspect irrigation systems and speculate on the mowing styles of your more grass-worldly neighbors. Youll begin to compare your own patch of scrubby sod to their green grassy glories.
Youll make your first trip to a garden center, where youll pretend you know what youre doing. Youll ponder Bermuda grass and fescue, ryegrass and bluegrass. Youll buy 20 pounds of Kentucky blue seed, and a trunkload of nitrogen fertilizer. Youll arrive home wondering what alchemy could combine these two elements into a glorious green carpet.
Frustrated, youll admit early defeat, watch a baseball game on television, and dream of AstroTurf perfection. Youll pay another visit to the garden center, where youll rent a tiller, a dethatcher and a mulcher. Youll go home and feel empowered, applying these tools to your weak and imperfect lawn. Youll overseed, water and fertilize. Youll walk the dog five times a day to keep its cruel paws off your tender early sprouts.
And then, when the first blush of new green appears, like a miraculous hair regrowth, on your Perfect Lawn-In-Waiting, your joy and obsession will be reborn. Youll count sprouts per square inch, measure stalks and water carefully.
Youll watch, with satisfaction, as your yard transforms into a pale green paradise. Youll stand with two aluminum pie pans, banging them together to scare off marauding birds and digging cats. Youll lock the dog indoors.
And youll wait. Soon, your lawns adolescent leaves will ragamuffin into a shag rug.
Youll get out the power mower. Youll decide its not enough. Youll invest in a lawn tractor. With a sense of satisfaction, youll drive around the yard, showing the lawn the limits of its influence. In your yard, you reign.
Youll lose track of priorities. Your houseplants will languish. Your dog will pee on your turf one last time before it moves in with the neighbors.
Youll ignore news reports that say the organic compounds released by mown grass contributes to pollution.
Youll water obsessively, tending your green after sundown or before dawn, oblivious to drought or water-conservation measures. Youll scoop up bathwater with a teacup before youll let your lawn go thirsty.
Youll make friends with the guy from ChemLawn and bow in the direction of St Louis, home of Monsanto, the makers of Roundup, the all-powerful weed killer.
At some point, that wide canvas of perfect emerald green will look somewhat blank. Youll purchase ornaments, perhaps bunnies or gnomes. Theyll take up residence beside the "keep off the grass" sign youve had sandblasted into a rounded stone.
Youll ignore the jeers of the neighbors, the pleading of your family for dignity. Youll install a miniature windmill, and yell at the neighbor kids to put those putters away.
One day, youll notice a small brown patch, where the grass has succumbed to some outside influence: Gasoline? Footprints? Dog pee? Your heart will wrench, and youll consider your options. A divot, stolen from the local golf course? More grass seed? Spray paint?
Youll settle on spray paint, heading to your local Home Depot to find one to match. Youll spray under cover of darkness, embarrassed at your lawn-care ineptitude.
Soon, under the influence of the paint, more grass will turn brown. And then more. And more.
From there, the insidious cycle begins again.
Dont let it happen to you.