Man versus Lawn

In his quest for perfection, my dad has entered into unholy alliances with every conceivable model of electric shears and self-propelled lawnmower known to man; he’s of an older generation that takes pride in a beautiful lawn.  One day as I sat in a lawn chair reading a book, his shadow fell over me.  He stood there, holding the electric shears and showing no regard for safety goggles.  He asked me what the book was about.

So I told him about Gilgamesh of Uruk—how he was three-quarters man and one-quarter god—how he built the great walls of Uruk—how the pleasures of urban life failed to sate his appetite—and how he traveled to the Cedar Forest to face Humbaba the Terrible.  He stood there and looked down on me.  He said nothing, but he didn’t have to say anything.  I saw the glint in his eye and then and there, I knew he understood Gilgamesh of Uruk.

His understanding needed nothing of scholarly comparisons between Sumerian and Akkadian cuneiform—nothing of long forgotten Hittite libraries—and nothing of subtle nuances of interpretation.  He understood the epic in its concreteness as a battle between man and his lawn and in many ways, the critters that inhabit his lawn.

As he fired up the electric shears and went to town on the hedge, I too understood.  But how would I explain this to my teacher?  In the end, I placed my trust in the universal antagonism of man and lawn and our need to assert dominance over it.  I then closed my book and took up the self-propelled against the Cedar Forest and terrible Humbaba, who called our lawn its home.


©2013 Kent Gutschke  All rights reserved.

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