Guest Commentary

What's wrong with a yard full of nice, green weeds, anyway?

Any day now, the Weed Patrol is gonna show up at my door.

It seems the city of Tucson is serious about cracking down on the unconscionable scourge of plant growth in the neighborhoods.

Yes, plant growth is amok, due to what used to be a normal winter rainfall, but what now, in these drought-distorted times, constitutes Noah's Reprise. Everywhere you look, there are lush green swaths of unauthorized plant growth, threatening the populace and fouling the Naked Pueblo with ... umm ... non-nakedness.

My yard is officially a menace. The height of my unauthorized plant growth exceeds the relevant ordinance's specified allowance of 18 inches by a factor of, oh, let's say, three. Grasses and mallows and mustard and various other weird species are all over the place. It's frightening! They're covering up the yard, potentially obscuring the knowledge that I live in a desert.

Just think how disoriented I might become if I should wake up one day, wobble out the front door in an alkaloid haze, see all that green and mistakenly think that I'm still in nasty old weedy Cleveland. I shudder to think of it. I would probably need emergency psychiatric care.

Yes, there are hazards, say the experts. Won't someone think of the rodents! Wait. My cat thinks of the rodents. He cleaned out a whole family of mice just a few months ago. Every winter, those fuzzy little freeloaders try to move in and scam on my crumbs. And every year, Mr. Puma--who is a stone-cold killer--has a ball snatching them from the grass, dragging them into the house, chasing them around the floor and eating them whole.

OK, so never mind that one. Not really a threat. But what about the fire hazard? What if one of the 10 million trains that barrel past my house every day less than a quarter mile away, full of liquid petroleum and sulfuric acid and other important industrial products, were to suddenly explode in a humungous fireball? If I were careless enough to let my weeds grow beyond the authorized limit, such a conflagration might ignite my yard and scorch the bricks on my 300-square-foot ranchito!

But maybe I wouldn't feel too bad about the ranchito if I were lying there contorted with bloody gasps, desperately trying to pull a few last milliliters of air into my dissolving lung tissue. Never mind that one, either.

I guess I just don't get this weed thing. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I like the weeds. Sometimes, I lie out in the yard under the swaying boughs of my weed jungle and plot the demise of the neighbor's dog with Mr. Puma, or ponder life's biggest questions. Like Mike Kshchskzyksykszkwi (you know, coach of the Duke men's basketball team). I want to ask him if he was born with that pinched-up rat face, or was he involved in some horrific folding chair accident as an infant. And why, oh WHY, vengeful God, did you prevent Salim Stoudamire from making one more shot down the stretch against Illinois, just one more Wilson rainbow, one last pot of nylon gold?!?

It's not like I don't take care of my yard. Last fall, I planted some wildflower seeds I got from Native Seeds/SEARCH. If you part the sea of grass, you can actually see Mexican gold poppies and owl clover and other cool stuff blooming down below. And just the other day, I was up on the roof plucking the berries off my chinaberry tree before they have a chance to fall on the ground, rot and stink like day-old ass. Surely, this is of some service to the neighborhood and will weigh heavily in my favor should this weed thing ever go to trial.

Although, come to think of it, the neighbors looked at me kinda funny that day. And the flouncy, toxically blond real estate lady who's trying to sell the house across the street for twice what it's worth always throws a disdainful glance my way.

Ahhh ... that's it! It's the property values! My neighborhood has been listed on the National Register of Gentrified Historical Places. My weeds are an abomination in the eyes of brokers everywhere!

Well. Just wait until they see the controlled burn I have planned for late April, when all this vegetation dries out. Yessir, that'll keep the rent down. In the meantime, it's comforting to know that when the Weed Patrol finally arrives, I've got plenty of cover.

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