Before we leave fall too far behind, allow me to pen a quick note to the owners of leaf blowers – the single worst invention of mankind, with the possible exception of hip-hop. Or shrink wrap. Or possibly Wolf Blitzer. It’s a toss-up.
Dear Leaf Blower Owners:
You’re killing me. Seriously, you’re killing me. Knock it the heck off.
Remember that extremely rare 70-degree November afternoon we had last week? I was out on the deck enjoying the heck out of it with a glass of wine and H.W. Brands’ biography of Ben Franklin “The First American,” which I recommend.
I was in hog heaven. I read a few paragraphs, then took a sip, then marveled at the peace and perfection of the day. Then I repeated this entirely pleasant sequence – read, sip, marvel – for 30 glorious minutes.
Then this happened: “RHEEEEEEEE!”
That was you and your loud, screechy leaf blower toy. You’re aware of the screechiness, yes? If not, let me assure you, your leaf blower sounds like a hundred 20-year-old pickup trucks with loose timing belts.
Or a thousand babies crying at once.
Or a million hair bands with a million blow dryers getting their fluff on before a concert.
It’s the pitch that gets me even more than the volume. It’s this high, tinny, insistent pitch that is instant ear agony. I can’t be the only one bothered by it. Why the leaf blower industry can’t lower the pitch so that it’s a loud but endurable BUUUUUUUH! (think foghorn) instead of a whiny, insistent RHEEEEE! is beyond me. Probably it’s because it would cost them 20 extra cents per unit for a muffler. Can’t have that. No, no. Much better to annoy the hell out of America for all eternity than make a modestly better product.
I also don’t get why the industry can get away with creating a product that deafens people three backyards away. Isn’t there some sort of federal agency that regulates stuff like that — the Department of Noise or something?
If not, there should be. If nothing else, think of the squirrels and their hearing. Do we really want a generation of squirrels that go around saying, “What?”
Call me anti-progress, but what was so wrong with rakes? They’re quiet and quaint and you get some exercise when you use them. And if you can’t or don’t want to rake leaves or simply have too many of them, pay a kid, for crying out loud, you cheapskate, or use the time-honored method of letting the wind carry off your leaves to neighboring yards.
Convenience? Yes, I get that leaf blowers are convenient. They prevent sore backs and arms. They save time, I’m sure.
But at what cost? The sheer pervasiveness of leaf blowers has led to the death of peace and quiet on beautiful autumn afternoons in most neighborhoods across America.
If that’s not a crime against humanity, I don’t know what is.
Image credit: Guian Bolisay