JH: What’s the best thing you’ve ever run over with a lawnmower?
RH: My most memorable lawn-mowing experience came a few summers ago while I was visiting my brother in Spokane, Washington. My brother insisted I help out with the yard work, and I did so reluctantly, a bit indignant to be doing manual labor instead of sitting on the couch drinking his beer and watching poker on ESPN.
The pine cones in Spokane are like none other I have ever encountered. Each little pine cone appendage has a razor-sharp barb that can easily pierce skin. My brother’s lawn was covered with those wretched things. I had to take extreme care picking them up, and the whole time a huge albino dog kept barking at me from the neighbor’s yard. I eventually got so sick of him that I picked up a pine cone and tossed it in his direction, hoping he would chase it down and try to bite it. He just watched it roll past and then looked back at me with utter disdain.
Anyway, I mowed the damn yard. I probably ran over a dozen pine cones that had been nestled down in the grass. I got some nice scrapes on my shins from the cone shrapnel, as I refuse to follow the coward’s path and wear jeans while mowing. I didn’t mind too much. After a while, the noise and vibration of the mower can put you in a kind of meditative state, and you can mow on autopilot while focusing all your thoughts on plotting the murder of your neighbor’s pet.