Last winter, we finally caved and bought a snowblower.
Up until that moment, I had only disdain for those mechanical menaces. They were for the weak, the pampered. No, I preferred the exercise of shoveling — the peace after a storm, the winter quiet interrupted only by the manly scrape of a shovel on concrete. Sure, it took longer. It required physical effort. But so what. I liked it, I told myself. It brought me closer to nature, closer to the elemental Viking Quality of life in the Great Northeast.
According to experts in the field of psychology, this is what is called a massive rationalization. In other words, complete bear scat.
Because I’m telling you I love my new Sears snowblower more than I love most of my own children. No cords to pull, it has an electric starter. Plug it in, push a button, starts right up. Vroom! The concussive cacophony of hearing that heavy-duty, four-cycle monster roar to life, rattling the window panes, echoing off the walls of my garage like store-bought thunder . . . it stirs the soul and sends testosterone roiling through the veins.
I am transformed! I am like a demi-god risen from Norse mythology, guardian of Midgard, son of Odin. Brandishing my new snowplow as if it were the very hammer of Thor, I will clear a mighty pathway down the driveway!
Okay, sure, I’m not happy about my friend, Paul. He one-upped me by purchasing a blower with heated handles and a headlight. Who the hell plows in the middle of the night?! Heated handles! A perk for the coddled. For softies. This is exactly what Tom Brokaw has been talking about. We aren’t the greatest generation. Not even close. Why? Because of people like Paul with their chubby little fingers like pink sausages who need electric, heated handles.
Sigh. I wish I’d thought of it. Sometimes my digits do get numb.
Truthfully, I want a snowplow that makes hot chocolate. Not the boutique kind you get in Starbucks, where it takes twelve hours to get a cup. I want the hot chocolate you get in diners where they push a button and presto! out it comes. (And yeah, I want whipped cream with that. Why are you even asking?!) I want this hot chocolate maker built directly into my snowblower. Or at least as an optional attachment. That way, I can beat Paul and warm my fingers.
Mostly I’ve learned that owning a snowblower is about power. And noise. Making a blessed racket! Being a real man behind a loud machine, hurling that white stuff into the sky, screaming to all the world: I AM MAN . . . HEAR ME ROAR!
(When you write children’s books for a living, believe me, you need this.)
But darn, it is nippy out here. My toes are freezing. I’m sleepy and this wool scarf is scratching my neck. It hate that prickly feeling. I hope I don’t get a rash. I feel itchy already. Can’t I just go inside for some soup? This machine is kind of scary and dangerous. I could easily lop off a hand. How am I supposed to TiVo and eat pretzel nuggets with only one good hand?
I should have slept in and waited for the wife to do it.
Hey, you know . . . I wish I’d thought of that sooner. Lisa would actually enjoy the peace and the beauty, the winter quiet. I’d be doing her a favor. For Lisa, it would be like yoga. Bend, lift, throw could become her new mantra. A Zen exercise, a Way to mental health and wholeness. She wouldn’t be shoveling, she’d be . . . centering.
Think of the huge chunk of change I could have saved. Instead, I blew it on the blower.
I wonder if it’s too late for a refund?
“Oh, honey . . . ?”