Made a Man Cry Today

April 8, 2014 at 8:57 pm Leave a comment

It’s a rather long story, but last year did not go well with the fellow who cut grass for me and my neighbors, (let’s call them) the Smiths and the Johnsons.

His work was shoddy. There were times when he didn’t show. He once told me he’d cut my hedges for $180 and then charged me $350. (He also told me I shouldn’t attempt this work myself due to it being tricky business — because wood is alive and can feel pain.)

I overlooked the BSing because I initially took it as more quirky and dimwitted than deceitful. I overlooked the shoddy work because of some combination of kindness and I-need-someone-to-cut-the-grass-and-he’s-here-ness. Make your own judgment about the ratio. (But, in an effort to be honest in the face of human foibles, perhaps I should suggest that you withhold that judgment ’til the end of the story.)

Then grass guy had a blow-up with my neighbors, the Smiths. Nutshell: Grass guy was rude and argumentative. He dropped F-bombs. He called the good and kind and dear-to-me Smiths “the jackasses of the street.” This ding-dong of a 20-something-year-old very nearly came to blows with a man in his late 60s who has, in recent years, undergone knee surgery, back surgery, arm surgery, and heart surgery. Luckily another neighbor stepped in before it came to that.

I decided I would not have grass guy working for me anymore. But, since the scene occurred at the very end of grass-cutting season, I had not yet told him that. Well, he came by today to tell me he’d be back to cut grass again. Upon which, I explained, very politely, that I would be doing it myself now since I have more time and am trying to save money.

I tried to leave it at that. To be polite. To spare his feelings. To put it on me.

But he wouldn’t go away. He stayed at my front door, arguing with me, cajoling me, bugging me, bugging me, bugging me and repeatedly asking if there was some other reason.

I eventually told him that I hadn’t been all that pleased with his work. And I told him I also knew about what had happened with the Smiths.

He, of course, told a dramatically different (ahem, preposterous, ahem) version of the tale. Among quite a bit of other ridiculousness and lies (which I will not go into here to spare you the tedious details of a conversation with a world-class BS-er, who could, in my grandfather’s words, “Talk the latch off a sh*thouse door”), he told me he had apologized to the Smiths and that they had already hired him back to cut their grass this year.

He left my house. I called another of his ex-clients, the Johnsons, to say, “Guess who was just here?” And Mrs. Johnson says, “Yep. He’s here now. He’s around back talking to Mr. Johnson.” The Johnsons feel exactly the same way as I do about how he treated the Smiths. And they told him pretty much the same thing, that they would not be needing his services.

Meanwhile, I called the Smiths. They have not hired him back to cut their grass this year. (Mr. Smith’s actual response, for those who might like a bit more detail, was a roar of laughter and, I quote, “If he shows up here with a lawn mower, I’ll weed his whacker with a weed whacker.”)

And so, in the end, we all said No to grass guy today. He did, finally, shut up and walk away — in tears. Mrs. Johnson told me he had cried in front of them. And I saw him walking back down the street, wiping his eyes.

I’m honestly not sure if the tears were crocodilian or real, but it is hard to see a man cry. Harder still to feel somewhat responsible. I care about people’s feelings. I do not like conflict. And, so, as I watched him cry, I felt kind of bad. I felt uncomfortable. And I felt a little guilty that I laughed so hard.

So, anybody know where I can buy a cheap electric mower?

Entry filed under: Humor - Commentary. Tags: , , , , .

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