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The leaf blowers of La-La Land

By Ian Nance - posted Tuesday, 9 September 2008


When the weather prompts, lawns will be mowed, and the strivings of suburban conformity will flourish. This often heralds subsequent performances of that famous sonic symphony, “Cacacophony For A Leaf Blower”.

Seldom have I found something with a lesser rationale for existence than this device, proudly flaunted in the affluent villas of La-la Land.

Unlike the humble broom, rake, and dustbin, used over decades by accomplished and enthusiastic lawnsmen, and by which the detritus of mowing plus the leafy aftermath of deciduosity might disappear, this raucous modern instrument makes hideous those turf wars of the present day.

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Where, one may ask, do the leaves and clippings go when this device is employed? Why, to dispersal … never disposal!

I remember, with nostalgia, those times when grass and leaves were raked into a pile, often on clear, still winter afternoons, then lit to burn in plumes of gently rising smoke whose aroma was not unlike incense, and had a similar calming quality.

Nowadays, that gentle, lazy suburban activity is forever forbidden in deference to the Inconvenient Truth.

Nowadays, emitting both noisome fumes and blue haze, the leaf blower, the loud environmental mental, is tolerated to take its place proudly with the recently-condemned petrol lawn mower in the pollution polls.

Recent claims have been made that lawn mowers emit over ten times more pollutants than a car engine, yet their use remains unrestrained. So too does that of leaf blowers, the difference being that mowers cut effectively, whereas blowers merely shift the resulting clippings from one place to another.

Imagine if women were persuaded to use them indoors, rather than the traditional broom, or vacuum cleaner. Certainly, they would shift dust, but sweep it under the carpet?

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Some elements of desire, arising from his eagerness to accept and use these deficient devices, can be found in man’s psyche. Notice the word man’s … I have yet to see a woman using one!

It may be the need to own an executive toy as a sign of affluence. To fork out a couple of hundred dollars on something so unnecessary, displays delusions of financial adequacy. As well, the craving for status symbolism often reveals an under-achiever. Sigmund Freud might well have found something significant about man’s need to hold in his hands, something hard, hot, throbbing, and blowing loudly.

Often the users of these devices come from the genre of the beer gut and baseball cap, florid face and fantasy, speed under the guise of need.

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About the Author

Ian Nance's media career began in radio drama production and news. He took up TV direction of news/current affairs, thence freelance television and film producing, directing and writing. He operated a program and commercial production company, later moving into advertising and marketing.

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