Commentary: Jeff Siegel hates his yard as much as overpriced wine and underwater toll roads

I do not write this lightly. I know how important yards are — not just as part of the American way of life, but in Dallas, where we take that part of the American way of life to heights no one else can imagine.

But there it is, and as much as I have tried to work out my anger, it won’t go away. I feel the same way about my yard that I feel about overpriced wine, the city council’s shenanigans and underwater toll roads. They exist, but that doesn’t mean that I need to aid and abet them in their foolishness.

Why do I hate my yard? Because, mostly, there is very little grass in it. There used to be grass, and it came back every year. I even made an effort to keep my yard up, which wasn’t easy given my long and tortured history with that sort of thing. I grew up in Chicago’s north suburbs, and my father was a firm believer in yards. He taught me many wonderful things, and I like to think that my sense of responsibility and the idea that I should always try to do the right thing comes from him. But my father also believed that cutting grass, raking grass and other grass-related duties were essential rites of passage for suburban teenagers in the early 1970s. So, as anyone who has ever been a teenager knows, I learned to hate yards and everything associated with them.

But that doesn’t mean it’s my fault that my yard lacks grass. Honest. My neighbor’s yard started getting grayish dead splotches a couple of years ago, and like any communicable disease, the greyish dead splotches spread to my yard. I assumed that whatever it was would eventually clear itself up, but I was quickly disabused of the idea of such an easy solution. My yard is suffering from St. Augustine Decline, which, as near as I can tell, is a virus that combines the worst qualities of the plague and venereal disease. The damned thing even has an acronym, SAD, just like a disease that people contract.

In addition, there isn’t any effective treatment for it, according to the Aggie website I consulted. The only alternative is to spend thousands of dollars to re-sod the lawn with Bermuda. Which I have a hard time making sense of. For that amount of money, I could go to Burgundy and drink wine, far away from disease-ravaged yards, the city council and underwater toll roads

Finally, there was this on the Aggie website: “Mowing companies that mow several lawns with the same equipment can transmit the virus from an infected lawn to a healthy lawn.” Excuse me while I glare in my neighbor’s direction.

Because I’d be more than happy if there was grass. I’d even water it — I’ve learned my lesson about that. But every time I look out my home office window, like right now, there are weeds, all those grayish dead splotches interspersed among the weeds, and some more weeds. The only bit of grass is around the driveway and the front of the house, and that hardly counts as a Dallas lawn.

When this first started, I was terrified that someone would call 311 and turn me in for having such an un-Dallas yard. But the city’s cuts to 311 and 911 make that less likely. After all, if the city can’t respond to murders in a timely and effective manner, what’s the chance of my grass catching code enforcement’s attention?

Besides, given the drought and ongoing water restrictions, a lot of lawns are starting to look worn out. Maybe a lot of people will have to soon make the choice between going to Burgundy and drinking wine and living with grayish dead splotches.

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