Not All Green Is Good

OK, it’s time to talk about the Environment. Here to Austin it’s already warm and Spring-like and folks are starting to fertilize their lawns. That would be a good thing if most people were not idiots. The average Joe the Plumber here in town will see a commercial for weed-and-feed fertilizer, sponsored by some major chemical company, while he’s watching the NCAA Tournament.

In this commercial, this once unhappy homeowner poisons his yard with some weed-and-feed product and experiences life-changing results. The miracle product turns everything it touches green and kills everything but certain grasses. The poor TV sap’s brown grass magically turns emerald green, the nasty infestations of crabgrass and dandelions disappear, all the fire ants have been turned into tiny, empty husks and his erectile dysfunction has morphed into the spawning of eight-toed offspring.

Joe the Plumber doesn’t mind the possibility of bearing prodigy with extra digits, so the concept of a single-product fix for his anemic lawn appeals to him. Off he goes to the big box store to search the garden shop for a bag of Godzilla Nukes the Prairie, Pudont Chemical Company’s hot new lawn care product.

When he arrives to the store he asks one of the helpful store employees how much he needs. Said helpful store employee replies, “I don’t know, I just started. Let me get someone who can help you.” After a half hour or so of waiting, Joe takes matters into his own hands, flips a bag of Godzilla over and starts to read the back.

He brought Joe Junior along on this manly hunt and after a minute’s worth of label scanning, Joe says, “Junior, put the chain saw down and get over here. There’s so much tiny words on this bag I can’t tell what’s what.” Then he adds, “And looka here- they put two skull-and-crossbones on this package. Its gotta be good.”

Junior, sixth grade honor student that he is, reads before acting. “Well Daddy, to boil it all down, can’t use it if you have kids, or pets, or respiratory conditions, or heart condition, or skin conditions or any other health problems. You can’t breathe it, or get it on your skin or eyes, and for God sakes don’t eat it because you’ll die where you stand. It pollutes the air and the soil. You can’t let any of it escape our yard because it will pollute the water supplies downstream from us. It is really toxic to birds and fish and amphibians- maybe that explains the headless frogs we caught.”

Junior went on, “Looks kinda unsafe to me, Daddy.”

“Heck sonnyboy, long as it won’t effect my hemorrhoids, were good as gold. And the frogs was funny bouncing around and bumping things. Now what’s the application rates?”

“One bag for each 5,000 square feet of lawn, Pops.”

“OK, let’s see. We have a quarter-acre lot and a 3,000 foot house. How many feet of grass is that


“Well Daddy, a quarter acre is about 11,000 feet less the house and driveway and sidewalks, let’s say we have about 5,000 square feet of lawn.”

“OK, let’s get us five bags and spread it out before the rain. I’m sick of having a brown yard.”

Now again, dear readers, I am not making this up. In fact, that scenario will be repeated thousands of times over the next month and tons of weed-and-feed will be purchased and dumped into our watersheds. People buy the wrong products, apply them at the wrong rates and at the wrong times.

But look, this weed-and-feed dealie is more than just those issues; it is the very product in itself. For starters, those are all products with formulas designed at the main offices of the big chemical companies, and the logic behind each is to reach the maximum sales possible with the smallest product line. That’s why the formula in the bag on shelves down to Atlanta, Georgia (soil pH6.1) is identical to the bags here, where Austin soils can exceed pH of 8.

I won’t bore you now with why that formula regularity gives me the squirts, but trust me here, that is one bad strategy for the Environment.

Here’s the rub. Weed-and-feed is a major oxymoronic nomenclature. Unless you have my inappropriate sense of humor in which case it is evil. I see weed-and-feed, and I think “poisoned food”. Think of it like your teenage daughter, Sissy, is a little heavy through the hips, has acne and can’t get a date to the prom. Assume also that you are a way-back-in-the-woods redneck.

So, you head over to Bubba’s house and get the kid a Hefty Bag labeled, “Bubba’s March of Ought Ten Micro-brewed crystal meth,” for Sissy’s weight problems. Then you wait till late that night and take the family over to the vet’s office and rob the Doc of a box of canine antibiotics to fix them zits. Might as well grab some of them horse tranks for you and Momma to party on while you’re there. You are after all, a multi-tasker.

Skip ahead nine months to the dentist’s chair. “What in the hell has happened to this kid’s mouth, Sonny?” This from Doctor Venables as he inspects Sissy’s ravaged mouth. “Six teeth already fell out, nine more getting pulled, her gums are black and bleeding and the poor kid’s blood pressure is sky high.”

Oblivious to ridicule, Sonny is proud of his daughter. “But don’t them shorts and halter top hang nice on her doc? And her skin’s like a baby’s butt.”

See what I mean? Lost weight, clear skin and near death. Same thing with your lawn and those products. And once more, forget that these one bag fix-alls are toxic poisons that kill every carbon-based life that they touch. Using these products are the same dynamic as Sonny’s cures for Sissy.

Oh sure, the dandelions die and sure, the Saint Augustine gets green. For now. But just like Sissy, in just a few months time, everybody is Jonesing for another fix while their roots rot out, and the earthworms sizzle in a chemical bath as their little hearts beat themselves to death.

Use organic products folks! Even the big box stores have them. Use compost, seaweed liquids and organic fertilizers. And for Pete sakes follow the label for proper usage. Even a starving man can eat himself to death.

If you will use the right products wisely, you will have a prettier lawn with fewer weeds. If you don’t know what to do, go to a local plant nursery or garden store and ask. Or listen to the radio on weekend mornings and catch John or Cheryl on their garden shows.

OK, I promised more on the “Inappropriate” business. See, I think it all started when I was at a fund raiser for the Capital Area Food Bank. I was there with Gram and Streaker Jones and we were saying, “HI,” to everyone. We walked over to where all of the press was standing and this voice says, “Well, well well. If it isn’t Mr. Mooner Johnson- the most inappropriate man in the world.”

It was my buddy Michael Barnes, the guy that does all of the society news and stuff for the local paper. And then the rest of the newsies took it from there. Next thing I know, I’m on TV and they call me “The Inappropriate Gardener” after I accidentally jammed a splinter under my fingernail during this live segment where we’re showing how to plant tomatoes using composted soil.

Why is “fuck” such a bad word anyway? I mean it’s not like I’m the only person who uses it. Anyway I issued a written apology and paid the TV station’s FCC fine, so who gives a shit.

This inappropriate man thing starts to steamroll and I get home out to the ranch one day and I have this big Certified Mail package waiting for me on my desk. Most of my Certified Mail is lawsuits and that sort of stuff so I didn’t open it right away. A month later I was to home when another Certified package arrived, mailed from the same address.

So I open this one and it’s this pretty certificate naming me the most inappropriate man in the world as determined by a poll conducted by US News and World Report. Curious, I opened the first Certified package to discover that I had been nominated for the honor by, and I’ll quote the letter here, “One-hundred-percent of the legitimate newscasters from the Austin market.”

Bunch of fuckballs. Like having a pretty smile legitimizes your inability to string two cogent sentences together. Besides, I think the only legitimate news people left are the guys in print, like Michael Barnes. But alas, they aren’t “news casters” are they?

Nope the “caster” part puts them on the radio or TV, like Rush Limbaugh-cheese-smelling Republican asswipe. Or most of those right-wing religious bozos over to Fox.

Anyway, what made me want to talk about your grass was because you want it to be green and today is Saint Patrick’s Day. Happy Saint Paddy’s Day!

My next posting will be an article I wrote for the newsletter for the compost association bunch. It is many years old- I was still married to Dr. Sam I. Am-Johnson. But since today is a holiday and I’m talking about idiots, maybe you will like it. Later- Mooner

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10 Responses to “Not All Green Is Good”

  1. Little Josephine from south of Rome says:

    That’s better, you toned it down quite a bit. More readable. but that must make it very difficult for you to write. … have to “hold back” like that.
    Thank god for your therapist. Poor Mooner.
    And kudos to you for informing everyone about the horrors of Weed n Feed….awful stuff. Should be taken off the market. You are so smart.

  2. admin says:

    Thanks Phenie-
    People simply don’t get it. I am trying to get it about the part wherein I cuss too much. Makes me shake and need drinks and stuff to keep my typing finger off the “F” button.

    I asked Streaker Jones if I cuss too much and he said to me, he said, “Who gives a shit, Mooner?”

    Now don’t go hitting my account with that one, that’s Streaker Jones’s opinion.

    I appreciate you responding and I can take the criticism.

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