Fossil fool

toro weed whacker
Weed whacker

So we were nestled in the front seats in a little Honda Accord coupe for a test drive. Sporty, fun, comfortable. But there was a problem.

“I’m never buying another combustion engine,” said the good wife.

“But even hybrids have a combus—”

“I’m never buying another combustion engine,” said the good wife.

So we’ll be looking at all-electrics when the time comes for a new car, and I guess we’ll just rent a vehicle for road trips.

I tried to observe the spirit of her law a year ago, when I needed a weed whacker (or “string trimmer,” as the kids* call ’em these days). I bought a Worx electric model from Sears, which, I thought, would surely hold enough juice to get all the way through our tiny little yard on a charge, right?

Except what it did was get through exactly three-fourths of our tiny little yard before dying. Every. Time.

Which maybe wouldn’t be a deal-killer, except the battery takes about five hours to charge up.

Which wouldn’t be that big of a deal either, except it means trimming the verge is always a two-day project.

Which wouldn’t be that big of a deal either, except that it rains all the damn time here in the spring and summer, so it often stretches to a four-day project.

I thought about buying a second battery. That costs almost as much as the weed eater did to start with, though, and already the first battery was acting funny about accepting a charge. I wasn’t sure I’d be better off financially, and I wasn’t sure the production and disposal of another battery, with its noxious mix of chemicals and metals, was any better than buying something that used fossil fuels to move pistons.

Plus, I was underwhelmed by the power of the little guy.

So that was all weighing on me as we tackled the monstrous job of getting control over the overgrown once-and-future krakhaus. And then I looked at the clearing we’re going to have to do on the forthcoming orchard.

Now normally I’m a man of much resolve. But I have to admit, I grew weak. I grew envious of the little gurgling sounds of pull-cranks and the two-stroke hums of my neighbors’ fancy devices that were powered by gasamahol.

Toro weed whacker

My weed eater features a clear priming bubble, so I can see the dinos doing their work!

And I went and bought me a gas-powered Toro weed eater with a commercial-grade engine.

I gave Jenn the chance to look away before I brought it into the house for assembly. She bravely stared the internal combustion engine in the face, one wild animal sizing up another.

I’d eschewed these devices in the past, trying to avoid both maintenance and the need for a special can of gasoline mixed with oil. And it may be that I’ll regret the decision after winter storage and a struggle to get ‘er running in the spring. Maybe a combustion engine will one day be as much of a dinosaur as what’s used to fuel it. Or if not a dinosaur, a saber-toothed cat— extinct one day, sure, but in its prime a purring marvel, a well-balanced machine that makes short work of its prey.

* kids = employees at The Home Depot

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