Raymond Lesser would like a leaf-blower buy-back program in the tradition of gun buy-back programs. Mr. Lesser is the co-founder and regular columnist for Funny Times, an American humor newspaper he started with his wife Susan Wolpert in 1985 and that is the source of many of my blog post ideas. As one might expect, Mr. Lesser is generally funny, but this column has the distinct flavor of a serious curmudgeon. His idea is to have the government offer “two clean-green rakes for every smoke-belching, ear-deafening blower turned in.” The goal would be to not only end the hearing losses caused by their “incessant use,” but to end real violence. He asks, “How many fights and killings were caused by a neighbor who wouldn’t stop machine-gunning his engine until the last leaf was lying in a decomposing heap on the tree lawn?” He admits that the government doesn’t keep such statistics, but implies they ought to.
As a person who loves silence – or at least the real sounds of nature, not the man-made ones – I am at one with curmudgeonly Mr. Lesser on this issue. I can think of a dozen common gadgets that need either silencers or silent alternatives offered in a buy-back program. For example (and note how many of these would also be better for our physical health):
- Jet-skis (replacement item: paddleboats)
- Snowmobiles (replacement: sleds and saucers)
- Ride-on lawnmowers (replace with the push kind that makes the pleasant clicking sound)
- Dishwashers (Remember the family conversations we had when we did dishes by hand?)
- Coffee grinders (Could we bring back the old-fashioned percolator sound?)
- Ice-makers (Ice cube trays now come in wonderful shapes and variations!)
What would be on YOUR list?
And if you are not a curmudgeon about this, what ARE you a curmudgeon about?
Want to hear some cool sounds from nature? Try: http://www.naturesoundmap.com/