The Curious Demise of Old Red

I enjoy reading reaction to things I have written. I got a very sweet email from a women last week who closed with something to the effect of: Obviously I don’t expect a response as you wouldn’t have time to reply to all of these kind of messages. I replied… I dream of a day when I have people to handle my correspondence. But not that much going on. I have no people… yet.

Sometimes the feedback surprises me, though. Three weeks ago I posted Old Red is Not Dead. I optimistically expected laughs because while I may be in the minority, I think I’m hilarious. What I didn’t expect was an outpouring of support for the old girl. It seems that a good many people ascribe feelings to inanimate objects and felt sorry for Old Red’s condition. I’ve seen Cars, Toy Story, and The Brave Little Toaster. But I don’t subscribe to the belief that things have feelings or are any more than things. Sorry Pixar.

Maybe I’m growing a little soft in my old age, but after taking some abuse from readers, I saw her under the deck and thought she might be staring at me longingly as I was cleaning the winter grime off of the house. So I hit old Red with the pressure washer and cleaned her up.

I have to admit that the old girl came out looking pretty good. There was actually a little shine under all of the dirt and bird poop. She cleaned up quite well. Before I used her on the lawn, I took these runway shots of her.

Front… side… work it! Love the camera!


After our little modelling session was over, I pulled the chain to start her up… and nothing. Not a thing. Either she is allergic to clean or the water killed her. Thanks a lot for making me feel bad about her dirtiness, people – your concern brought on her demise. Little boys told to wash up have been fearing this for centuries – Clean can kill. Yes, Old Red is Finally Dead.

At least she went out in style.

I have grumbled about her for so long, yet I am slightly sad about this. Sure, I’ll get the new mower I’ve wanted and have a nicer looking lawn with less effort. But I find myself a little nostalgic as I remember the sixteen years we fought each other. At least we fought together. My recent journey has certainly awakened a sensitive, more emotional side in me. But I didn’t expect to have a soft spot for a lousy, hunk-of-junk lawnmower.

Never coming to, the story of a man and his cantankerous mower:



I don’t foresee Pixar buying the rights to Missing Old Red and the only woman who could do her voiceover justice is Lauren Bacall, who passed away two years ago. So it’s a story that will remain untold as Old Red marches to the lawnmower graveyard. I have to say, I thought I would be glad when this day came, but I am surprisingly hesitant to push her away.

Ask me again after a few Saturday mows with self-propel and none of her shrapnel showers and I may hum a different tune. But today I wish to propose a final toast:

Here’s to Old Red – she may have been a bitter old cow, but she always chewed the grass her way.

22 thoughts on “The Curious Demise of Old Red

  1. Hahaha. I love that Mark @while I may be in the minority, I think I’m hilarious. And you’re an excellent writer too.
    Love the new look to your blog as well.
    I, for one, have never owned a lawn mower. But then again, where I live there’s no need for one.
    I’m sure you’ll forget about good old red soon enough. Once the easier version comes along she’ll be a long off memory. Funny how we get attached to things though eh.
    Have a great week Mark.

    1. Thanks Staci. I was attached to her in a combative sort of way. Oddly, I think I’ll miss her when she’s gone. Isn’t that always the way!

  2. Hahaha that’s a hoot! Washed out and it wouldn’t start.Man sounds like my life. I have been staring at a old craftsman rear tine tiller,I pushed over in the corner of the garden for years. Dad passed away and I got his troy built pony. So I don’t use it anymore. You could pull start it after setting out in the weather with a bucket over every spring.One, or two pulls. It is a yard ornament now, opossum vines grow up it. Maybe set old red out under a tree some where. Its a real sense of freedom for me to just abandon those things the story.I didn’t recognize the mower.


    1. Yeah, she tanked. Similar to you, my father is moving into a retirement place so I’m picking up his mower this summer. Hope I can get a decade out of it.

  3. Mark, I think you are HILARIOUS! I also think you are an excellent writer, a compassionate childhood cancer advocate, a loving family man who tells the heartbreaking truth!!!!

  4. Dude,

    I never replied to the first Old Red post and am now late on this one, yet I must now dispute your claim:
    “In fact, we were the last people in Georgia to buy a flat screen TV because our old tube TV still worked.”

    Let the record show, that WE are now the last people in Georgia to buy a flat screen. This past weekend our 1998 Mitsubishi Diamond Series 36″ TV that weighed over 150 pounds finally quit after one last big flash of light. The recycling center personnel looked at me funny when I showed up with what they described best by saying, “Hey Joe, go get the forklift, we got a big heavy dinosaur!”

    It’s been quite the revelation looking at a flat screen TV now. My decaying vision dramatically improved instantly with all the detail I can now see on the screen!!

    Thanks for the great writing as always; I love how you keep life raw and real!

    1. That’s hysterical Michael. However, I actually still do have one tube TV left in the house. We just don’t watch much tv.

      But I do agree, man they are so much longer. I wonder what I was waiting for and then I remember that I’m cheap.

      1. You and me have cheapness in common!

        I must say I did a double take when the guy yelled for the forklift for the “big heavy dinosaur” until I realized he wasn’t talking about me but the TV.

        We have one old tube Panasonic left. So it sounds like we have can have a competition now to see whose lasts longer. My goal is to stretch it to 2020 so I can skip at least another 2 generations of TVs with letters I don’t understand fully. The more cryptic the acronym, the more expensive and advanced the TV, I’ve heard!

  5. Ha ha, Isn’t that ironic? Probably should just gave her some oil and no water. I think it was her gift to you. She wins.

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