Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Put Down that Shovel and Step Away

Put Down that Shovel and Step Away

      Cruising the net, this post from the Federal Department of Warnings caught my eye:

Don't Garden {GPO 2019-I-20- 314159}
Classified xxNN
For public release 2020-01-02

      To maximize the de-obfuscation of collateral work among siloed agencies, the following has been deemed of value to stake-holders. Attempts have been made, under directive Dept. of Agriculture 2003-01-19, to maximize clarity. Internalize the following:
      This department has been flooded with injury reports since it opened its investigation into the large number of gardeners who have died in the last 200 years. Unfortunately, our computers weren't able to keep track of the varieties of gardening injuries reported. The total exceeded their capacity. As a result, we've terminated this study and issued an alert.

      I was too upset to continue reading.
      Is my garden a menace?
      Stepping stones could be loose. Or slippery.
      Holes could twist your ankle, sneaking up and grabbing your foot when you're looking elsewhere.
      Dirt is a sea of pathogens. Have you heard of flesh-eating bacteria? I once lost a trowel. Trowel-eating bacteria? They aren't above suspicion.
      Plants appear uninvited. Smilax and Green Stick have thorns capable of sticking through you to the nearest tree and letting you hang there, impaled.
      Poison Ivy reminds you of your close encounter with any part of the plant, even two weeks after contact. The scratching is distracting. And … I … can't … stop …
      If a tree fell on you, it wouldn't matter if it was poisonous.
      There's even a tree with horror-movie sized spines on both its trunk and large branches. I guess if you needed to scratch your back after encountering the Poison Ivy …
A non-native tree which volunteered in my yard.

      What about the animals?
      Mice could carry plague. White-footed mice live in the leaf litter and try to get inside the house when the weather freezes. Similarly, voles, moles and shrews.
      Rabies naturally infects mammals: squirrels, fox, raccoons, possum, and deer. Don't let them bite! Just because I've never met anyone who has been bitten by a deer doesn't mean the danger isn't lurking.
      Would you believe mosquitoes are less fun than a barrel of monkeys? And they can pass on virus' such as Zika, West Nile, and other such nasties.
      While cleaning out some deadwood, home to a black widow spider, I wondered if thick gloves are enough.
      Snakes? Doesn't everyone love snakes? Hmmm ...
      The weather hangs over us. Heat stroke, frostbite, lightning strikes, tornadoes.
      Is that a complete list?
      Man-made dangers include: pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, stepping on the business end of a rake and getting a concussion when the handle nails you (though we've all laughed when people in old movies hurt themselves that way,) scratching ourselves on a rusty nail or frayed metal screen, backing into … well, anything that we don't expect (note to self – never back up).
      Over the years, a set of injuries has slowed me. And stopped me. Lower back pain was deadly when it was time to dig holes and mix piles of dirt. The garden had to be patient. I'd be back. Wrist pain prevented pulling weeds and screening compost. A minor operation idled me for a couple of months. One could argue that gardening caused or worsened all of those.
      But seriously, folks (where have I heard that line?): pain isn't humorous. Having a root in a muddy hole snap back and paint your face with wet, sticky stuff? Now THAT'S funny!
      Government warnings are serious. Go back inside and collapse with a bag of Cheetos and reruns. What could go wrong?

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad I don't have time to go cruising through the entire history of Federal Warnings to see if this is an outstanding example of ludicrousness or status quo.

    Gardening is horrible - worse than smoking. Please go out and do it as soon and as often as possible.