The Courier-Mail - QWeekend


- William McInnes is an actor and author

What is it about garden tools? When I was a kid, there was the motor mower and the rake. That was it. Today there’s an arsenal of weapons stuffed in my shed I have almost no competence and control over, and some, like the leaf blower, I’ve never even removed from the box. But next to cars and houses, they seem to have some influence in defining me as a man. These tools are indicators of the possibilit­y of manual competence.

Some have hardly been used, like the electric chainsaw I managed to weaponise back to front. It is possible, you can put the chain on inside out. I spent half a morning massaging a palm tree I was trying to cut down before I Googled chainsaw idiots on YouTube.

But what is it about mowers? When did they become a Thing?

Attempting to fix my old Electrolux Weed Eater, it ended up as scrap and I set off to buy a new mower.

I was told at a mower shop, “This is the most important decision outside marriage a man can make. You’ve got to keep up with the Joneses.”

Mower envy. It exists apparently. I simply said, “I just want something that will start and cut.” I looked at things with names like The President, The Contractor, The Invincible.

I took home a tidy little number that does the job. Mowers are handy things but we should see them for what they are, apparatuse­s to make life a little easier, not suburban status symbols.

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