When something has to give

As a general rule, metal is hard. When I say hard I’m speaking in relative terms, as in: metal is hard compared to human flesh. There are exceptions such as mercury, but we don’t typically run across open pools of mercury lying around; unless you work for the E.P.A. at a Superfund cleanup site.

Take a piece of metal and anchor it to another, larger piece of metal, and it’s still hard.

Run over that anchored piece of metal with your lawn mower, and it may become misshapen, but it will still be hard.

As it turns out, lawnmower manufacturers do not recommend that you run over metal hammock stands with their products. Not only will it make a sound that can wake the dead in the next county over (not to mention scare the pigment right out of your skin) but it can and will reek havoc with the hammock, the mower, its engine, and your nerves.

As a public service to all of you out there who may be thinking of trimming your hammock stand with a lawn mower, let me lead you through what might happen. This of course is all hypothetical. First, the metal of the mower blade rotating at approximately 3200 revolutions per minute will impact with the metal of the hammock stand with a loud metallic “WHACK”. The blade will embed itself in the metal of the stand. Depending on the quality of your hammock stand, it will not cut clean through. Due to the ringing in your ears, it will take a moment for you to realize that the engine of your mower is no longer running. It won’t take too much effort to pry your mower from the stand. When you do you will immediately see the effects of the impact on the stand. Now disconnect the spark plug and turn over the mower. Give the blade a couple of spins. You should notice that the blade now wobbles on the drive shaft rather than spinning cleanly in a circle. This is probably due to a bent drive shaft, which will require replacement of the engine (or more likely, replacement of the entire mower). Here’s how the service department of a lawn equipment dealer might describe the issue to you, “that blade is spinning 3200 times per minute and if it hits somethin’ then somethin’ is gonna give.” According to The Handbook for Better Business and Sales in the Lawn Maintenance Industry, fourth edition, this phrase loosely translates to Standard English as “you’ve got to be a special kind of idiot to run over something like that with a lawn mower.”

Give the gift of words.