Look, I know you don’t want to read about lawn maintenance, and I certainly don’t want to write about it (well, not sober, anyway). So instead of boring you with gardening tips, I want to talk about something more substantive and pertinent to the divisive times in which we all now live, something that the mainstream media has done its best to bury and suppress for some reason.

The shockingly racist history of Liquid Paper® brand correction fluid.

Liquid PaperEver wonder why they called the stuff, “White-Out”? Well, back in 1956, a little old lady from Texas named Bette Nesmith was trying to devise a way to eradicate black—PSYCH!!! OMG, I’m just messin’ with you, people!! Wite-Out® is a totally different correction fluid product!

But seriously, I really DO want to talk about lawn maintenance. And, yes, I have been drinking—hey, don’t judge me this early in the morning!

Zen and the art of lawn maintenance.

When you become a man of a certain age, like myself, lawn care becomes an obsession like baking sourdough bread, doing jigsaw puzzles, or stalking Jodie Foster. These days, when I refer to “getting some good grass,” I’m not talking about scoring dank chronic, I’m talking about sod plugs. Needless to say, it’s taking a bit of adjustment so, to cope, I’m day-drinking…a lot.

It’s not easy being green, friend.

Having lived in apartments and condos up to this point in my life, I’d never fully appreciated how much effort went into maintaining a decent lawn—it is, my friend, not inconsequential.

After only a few weeks of mowing, edging, and weed-whackery, I already have “lumbago,” a back ailment doctors stopped diagnosing decades ago, numerous cuts and bruises I don’t remember ever getting, and soreness in muscles I didn’t know I even had—all in the pursuit of manicured magnificence.

I finally understand why old men sit on their front porch, shake their fists, and stereotypically yell, “Get off my lawn, ya damn hooligans!” Because any incursion into my yard—whether by human, mammal, reptile, or insect—is an act of war that will be met with stiff resistance and, at the very least, a water hose.

Losing the lawn maintenance battle of St. Augustine.

logo of Peter Crosby
St. Augustine grass is supposed to be green.

Over the past few months, a slowly yellowing patch of St. Augustine grass inexplicably appeared in my normally hearty front lawn. (See disturbingly graphic image at right—young kids, look away!)

I didn’t notice the patch slowly spreading and expanding until it had consumed one entire section of my front lawn. I’d written off “The Beige-ening” as nothing more than seasonal sun damage because I was naïve and foolish—little did I know the aeration atrocities occurring beneath my very feet.

Sneak attack of the zombie grass vampires.

When we first bought the house, its disclosure documents divulged nothing presaging the legions of enemy forces amassing deep within our soil. The property inspector’s assessment made no mention of any foreign invaders within my borders. And yet, below my lawn’s yellowing surface grass—unbeknownst to me—certain death was waiting.

It wasn’t until our landscaper called me over to the spot that I became aware of this silent assault and its true cause. Squatting down, he pulled out a handful of yellowing grass, then muttered the cryptic phrase that has haunted my dreams ever since:
“Ya got chinch.”

logo of Peter CrosbyOvercome with blind rage, I extended my arms outward, cocked my head skyward, took a deep breath, and—as the camera craned up and away—roared “CHIIIIIINNNCH!” toward the heavens.

Neighbors all around us stopped what they were doing and looked in the direction of my cry only to see a startled murder of crows erupt from a nearby tree. A long awkward silence followed during which time one of us quietly farted—it might have been me.

My milkweed brings all the bugs to the yard.

Turns out that southern chinch bugs, aka Blissus Insularis, are pesky little grubs that use their needle-like beaks to impale blades of grass and suck out the precious life-giving fluids, causing the grass to yellow, whither, and die.

While I slept, those damnable bastards had done just that, destroying a large chunk of my expensive lawn. And, as the gods as my witnesses, they were going to pay for it…with their lives! But, I mean, what else? Grubs don’t have trust funds.

The chinch bugs’ coming comeuppance.

Though the chinch hordes had won this first battle, I’m determined to win the war of lawn maintenance. Having now lost the advantage of surprise, the chinch bugs will soon be crushed under my flip-flops like the insignificant pests that they are (assuming you ignore their vital role in the food chain of a healthy ecosystem, which I totally will).

But if simply crushing them doesn’t work, I’ll bust out a biological murder-spray containing an entomopathogenic fungus which bores through the insect’s outer shell to its vulnerable body cavity, dispersing fungal toxins which quickly multiply and obliterate the insects from the inside.

So say your good-byes, bugs.