The Law of Diminishing Returns

The issue is perpetual fidelity to the great lawn gods.

One of the things I most remember from my freshman year of college is Law of Diminishing Returns. It was a concept in my Economics 101 course, and suggests that more is not necessarily better. The illustration that sticks in my mind is this: One ice cream cone tastes delicious. Subsequent cones do not provide the same amount of pleasure as that first dessert; in fact, that third or fourth cone may be less than tasty and, indeed, more tummy-ache-inducing.

That’s how I feel about raking leaves. That first pass generates a sensation of good feeling. But subsequent sweeps over the same area, when fewer leaves are being moved, are far less satisfying.

My wife is fond, if not the raking itself, then the results of raking, talking about how much nicer the lawn will be in the spring. This is not exactly an incentive for me, since I’ll be the one MOWING the lawn in the spring.

Her late brother John sent out this e-mail about a decade ago which addressed the issue of this perpetual fidelity to the great lawn gods, and how utterly silly it was; wish I still had it, for I would surely post it here.

Worse than raking, though, are those noisy leaf blowers. Not only can I not justify the expenditure of whatever fuel runs them, but as anti-noise advocate Julie Newmar describes them, they are an unnecessary blight.

So I rake. And rake. And rake some more.

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