Greetings, my fellow Americans. How is everyone doing today? I said, HOW IS EVERYONE DOING TODAY? I’m sorry if we can’t hear each other very well, what with all the beautiful music reverberating off the hills and dales and insides of our skulls. It’s the sound of my most fabulous invention, the leaf blower, and you can no longer escape it. As if you’d want to.
I had many failed inventions before I came up with the leaf blower. Most of it was yard-care-related and involved relocating some aspect of the natural world from one area to another—the worm hurler, the sod slinger, the shrub hucker. My loam lobber used the engine-driven power-take-off from a truck and nearly made it to production but got shot down by those spoilsports at Shark Tank. “Why would you want to throw dirt across your yard?” they asked. And, “Why does it make a noise like a motocross race inside a grain silo?” Because the noise lets you know it’s working, I told them. They didn’t understand. Nobody grasped my genius, but those early failures led to my epiphany: What if, instead of loudly and pointlessly relocating shrubs or worms, we loudly moved leaves? Bingo and eureka. But how?
My original prototype, I’m embarrassed to say, was a mechanized version of that outdated and maddeningly silent implement, the rake. That first machine kind of looked like a robot guy raking leaves. It worked extremely well, rake technology being pretty much perfected over the past thousand years, but there was something missing. I couldn’t figure exactly what. Then one night, while watching my favorite TV show about a helicopter, I noticed the rotor wash as Airwolf landed in a field—scattering leaves everywhere. That’s it: wind. Wind would move the leaves. A loud wind, so you'd know it’s working.
So my second prototype was a small helicopter (only five-foot rotors) that would fly around your yard and blow the leaves away. But there were some technical problems that I’m not legally allowed to talk about, because of ongoing lawsuits with my former neighbors. Not that I could even really explain what went wrong—I’m an inventor, not a helicopter pilot!
Third try’s the charm, they say. But I disagree, because my third try involved a much bigger helicopter. For my fourth try, I sought inspiration from jet engines, in the form of the turbocharger on my 1991 Saab 9000. I just rerouted the intake plumbing so that, instead of pressurizing the manifold, it disgorged air at an angle beneath the car. Unfortunately, this caused my car to run even worse than it did before and brought neighborly relations to a new low as I excitedly tested my prototype—code name, “Swedish Lawn Zamboni”—on their property.
But my fifth try was a device that’s now ubiquitous the world over. I mounted the loudest two-stroke engine I could find on an old hiking backpack, then connected it to a fan and a plastic tube. I called it the Bidirectional Leaf-Obliterating Whirler (BLOW), and it worked better than anyone could have dreamed. Simply kickstart its 750-cc engine, heft the lightweight (112-pound) device onto your back, squeeze the throttle, and watch the magic happen. Leaves that were over here, are now over there! It's like an extremely chaotic rake, but so much better and louder. In my initial backyard test, a human with a rake required 8 minutes to move all available leaf matter to a central pile suitable for bagging and removal. Meanwhile, after only 20 minutes of wide-open throttle, my BLOW device evenly distributed the leaves in small piles of two or three across the whole yard. I knew then that I’d be rich.
Today, you can see and hear my invention across the country, 365 days a year. You’d think that it would only be useful in the autumn when the leaves fall, but the world has realized that the humble leaf blower can blow more than leaves. It can blow gravel off the street, creating majestic plumes of dust. It can blow acorns hither and thither. It can blow pollen and stray bits of mulch. Pine needles! They need to be constantly whooshed to different locations. And whooshed they are, leaf-blower devotees often playfully blowing all sorts of things onto one another’s property, and then right back again the next day. Sometimes the leaf blower might need to be employed twice a day, if one’s morning work is undone by a rare meteorological phenomenon known as “wind.”
Over the years, I’ve refined my invention, adding power and upping nozzle velocity to the point that some models can actually be used as jetpacks. I’ve created electric models that somehow still manage to remain as loud as the flight deck of the USS Nimitz. I’ve not yet solved the problem of random leaves that somehow manage to cling to their position despite a 130-mph hurricane of air pointed at them from one inch away, but my R&D department is working on that. We’re breeding new types of trees with smoother leaves that are more blowable. It’s an exciting time in the business, for sure.
Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I didn’t invent the leaf blower. Like, would leaves just sit on the ground and decompose into nutrient-rich soil against the sound of birds chirping and the occasional soft patter of a passing rain shower? I hate to even think of it. The perfect landscape is one dominated by the cheerful sound of high-rpm small engines with broken mufflers air-napalming the ground in search of the perfect leafless aesthetic.
The beauty of it is, perfection is unattainable. The leaves come back, always. So you have to keep blowing those leaves. Rrrrrrr, Rrrrrrrr, RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAA! That’s the sound of civilization, or at least what I’m getting through my severe tinnitus.
Gotta go! I just saw a leaf a half-block down the street. And not the Nissan kind. If you ask me, those things are way too quiet.
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