It is lawn-mowing season and I am faced again with a pressing question: Am I old enough to buy a riding lawnmower? As a baby boomer, I might qualify because I have lost considerable amounts of hair and have become a little jowly. I don’t have wattles yet. You need wattles to ride.

It is lawn-mowing season and I am faced again with a pressing question: Am I old enough to buy a riding lawnmower? As a baby boomer, I might qualify because I have lost considerable amounts of hair and have become a little jowly. I don’t have a wattle yet. You need a wattle to ride.


If you ever look closely at your neighbor Mr. Richards (He is always named Mr. Richards), he sports dark green workpants, a denim shirt and a cap that advertises the manufacturer of his machine. If he is brand-conscious, his hat will say John Deere. Sears Craftsmen riders wear baseball caps with their MLB team’s name on them.


Universally, the riding mowers or tractors are green. Occasionally, one will see a red one, but usually they are painted green with yellow lettering.


They move slowly, deliberately, like mechanical monsters in “Star Wars.” They emit a constant motor noise like a car stuck in first gear. They are a little ridiculous looking in the suburbs where the lawns are often so narrow one has to ride into the street to make a turn to mow from the other direction.


My white sideburns are appropriate. They signal age and wisdom. At my age, for example, I know enough to check the oil in the tractor before every ride. It is amazing how small engines can evaporate oil during a hot afternoon.


My cardiologist won’t be happy. How can I expect to live long enough to die in my sleep if I sit atop a tractor and let my arteries clog from lack of exercise? The old push lawn mower was best, he said. So is golf. I don’t play golf with my eyesight. I don’t have enough personal indemnity insurance.


The riding mower/tractors are all on special this week – even the one with the four headlights. They all seem to hover around $1,000 or so. Some come with neat-looking trailers to carry bags of peat moss. It would make it even harder for me to turn around with the trailer appendage, however.


Then, I would also have a space problem. I do have a second garage out back where I keep books I cannot live without and old 78 rpm records. I could store the tractor in there – only if it has a reverse. I couldn’t turn around in the garage without toppling over the giant two-volume Oxford English Dictionary boxed set or the multi-volume Modern Library series that lines an entire shelf.


I can see myself riding on the mower and completing my lawn work in 9 minutes. Then I would turn carefully around and glide into the garage like a tugboat from the children’s fable, “Little Toot.”


I don’t know. I guess I can wait one more year before buying the tractor. I don’t have the cap yet anyway.


Peter Costa is a senior editor with GateHouse Media New England. His most recent book of humor is “Outrageous CostaLiving: Still laughing through life,” available at amazon.com.