OKIE IN EXILE — NALM and the New Normal

Bobby Neal Winters
Bobby Winters

The first mowing of the new lawn year is fast approaching, and it is time to look ahead to that new year. Because of COVID-19, last year brought about a lot of changes to the way we must deal with our lawns. That’s right, not even mowing escaped.

You may recall that last year I made the switch from my ICE (internal combustion engine) mower to a battery-powered mower. This was a big game changer and won me some points with NALM, the National Association of Lawn Mowers.

NALM is incredibly woke. They are rooted in that old, northeastern establishment elite. They are dominated by a small group that is similar to the Skull and Bones Society. It’s called the Gopher and Grub Society.

While the Skull and Bones Society promotes a “new world order” with a “thousand points of light,” the Gopher and Grubs shoot for a “well-edged world” with a “trillion blades of grass.” And they want those trillion blades to all be exactly alike.

I didn’t know this when I got into NALM. I just wanted to make myself a better person by having a better lawn. But I got into this an inch at a time, and I don’t know a way out.

Anyway, NALM likes battery-powered mowers because they are more eco-friendly than ICE mowers as well as being quieter. And I do too. I will admit I bought my electric mower of my own accord, and only found out later that NALM encourages such action. In any case, those two factors are not an issue with NALM.

NALM is an organization that is deeply divided over a question that is of a lot of interest to most of us mowers: How short do you mow your grass?

This is very contentious. On one hand, if you mow your grass short, say almost into the dirt, then you don’t have to mow it as often. This means you will use less energy and will put less carbon into the atmosphere. On the other hand, if you keep your grass long, then the carbon stays sequestered in the grass.

The Cut-it-short group fears that if the Long-grass group gets their way, folks will take it to the extreme of not mowing at all. In their worst fears, we will have acres and acres of grass in city after city, just growing and going to seed.

The Long-grass group fears if the Cut-it-short group’s point of view is taken to its logical conclusion that people will just pave over their yards.

There was a big video conference this winter where partisans for each point of view squared off over the issue. It began civilly enough, but by the end the exchange had degenerated to:

“Oh yeah?”


One side of the issue will start the rumor that a member of the other side has dandelions in their yard or has had at some point in the past. This is a serious thing in NALM, especially among the elite.

For my part, I keep my head down and try not to get noticed. I’ve got so many dandelions in my lawn, I am thinking of using them as a food source. I remember that aphorism, “Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup. ”

That is about all that can be done in this sort of atmosphere. I will keep my lawn mown short enough to keep the snakes out, but not so short as to cut the dirt. I will try to make the weeds in my yard as attractive as possible.

That’s about all anybody can do.

Bobby Winters, a native of Harden City, Oklahoma, blogs at redneckmath.blogspot.com and okieinexile.blogspot.com. He invites you to “like'' the National Association of Lawn Mowers on Facebook. Search for him by name on YouTube.