"Hard work is its own reward," my dad often used to say to me. "You can't beat the satisfaction of a job well done."
At least, that sounds like something he probably would have said to me. I wasn't paying attention. After all, there were video games that needed to be played.
But it turns out there really are weirdos out there like my dad who thrive on the satisfaction of a job well done. I'm just not one of them. My personal philosophy is that there's a far deeper and richer satisfaction than what stems from a job well done, and that's the satisfaction one achieves from a job well avoided.
I suppose I'm one of the laziest people alive, I'll own up to that -- but only when it comes to jobs I don't want to do. I work in sales, I write this column, I DJ on the weekends, I help run a website, and I frequently host and emcee trivia nights. Those jobs aren't the problem. It's all the little jobs in-between those jobs that I could do without.
You know, cumbersome trivial tasks like laundry. And dishes. And cooking and cleaning and eating and sleeping. Those are the kind of things that can really interfere with a person's existence. For the most part, I've had a fair amount of success over the years circumventing, bypassing, simplifying, and altogether shirking many of life's most basic responsibilities. For instance, it turns out that laundry is a far more bearable task when you can do it in your own basement while standing in front of a hi-def TV. Washing dishes is considerably less taxing when one owns a machine that does it for you. Bills are easier to pay when they're automatically withdrawn from your account every month. I can handle this modern life stuff.
But no task fills me with quite as much disdain and dread as the notion of lawn care. It turns out it's tough to get motivated to care for your lawn when you don't care ABOUT your lawn. In a perfect world, every square foot of land I own would be covered in precious, maintenance-free concrete. We live in a modern world where science lets us carry telephones in our pockets and music on a cloud and you're telling me we can't develop a strain of grass that grows to a height of two inches and then stops? Maybe this life isn't as modern as I thought.
Until science catches up with us, we as a people must continue to mow our own lawns. Or, in my case, me as a person must hire someone to mow my own lawn. I picked a guy who advertised his service right here in our classifieds, and it was a great call. He's been doing great affordable work -- until last month, when he rang to inform that his day job was transferring him out of state.
Happily though, he sold his entire client list to a different lawn care company who will be taking over this spring. Huzzah, I hope. But he posed an even more interesting question in his farewell call to me: "Oh, and these guys do snow removal, too. Do you want me to put you on their list?"
Wow, I'd never given much consideration to paying out for snow shoveling. I'm not exactly made of money, and it's not like my arms are broken. But the prices were affordable, and hey, who am I to turn down a new and exciting way to advance my laziness?
"Sure!" I told him. And that was that. Snow removal was officially one less thing I had to worry about.
"Except," I added, "can you have them ONLY come if it's more than two inches?"
"Will do," he said.
Which brings us to last Sunday, when we all woke up to the inaugural winter wonderland of 2015. From what I could ascertain, it looked like about two inches of freshly fallen snow on the ground. Would my new snow removal team show up? I was too lazy to have written down their number, so it was anyone's guess. I decided to give it a couple hours.
Eventually, I figured it was time for action. I dragged myself off the couch, hopped in the shower, threw on a few layers of clothes, dug the trusty snow shovel out of the closet, and was putting on gloves when a pickup truck pulled up out of nowhere. Out jumped a whole team of guys in a whirlwind of shovels and snowblowers. It took them less than five minutes to completely clear my walks and driveway.
"Wow," I said to myself, still holding the shovel in my hand. Those guys just took care of all my shoveling duties in record time, and they did an impressive job. It was fast, it was practical, it was... a huge bummer.
This made no sense. I had just been relieved of my duties but felt no relief. Instead, just a tinge of disappointment. Don't tell anyone because I've worked really hard at cultivating my reputation as laziness incarnate, but I think I might actually enjoy shoveling snow. It's the one time I can enjoy being outside without all of that pesky nature getting in the way. There's no snow snakes to avoid and no snow bees to sting you. Plus it's just plain fun to play in the snow, I don't care if you're 4 or 44.
I thought long and hard about cancelling my new service. There's few times in my life that I actually enjoy manual labor, so I'd better embrace it, no? Thankfully, those crazy thoughts only lasted for two days. I'm now finishing this column on Wednesday night, and yesterday it dropped another five inches of snow on us. But it also dropped about thirty degrees, and, as it turns out, my newly-realized zeal for snow shoveling loses its lustre when the mercury drops to it's current holding pattern of eleventy billion below zero with a wind chill factor of minus Infinity Instant Death.
I didn't stop to admire their handiwork when I got home. Frankly, I don't care what the outside of my house looks like at the moment, because my new plan is to not exit it again until mid-May or so. So I'm officially UN-bummed about losing the task of snow removal, but should we ever get less than two inches of snow and the temperature rises back to a level hospitable for human life, listen carefully -- you might just hear somebody whistling while he works.