Volume 14, Issue 18 ~ May 4 - May 10, 2006


Keep Your Shirt On

by Allen Delaney

Thousands of mowing machines are roaring to life to tame unruly lawns. Of course with the price of gas going ever higher, we may be hearing thousands of homeowners roaring The hell with the grass! But for the diehard lawn rangers, mowers will be pushed or ridden across untidy yards throughout Maryland. It’s for this reason that I address all you lawn-mowing guys out there.

Please, please, please guys, wear your shirt while mowing.

When I say shirt, I don’t mean your favorite form-fitting, 24-year-old Where’s the Beef? T-shirt. I mean a large, button-up shirt that has at least one X in its size. This may come as a surprise to you, but you are no longer the buff college athlete you once were. Or thought you were.

No, things on your body have sunk and shifted much like bread dough oozing out of a bowl. Those comfort-fit shorts your wife bought you last summer are a tell-tale sign that your body has expanded to at least an XL.

The sight of your shirtless, pale, sweaty body pushing a mower in the hot sun is not something the neighborhood ladies are excitedly calling each other about; It’s more a warning they’re whispering.

I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, but you’re scaring the little kids in your neighborhood. Some of you guys out there need a bra.

Look at your wife. See how she’s sensibly dressed for summer heat? Large hat, light cotton long-sleeved shirt, large, roomy breathable pants. Wait. That’s the laundry pile. There, by the roses, see that moving laundry pile? That’s your sensibly dressed wife working outside.

As women get older, they pile on more clothes when they venture outdoors. Their two-piece bikini of 25 years ago has become an ensemble of clothing and accessories containing at least six separate pieces of outerwear. You, on the other hand, tragically still believe you can turn heads with your exposed six-pack abs. Trust me, your six-pack has become a keg, and heads are definitely turning, sometimes violently, away from your direction.

The reason men are unable to see that they are no longer the Adonis they once thought is a medical condition called Mid-life Blindness. This condition also explains why middle-aged guys think their comb-over is unnoticeable and that they look cool driving an expensive convertible.

I was afflicted with this condition until my wife, our friends and neighbors hoodwinked me into an intervention. (They promised me beer.) Using charts, my pant size history and photographs, they convinced me that I am no longer the hot 22-year old I once was. Or ever was for that matter. After realizing the painful truth, I now wear a full button-up shirt and long pants when mowing the lawn.

So guys, this summer, follow my example and get an extra large Hawaiian print shirt, long cotton pants, and make that your lawn mowing outfit. Do it for your neighbors, for the young children, for your wife. If you’re the guy who lives behind my house, do it for me. We will all thank you.

Allen Delaney’s comic reflections have tickled Bay Weekly readers since the turn of the millennium. You last laughed at his Earth Day reflection Clotheslines Make Good Neighbors [Vol. xiv, No 16: April 20].

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