What you are about to read, is a true story about a real person who wakes up each day and ponders as to why, why, why? On September 9, 1971, I was born a white kid in a Naval hospital outside of Jacksonville, Florida. At six months of age, my dad is transferred to San Diego, California. With time, we make many moves from one part of California to another. My dad gets out of the Navy and ends up taking a job in Saudi Arabia. So, my mom is raising us young ones, all by herself. Dad is 12 months gone, and the yard starts to grow...and grow...and grow. I remember it growing so high that our two dogs could only be found in the backyard by the jingle of the tags on their collars. One day I came home to find mom out trying to mow the rough with a reel mower while my youngest sister (2 years old) sat in her baby swing on the driveway. At 8 years old, the sight of my mother struggling with that mower was a gut wrenching site. I had never used a mower, let alone a reel mower, in 3 foot tall grass before. Mom watched me mow, and mow, and mow. She still tells me about the time it took to mow the yard...she claims it was 3 days. I swear it took almost two weeks. After about six months, I was a damn good mowing hand. Little did I realize that an old lady across the street, who stayed drunk most of the time, had been watching me mow for six months. I guess her luck with some man had worn out, so she needed someone to harp at while mowing her lawn. At the point that her lawn grew to the same height that our rough had been, she stopped her car one day while I was riding my bike in the street. She was a scary thing, with big red hair, all poofed out, cigarette in one hand, and a big coffee cup in another (I realize now why she drank coffee at three o'clock in the afternoon). Anyhow, she pulled up, cranked down her window, and offered me 5 bucks to make her lawn look like I made mine. Now, being a young kid in California that had no idea what money was really for... I agreed. Luckily after my second day working in her yard, she gave me a baby blue bowling ball that her man had left in her garage. Yes, the bowling ball, with carrying case, certainly made the job a fair deal. Of course, I didn't care much for her drunken muttering and harping at me for missing blades of grass throughout the yard. A month later, I added the lady next door to her, whose husband had a bad back. Soon enough, I was making 5 bucks per yard at several yards on the street. Of course, at nine years old, all my hard earned money went to accessorizing my Schwinn bicycle. It wasn't long before I had the hard plastic seat, plastic tuf-wheels, and bear trap pedals. Several years passed. I mowed many lawns. I had the best looking bike, and my friends were so envious. Eventually, I hired them to help me. I paid them half of what I got, only if they used their own mowers. I laugh to myself about it every time I think about it. Those poor guys....tisk tisk. On a rainy afternoon, my mowing empire would come to a crashing halt. Riding my bike home from school, I fast approached a realtors sign in my front yard. My heart sank...and then my mom said we were moving to Nashville, TN. So, the year was 1983. Californians knew only two things about Nashville: country and music. I still remember the gay and flaming math teacher (Mr. Gordon...are you reading this?) teasing me in front of the whole class by saying that kids in Tennessee wore coveralls to school, wore no shoes, and chewed on hay all day. Someday I will meet up with that --- surfer...and teach him something about folks from Tennessee. Well...we packed up the moving van, the cats, the dogs, everything except the mower. Mom said we were going to buy a new one once we got to Tennessee. So we drove cross country, seeing the vast landscapes of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Arkansas, and Tennessee! My first memory of Nashville, TN was eating a pecan waffle at a Waffle House with a waitress with three teeth and tattoos on her arms...a true southern belle! Well, mom had bought a big house...which she claimed was so much cheaper than our house in California. Of course, she failed to mention the yard was about four times as big TOO! But she had promised me a new mower. In fact, during the first week, while we were moving in to our new house, she and I went to the Toro dealer where I picked out a shiny red new mower. 2-cycle, commercial, aluminum deck. It was gorgeous!!! Of course, I didn't think about the lawn being 1.1 acres and the mower only being 22" wide. Now, if you're are from, or were from, or still are from Nashville, you know what it was like in the mid-eighties. Van Halen was the band on WKDF, the Wave pool was so cool, and Opryland was THE place to go during the summer and try to pick up chicks (especially if you were cool enough to have summer passes). Well, the eighties were good and bad for Nashville. Land was cheap, country music was big. There were some FRICKIN huge houses around. Up the street from us was where Jerry Gerrett the wrestler lived...his place was GIGANTUOUS! A lot of people lost their jobs due to Ingersoll Rand, DuPont, and many other big companies leaving Nashville. Nobody seemed to have any money to pay for their lawn care. It didn't take long for me to figure out what I needed to be doing to start making money in Hendersonville. What I wanted was a new BMX bike, with the baddest, newest equipment offered by Hutch so that I could go and visit girls after school and on the weekends. Chicks at school digged the guys with the pink Hutch freestyle bikes. I knew of only one way to make the chicks dig me. I had to make some money mowing lawns to get the bike to get the chicks! I worked that neighborhood harder than a bible salesman could work a Las Vegas stripclub. I knocked on every door, every week, and sold myself cheap. I am talking 10 bucks to mow a half acre. My people loved it. I was their personal lawn slave...I didn't care; all I wanted was a pink freestyle bike...and the chicks that would see me riding it. I pushed, I bagged, I trimmed. No matter what, that Toro made me so much money. I got a steal on a Weed Eater brand trimmer. I traded all summers mowing of a neighbors lawn to keep the trimmer. Damn I was a sucker then. Of course, as time went on, my body ached for a riding machine. When I came across one, I jumped on one hell of a deal. A brand new Ariens with a B+S 11 Hp engine for $325.00. That year I turned 15. I was a grass slave no more...ride the lawns all day and bus tables by night. If only you could have seen me then 'Look out girls, here I come'. I finally broke and went all bus boy. I ditched all my mowing net worth. My customers wouldn't even look at me anymore. You would have thought I was the kid in the neighborhood that was always trying to get their kids to smoke cigarettes and look at porn. In my neighbors eyes, I was nothing to them anymore. With time, an old country Joe (black guy) up the road, who lived behind the old church on the cutoff road, took over most of my work. In fact, I just heard he still mows some of those lawns to this day. Calhouns. Woody's. The Shack. I specialized in table clearing and cooking staff. Not bad for a young high school punk with a $450.00 VW bug (I traded it square for the Ariens mower). Eventually, I graduated from H'vegas, and went on to the big orange, where I studied my social skills. After my first year, just before the first spring break, I had partied so much that I didn't even have enough money to buy gas to drive home. I bummed a ride from a friend back to the house, and happened to somehow land a job working on the city golf course, mowing the rough on a huge Kubota rough mower making good money and working like 60-70 hours a week. That summer, I made killer dough. I partied hard when I wasn't working though...and pissed it all away. I now know what Jimmy Buffett means when he sings he made enough money to buy Miami, but he pissed it away so fast.