Yardwork: there’s a gene for that. I just don’t have it.

Posted on August 31, 2011


killer shrub

Quick biology lesson: You know about genes – they’re the little bits of instructions that your body reads when it’s trying to figure out where the arms and legs go, which are the fingernails and which are the toenails, that kind of stuff.*

Genes are also what we blame for our behavior any time that proves convenient.

For some silly reason, the shape that your genes are arranged in determines whether you’re a boy or a girl. The arrangements are called chromosomes and they come in two possible shapes: X and Y. Girls have two X’s and boys have an X and a Y.

Now, comparing the X and the Y, it becomes clear that a Y is just an X with one fewer leg – a leg which, had it been present, would have been loaded with genes. Doing the math, I am left to wonder what genes women have in that extra bit that we Y-chromosomers are missing.**

Clearly something had to be sacrificed when we jettisoned all those genes. Given that you’ve got Being Me to look forward to, I’ve been giving some thought to what genes might have been in that missing bit of chromosome so maybe you can learn to adapt better than I have. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be pointing them out for you.

We’ll start with a simple one: Yardwork. I have no genes for that.

Now, look, I know what you’re thinking: you think I’m just saying that because I hate doing yardwork. After all, I’m the guy that taught you that if you don’t want to do something, act like you suck at it. And I do indeed hate doing yardwork, but I might like it better if I didn’t actually suck at it.

Don’t take my word for it, though. Remember last weekend? It was my biennial Battle With The Bushes when I dig out the yardwork tools and try to tame the yard.

I didn’t make it past the first shrub I came to.

Honestly, I don’t know who in their right mind would intentionally plant this thing:

Spiky plant

Clearly these shrubs are genetically superior beings that have evolved over millennia to resist my pruning. (I, on the other hand, have evolved over 40-ish years of lying around to resist actually doing any pruning. )

I got slaughtered.

I tried to attack it with my hand-pruner thingy but for every branch I tried to clip, 4 more speared my arm in defense. Within 5 minutes I had more holes than a donut shop.

It was a defeat like I haven’t experienced since the Great Shitstorm of 2006 (The gene for fixing toilets is also clearly AWOL).

Maybe it was the wind, but I swear the bush was doing a victory dance, my fresh red blood flinging in all directions from the branches’ spines.

I really did try, but I think the only thing that ultimately got pruned was my ego. Lopped the top right off of it.

I’m calling a professional on Monday

*Incidentally, mom’s genes are like a fully-detailed and illustrated 5 volume instructional set, and mine are a one-page photocopied IKEA furniture pictogram. That may explain a lot of things.

**I suspect it’s something to do with shopping, and probably common sense. I also have a theory, though, that all the missing genes are stored in the penis where they continue to direct much of the male’s behavior.