Fun & Humor / Gary Chalk / Lifestyle & Retirement / Tips and Tricks

It’s Spring! Time for “Lawn-Mower Lowdown!”

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It’s Spring! Time for “Lawn-Mower Lowdown!”

AFL’s Gary Chalk

It’s spring.

Husbands get up from the breakfast table after scarfing down two pounds of bacon– and pop a cholesterol pill.

“I think I’ll go to the garage and try to start the lawnmower so it’s ready for the summer.”

Wives turn a shade of white– think ‘Cloud White, part of the Benjamin Moore Classic Color Collection; warm with neutral undertones.’

They grab their iPhone and text: OMG!

Then it’s time to post on Facebook…

“My husband is going to be around machinery with moving parts and sharp blades.”

Next, your wife calls the kids…

“Please don’t bring the grandchildren over today! Dad is starting the lawnmower. It’s better if they learn their four-letter words among their peers – when they begin playing soccer.”

Then your wife hollers out to the garage, “Dear, before you start the lawnmower aren’t there other spring chores that need to be done?”

“Like why don’t you take down the Christmas lights? Or how about the Halloween decorations that have been dangling from the eves for five months now? Why don’t you fix the rusted basketball pole that’s been on a 45-degree angle since the kids left for college?”

In the garage your husband cranks up the tunes: a little AC/DC ‘Highway to Hell;’ a song which was a precursor to Donald Trump becoming president.

There are two types of lawn mowers. But not really…

Most men loath electric lawn mowers. This is because electric lawn mowers are designed to run quietly. So, to compensate, guys listen to Guns & Roses blasting away in their headset at a decibel level equal to their kid practicing his bagpipes in the basement.

Men with electric lawn mowers cut grass Saturday mornings; and visit hardware stores in the afternoon to replace the 200-foot bright yellow extension cord they tore to shreds!

Not surprisingly many men prefer oil polluting, gas guzzling lawn mowers. The louder the better. Think Harley Davidson loud.

Preparing the lawn mower for another season involves 7 steps. Notice I didn’t say 7 easy steps…

Step 1: Clean under the lawn mower.
This is where you remove the debris from last season– stuff like old grass, dead leaves and bits of white plastic that in their former life were practice golf balls. Note: these remnants can also be found stuck to the window screens and your neighbor’s bird feeder.

Step 2: Change the spark plug.
A clean spark plug is required to start your lawn mower– along with strong arm and back muscles when you pull the cord (See Step 7.) To change the spark plug you will need a special wrench which you purchase each year because– and this is in the manual that you threw out– men lose stuff like this.

Step 3: Sharpen the blades.
Notice I said blades. This is because the lawn mower was invented by Harold Husqvarna; although Harold Honda came up with a Japanese version– and men always want more ways to cut their grass and their fingers– so two blade machines became popular. Of course. you threw the instruction manual out so most men don’t know that before trying to remove the blade it is recommended to have a tetanus shot.

Step 4: Set blade height.
Most guys begin the lawn cutting season with good intentions, but then golf season starts. So, either set the blade at a height that allows you to push the lawn mower through grass that is reaching the door handles on your Buick Enclave– or buy a pack of goats!

Step 5: Inspect your belt.
No. I’m not talking about the belt that came with the relax fit jeans your wife purchased. I’m talking about the black rubber drive belt you see when you turn the lawn mower over– and gas and oil spills all over your garage concrete floor!

Step 6: Change the oil.
This is a 2-step process– notice I didn’t say 2- easy steps. First, locate the drain plug which can be found underneath the lawn mower. The drain plug is the little black plastic piece that twists out– before you have a chance to place an empty container for the oil to flow into! Placing an empty container underneath was going to be the second step, however, it’s too late now. If your wife were around this is when she would say, “Didn’t you read the instruction manual first?”

Step 7: Starting the lawn mower.
Some mowers have an electric start feature. However, this assumes you haven’t lost the special cord that attaches the machine to an electrical outlet. To manually start the mower, first you need to ‘prime’ the engine which will immediately flood the engine and render the lawn mower useless for at least 15 minutes! Eventually you can begin to yank the pull cord– until such time as A) you figure you need Tommy John surgery to repair your torn rotator cuff, or B) your wife comes to your rescue as you are heaving the lawn mower like the Scottish toss a telephone pole at the Highland Games!

In a future Living Retired column I will write about working with other outdoor power tools– including gasoline powered hedge trimmers, 1200 RPM 32cc chain saws; and ‘How To Turn Your Baseball Cap Into A Tourniquet Until Your Wife Gets You To the Nearest Hospital.’


Gary Chalk a retired Canadian baby boomer is a member of Humor Writers of America. Each week over 3,000 people across North America read Living Retired. To unsubscribe or to book Gary’s keynote presentation ‘I Don’t Have Wrinkles, I Have Laugh Lines’ visit


There’s lots more laughs at

Canadian humorist on a mission: ‘turn people’s wrinkles into laugh lines.’ Gary has been described as Canada’s Dave Barry– usually by tax collectors who don’t have a sense of humor. They figure if they can help him make some money he’ll pay any taxes owing!
As a public speaker, Gary is available to deliver his laugh out loud, inspirational speech ‘I Don’t Have Wrinkles, I Have Laugh Lines’ which transforms audiences into a ‘wrinkle-free zone’ where he relates his on-air bloopers as a young radio announcer through to his current musings Living Retired. Nothing is sacred as Gary talks about his wife’s dozen decorator pillows on their bed, wearing nasal strips, watching a husband and wife parallel park their Winnebago, to undergoing his annual physical! By the end everyone in the audience is sure to leap out of their seat and toss their wrinkle cream! His popular weekly column ‘Living Retired’– read by baby boomers and retirees throughout North America– transforms everyday mundane chores into wonderfully laugh out loud events! To read more of Gary’s antics visit

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