I reached a new low-point last week, when I hired my friend’s little brother to mow my lawn for the summer.
Mowing the lawn was the only thing I did around my yard. Plant flowers? No way. Water the lawn? I don’t even own a lawn sprinkler. Maintain my pool? Nah, I have a guy who does that, too.
Nope, it was just me and my gas-powered Toro out in that yellow yard o’ mine.
I always knew it was the least I could do for my property, but it still felt good to get out there every Saturday morning and spend an hour in the outdoors — the steel handle pulsating in my hands as I gave my blond-headed lawn a nice buzz cut. Then I’d spend the rest of the weekend on my couch watching sports with at least some sense of accomplishment.
Turns out it wasn’t the least I could do. I now know the least I can do is sit on my rear and play video games for that hour while my friend’s brother does all the work.
It seemed like the perfect arrangement. The kid’s looking for some summer cash while he’s home from school, and for only $15 a week I get to save my time and energy.
What I didn’t count on was the immense sense of guilt I’d feel as I looked up from my spot on the leather couch in front of the 46-inch television to see him doing the one outdoor domestic chore I ever consistently dedicated myself to.
And my lawn mower looked so comfortable in his hands: It was like waiting on your Big Mac in the McDonald’s drive-through lane as your friend’s little brother drives by with his arm around your ex-girlfriend, who’s riding shotgun in his convertible.
I’d officially given up my yard. And all because I was lazy.
How’d I ever get this way? I sought advice from my friends and family this week to see how it got this bad. Was I always this lethargic?
“Yes,” my mother said. “Any time I ever asked you to do something around the house, you used to get up and run to the bathroom with a sudden bowel emergency.”
My best friend Kevin reminded me of how he used to hate to come over to my house when we were growing up. I’d always have a long list of chores that I was running behind on, and my mom wouldn’t let me go out until after the list was complete.
“I’d get stuck helping you finish your chores,” he wrote in an e-mail this week. “I did more chores at your house growing up than I did at my own.”
So I guess this isn’t a new thing. Maybe now I’m just finally starting to develop a complex about it. After all, it doesn’t make you feel good about yourself to see your older, female neighbor break out a saw to cut down an overgrown tree in your yard because she knows you’ll never do it. Heck, I don’t even own a saw.
I guess it’s true what they say about my generation. We’re the lazy bunch.
I thought about this a lot as I watched “The Pacific” on HBO. These guys spent years in foreign jungles and beaches slaughtering the enemy as their friends were lying in pools of blood beside them. Then they returned to America, got jobs and raised their families without ever complaining about how tough they had it.
Me? I have a three-day weekend like this one coming up and all I can think about is finding ways to maximize couch time.
And it’s not just me. I asked some of my friends about their laziest moments.
My friend Kim reminded me of the time she sent me a text message to look up the number of her favorite Thai restaurant so she didn’t have to get out of bed to use her computer, which was located just feet away in the same room.
My buddy Matty C. told me about a recent day off in which he made a mental checklist of all the things he wanted to do that day. Twelve hours later he said the only thing he’d accomplished was to polish off a half black-olive, half mushroom pizza and a two-liter bottle of soda, and he never even got dressed.
But toward the end of his e-mail he also helped me realize why it is we’re so lazy.
He signed off by saying he also spent two hours that day exchanging instant messages with the girl of his dreams. A pretty young lady he hadn’t seen in years.
Now, she’s his girlfriend.
Which brings me to my conclusion on laziness, something I got tired just thinking about.
With technology improving our lives in so many different ways, we can now afford to be a little lazy.
You see, our parents and grandparents had to work for everything they have.
We can pick up girls in our sweatpants, with eight slices of pizza in our stomachs and the sunlight quietly tucked behind the four walls of our homes.
So here’s your $15, Patrick. Don’t forget to put gas in the mower. I’ll be on the couch if you need me.