The Hard Way
CUT IT OUT: that's going too far

Work is a four-letter word.

But then again, some four-letter can be quite good.

That thought came to me this morning while I was slashing the grass at the back of my house.

I’ve done that chore often in Francistown but this is the first time I’ve done it on my lawn in England.

The slasher was a gift from a friend who brought it to England after teaching in Botswana.

It was pretty beaten up but after a bit of sharpening, it worked like a charm.

I’ve never seen another in the UK and I doubt there would be much demand for them since there are far easier ways to cut grass.

Electric mowers, petrol mowers and even manual rotating cylinder push mowers are a lot easier on the back and arm than swinging a slasher.

All the same, I chose to use the bent blade because it holds fond memories and I enjoy working out in a productive way.

Sure I could have cut the grass in half the time with a mower and then gone for a run and done some push-ups, or – if I belonged to one – gone to the gym, but that reasoning doesn’t make sense to me.

Not that there is anything wrong with exercising for its own sake, or even paying to belong to a gym.

I just don’t understand why so many people go out of their way to avoid manual labour and then go out of their way again to exercise.

Doing physical work around the house can be very rewarding.

It also saves money on power tools and getting someone else to do the job and it makes it less likely that you will feel the urge to splash out on an adventure holiday.

No, I don’t buy into the modern way of thinking that assumes easier is always better and I would like to encourage you to question that assumption as well.

To do that, though, you would have to take a critical look at some of the marketing we are exposed to every day.

When we turn on the TV we see adverts with smug actors sitting back while their phones talk to them and their cars park themselves.

The message seems to be the best life possible is the one that features the least amount of effort.

All you have to do is buy the devices and you’ll be happy.

Then, when we pick up an outdoor magazine, we discover the key to happiness lies in doing things like climbing Mt Kilimanjaro, riding fancy bicycles in exotic locations and playing golf in Sun City.

The messages are very different but both routes lead to us giving other people a lot of money… which, of course, is the whole point of marketing.

Okay, maybe the grass cutting example is a bit extreme. There is nothing wrong with using a mower or getting someone to do the job.

I’m just saying for anyone who is interested in keeping fit there are plenty of options right around the home that don’t require lycra body suits or any other expensive gear.

As an added benefit, some of them can even save us money and provide feelings of satisfaction.

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