We had a party at our house the other day. One of the recurring comments was “your yard is beautiful!” Now, I cannot take any credit for that. The vision, landscaping, and most of the work on the yard is done by my wife or by the people she hires. I am in charge of grass cutting, weed-whacking, garden turning, and debris hauling. All with much complaining. Actually, I really don’t like compliments on the yard. It’s like I’ve failed a little. See, I have a theory about yard care…
We live in a pretty nice neighborhood. Lots of guys out on Saturday mornings cutting their yards in little diagonals, weeding, trimming, all the yard crap. When it’s done, they mostly all look great. But like most neighborhoods, not all participate. I take full advantage of those people. See, my theory is you want the 3rd Worst Yard in the neighborhood. Seems like a too specific goal doesn’t it? Follow me here. If you have the Worst Yard in the neighborhood all the other neighbors look down their nose and tsk-tsk at you. Who wants that? If you have the 2nd Worst Yard in the neighborhood you run the risk of Worst Yard Guy getting tired of all the tsk-tsking, caving into the overwhelming peer pressure and possible feedback from the jack-weeds of the community association and cleaning up his act, literally. The 2nd Worst Yard becomes Worst Yard with all the negative attention that garners. So if you have the 3rd Worst Yard you are buffered from that indignity by one yard. This can be dynamic, but usually you can count on worst yard and second worst yard just trading places back and forth. Neither of them really give a shit about the yard, and as soon as the spotlight is off will go back to their poor lawn care habits. Actually, 3rd Worst Lawn Guy care doesn’t care either, he’s just more strategic.
I know many of you are asking, my wife prime among you, “why not shoot for the Best Yard? Don’t you want to be the envy of the neighborhood?” In a word(s) “absolutely freaking not.” For a couple of really good reasons:
- 2nd and 3rd Best Yard really want to be Best Yard and will keep cutting diagonals, adding little garden features, planting trees and plants and arbory stuff endlessly to try to take you down. Too much pressure. But the real reason:
- Too much work! And every second spent doing yardwork is a second spent doing things I don’t want to do-yardwork-and keeping me from things I want to do, which starts with ‘don’t do yardwork.”
(Note: I used to think Best Yard Guy didn’t really want the Best Yard as much as he caved to pressure from his wife to have the Best Yard. But after talking to a few Best Yard Guys through the years, my wifes family among them. I’ve learned that no, they really want to be Best Yard Guy all on their own. This totally baffles me, why do yard work when you can do things that are, I don’t know, fun? Trust me, no one in my family has ever been Best Yard Guy. Ever. Probably spent more time as Worst Yard Guy or 2nd Worst Yard Guy. Those were my role models, I just upped the game.)
This all makes 3rd Worst Yard the yard sweet spot. If you were to create an equation that took in the factors of minimizing yard work, maximizing time to fish or golf or other not yard things, while sheltering you from negative comments of neighbors and keeping the disappointment from your wife at a bearable level, the answer would be 3rd Worst Yard. I’m telling you, it’s genius. If I am ever known for anything when I leave this world, I hope it is this theory.
So when I hear “you have a beautiful back yard” I think “holy crap, this does look good. Better let some weeds into this bad boy and dull the lawnmower blade a bit.” Theys fish to catch and golf balls to hit and I can’t do those things if I have to keep the yard up. If you think your outdoor recreational activities are more important than being the envy of your neighborhood, give this a try. But stay the hell out of my neighborhood. I got a good thing going here.