I see the grass, and it sees me. Today will be the challenge of challenges. Shoots will attempt to break free from uniformity, to diverge from inclusion in a level, collective cut. They will blame gorge winds. They will blame exhaust gusts. They will blame worm farts.

But their deflections will stop short of action because I have the blade of bombasticity. I have the knife of numbskull ne’er-do-well narcissism. I slice deeply with the cut of conformity.

Beware all of those who use fossil fuels to do the work of the ancients, for I am Machete Mike, and I will bring a straight swipe of flashing edge across your uneven reaches above the line of the mean. I will bring cultivated curation. I will cut you for your own good.

* * *

Pivoting from overwrought openers, we were on our way back from the North Portland Costco, and we saw a guy on the side of the road trimming the grass around his roadside stand with a machete. You read right. He was at times down on his hands and knees, other times scooting around on his ass, painstakingly trimming each section like a barber using a straight razor. What prompted his dedication to hand-crafted lawn care?

Let’s ask Machete Mike.

* * *

TFF: Hello, Sir. We see you have an interesting technique for trimming the foliage around your stand. Care to tell us how you came across this method?

Machete Mike: I see you have an errant follicle on your face. *a huge machete sings out of a scabbard with a SKRRRIIING*

TFF: I’m traditional in that regard, so I think I’ll stick with my Schick and foam shaving cream, thanks.

Machete Mike: *brandishes the machete for a moment, swiveling it to catch his and our reflection on its blade like a revolving door that can’t decide if it wants to go clockwise or counterclockwise* You’ll regret that choice, letting the growth go where it will, but I’m willing to let you learn.

TFF: Back to our question.

Machete Mike: Question?

TFF: About how you came to use a machete to trim the growth around your stand?

Machete Mike: I was chosen, plucked from my bed as a boy, carried across the ocean, and set down in an ashram atop mountains in the Far East. From there, I started my training.

TFF: This sounds a lot like the early plot of Batman Begins.

Machete Mike: Ah, so you know the life story stealer Christopher Nolan’s work, yes?

TFF: You’re saying Christopher Nolan stole your life story?

Machete Mike: As the blade flies.

TFF: And used it to create a new chapter in the Batman franchise?

Machete Mike: The sword will swoosh.

TFF: A franchise that’s been around since the 1930s?

Machete Mike: The hilt also seeks to bury.

TFF: If I may offer you a compliment, you don’t look any older than your early 40s.

Machete Mike: The scallions know not the end game of sautéing when the cleaver sets to its dicing.

TFF: Two things: 1) unless you’re a time-traveler or you have a fantastic skin care regimen, you wouldn’t have been born for another 40-some-odd years after the creation of Batman, making it impossible for Christopher Nolan, or any other writer who ever added a chapter to the franchise, to steal your life story; 2) I must remind you: you haven’t answered my original question.

Machete Mike: Lawns are the drapes that have fallen over the earth, their spines curving and fitting themselves with amoral topographical adhesion.

TFF: Topographical what?!

Machete Mike: It means grass and weeds and flowers grow wherever the fuck they want. They have basic instincts. They commit original sins of wandering without permission. Thus, they deserve a trimming using an original weapon: the machete. I don’t just do the ground around my stand; I also do lawns—about one per month. It takes that long for my back to recover.

TFF: Machete Mike’s Mowing?

Machete Mike: How did you know?

TFF: Lucky guess. … Rolling back a beat, your last answer made a weird kind of sense, but one last follow-up question: if it takes you a month to cut one lawn, how can you achieve uniformity? Wouldn’t the earliest cut blades have regrown by the time you got to the end?

Machete Mike: That’s two questions, but I will indulge. I first developed my ability to scare followers of the chlorophyll cult when I watched mountain goats in the Far East tearing the shit out of mountainside foliage.

TFF: Oh, for Christ’s sake. You’re saying grass and weeds and wildflowers have feelings? Feelings you can manipulate?

Machete Mike: Anthropomorphism spawns in sun eaters.

TFF: *cutting gesture to camera crew* We’re done here. This guy’s bats.

Machete Mike: Anarchists are full up in the sea anemones.

TFF: *turns back as walking away from interview set* That’s a carnivorous sea animal, dumbass.

Machete Mike: That feeds off the sun. Thus, it is fated to the same end as its green counterparts on land.

TFF: *shouting from the street* They eat crabs, dumbshit, not sun!

Machete Mike: Crabs of the sun walk sideways to bow to the glowing orb.

TFF: *on phone* Yeah, are you the guys in white coats? Good. We’ve got one of yours down here on NE Sandy Boulevard. *listening* Yep, yep, he’s raving mad and he has a machete. *listening* You’ve got ninja swords? Do you, too, subjugate plants? *listening* Just hedges? Makes total sense.

* * *

Scaring your lawn into submission with the righteous blade of a machete avenging Christopher Nolan’s theft of your origin story—the latest in yard maintenance techniques.