Everyone with a well-developed sense of human decency, kindness and empathy hates the leaf blower, & if they don’t… they should. Here is a product that epitomizes humans’ laziness, wastefulness and vanity – ALL AT ONCE! What does a leaf blower do? It lets you feel pleasantly productive while standing there, holding a button that blows yard debris towards other people while you annoy them all with the roar of your motor. Compounding the wastefulness and stupidity of the leaf blower is the fact that other, non-obnoxious tools already exist to do exactly the same thing. You could rake, you could sweep, and even the occasional power wash… you could do these things without ever using a leaf blower and you’d have the same result with less noise & air pollution in roughly the same amount of time.

As a guy who worked as a landscaper I can tell you point blank these machines don’t save time at all… you’ll spend as much or more time “corralling” and managing your debris flow (and sweeping the stuff up IF you’re one of the few responsible users) than you would doing this manually. But hey, let’s look at the upside:

You get to look at your pristine lawn/driveway for an hour before wind/rain and what-have-you replaces all the stuff you blew away with more stuff – OP! time to blow again…

My days at home in my rapidly up-scaling neighborhood are often filled for hours on end with the drone of leaf blowers from the crew next door, or the compulsively home-improving neighbor on the other side. Then there’s the fella across the street that has a whole army of garden maintainers arrive weekly to prim his basic 10×10′ lawn. It’s not the mexican immigrant garden crew’s fault that their boss/client is a leaf-blower. The tenants & owners, if anyone, should be the ones to make a fuss and get mgmt to stop using these gas guzzling, useless machines… but they don’t, because leaf blowers are just an accepted fact of modern life.

Let me just tell you this in no uncertain terms:
if you use or authorize the use of a leaf blower on your property you are the worst kind of person.

You’re the kind of person that’s parked with the motor idling in front of someone else’s driveway, checking Facebook on their smartphone in their pearly-white SUV . You’re the person that flags down a sales person in a retail environment to ask if this is really their “best price” when you already have amazon pulled up on your smartphone. You’re probably voting for Trump because you’re a hateful, simple-minded waste of space that thinks the causes of all your problems can be reduced to “because immigrants” or “because Obama.” You scream at other drivers but drive & park like an asshole. You honk at pedestrians who cross the street at crosswalks because it slows you down. You take the change for your check at the restaurant and dump just your coin change – all .68 of it – into the tip bucket for your $18.32 lunch. You ask if the pizza dough is gluten free and you scoff when there isn’t a stevia alternative to sugar.

It struck me on a walk today that just as there’s a whole class of people who are “leaf blower people” (that are the worst), there is also a whole category of products that are essentially ‘leaf blowers’ in their own right. That is, they’re wasteful expressions of vanity and ease that serve no real practical purpose. Take for example:

The smartwatch/fitbit/wearable/google-glass-of-the-moment

Whatever the ‘wearable’ tech of the moment is, at this stage it’s undoubtedly a leaf blower. What does your apple watch do? It counts your heartbeats and tells you who’s calling your cellphone? Wow. So you can look at your wrist instead of having to go to all the trouble of pulling that big ol’ phone out of your pocket – I mean, it’s so out of the way and all. How many steps did you take today? Who cares? Nobody but you! I love that people think access to data makes them ‘healthier’ or at least more aware of their health. As if this was anything but the most glorified, self-involved micro-level obsession with oneself. You get to stare at some numbers and feel like you’re taking your health seriously…when, really, people who take their health seriously don’t need a thing on their wrist to convince everyone/themselves that they do. Yes! You can compare your days & data to see if you took more steps to be “more active” when really what you really need to do is eat less cheese and do some pushups. Besides, if these video game-esque ‘achievements’ are your thing in fitness, they’re already easily accomplished with other ‘tech’ (like pedometers, various apps, or how about pen/paper or a simple fitness log/blog) that doesn’t cost $300+. Chances are, if you’re wearing something really expensive that counts your steps buzzes when your phone rings, you’re a leaf blower person.

The Umbrella

Waaaaaaaat?! Umbrellas? Yes, umbrellas. The umbrella is, today, a stupid and useless thing to own. People in Portland love to flout umbrellas, and other people love to flout Portlanders’ ‘hipster’ disdain for them as some sort of meaningless badge of ‘hard-core-ness’ or ‘local-ness’ or ‘weirdness’ or some other such non-sense. Everyone in such a rainy place should appreciate a good umbrella, right? Well… Let me just ‘splain to you all why we don’t use umbrellas:

Umbrellas today are 99.9% made out of the cheapest possible crap in Chinese factories. Why? Because approximately 15 minutes after you buy one you’ve probably left it at work, left it in the restaurant, left it in the back of your car, left it at your friends house or left it on the train/bus. Why would anyone shell out top $$ for something everyone is known for losing? Oh and if you don’t lose it, it will fail all on its own a few minutes later. Putting it up and down will cause one of those cheap hinges to break, or the spoke will rip through the cheap vinyl top or the slider will get bent and it won’t open, or it will catch a gust of wind and blow itself inside out, or …. yeah, you know because it’s happened to you.

All of this is supposedly in the name of staying dry, but what really happens is most of your head remains dry while your legs/torso & feet get just the same soaking they would otherwise from cars splashing potholes, stepping in puddles, wind blowing the rain drops at even a slight angle…etc. Now, though your head is dry, you have one hand eternally tied up! Did you want to answer your cellphone AND drink your coffee? TOO BAD. Do you want to fish out your bus/train fare with lunch in one hand and an umbrella in the other? No, of course you don’t. The umbrella is nothing but in the way. OH and did I mention in this era of space-age water-repellent fabrics and coatings that a simple rain shell does EXACTLY THE SAME THING except without bumping into peoples’ heads as you walk by? Yeah, it’ll keep your whole upper half dry too!

So, if you really love umbrellas its because you don’t like wearing rain jackets… which means you’re just being prissy about how you look going down the street. Your fashion crisis will be solved the moment you step indoors, duh! If you travel everywhere with an umbrella, I’m sad to say you’re a leaf-blower person.

Yeah, so that’s just a couple examples. Of course there are more. We live in an age just filthy with useless/redundant products. Comment & tell me what ‘leaf blower’ thing/person do you love to hate?

 

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