It was a gorgeous morning, with lots of bright sunshine and not a breath of wind.
We were working at an older home in an established neighborhood. Crew Leader Carl and I were in the front yard, deadheading roses.
Carl paused and gazed into the distance, shielding his eyes from the sun. His sunglasses reflected the surrounding landscape like twin, pocket-sized mirrors.
“Man, what a beautiful day,” he said, holding his pruners at his side. “The weather is awesome. It’s so calm and still. It’s the kind of day where I’d like to be lounging in my backyard.”
I nodded. “Yeah, it’s nice. And not too hot, either. The temperature’s perfect.”
Carl turned back to his pruning. “This job is the best. I sure love working outdoors. We get to be in the sun all day, breathing the fresh air.”
I nodded again. “Yeah.”
“You know something?” Carl said, looking directly at me with his mirrored sunglasses. “Landscape maintenance is truly a low-stress job. Think about it. We go from yard to yard mowing lawns and pruning flowers. That’s it. I mean, how hard is that? These high-level executives with their fancy titles and huge houses end up paying for it in the end. Most of them have sky-high blood pressures and end up dying of heart attacks before they even retire. I’ll take a stress-free existence any day.”
I shrugged. “Yeah. I guess so.”
Just then, the front door to the house opened and slammed, and the elderly homeowner stomped down the stairs.
“Hey!” he yelled, pointing at me and Carl. “You stupid bastards! I told you guys before not to prune the roses! And here you are hacking limbs off them! You useless bottom-feeding, scum-sucking pieces of crap! I complain to your boss every week about you dipsticks. The lawn has dandelions, the trees have aphids, and the planters are chock-full of weeds, and yet here you are taking a machete to my wife’s roses! You idiotic imbeciles! What clown college did you graduate from? I could find a brain-dead jackass that could do your jobs better than you, you stupid, pathetic, useless jerks! Instead of slashing the roses with a scythe, why don’t you bend down and pull a weed once in a while? Huh? Would that be too much work for your morons? Would it strain your delicate backs? Would it require too much brain power? You useless schmucks! Stupid, useless bastards! Do me a favor and get the hell off my property before you screw up something else, you idiots!”
The man plodded up the staircase and slammed the door behind him, shaking the house.
I looked at Carl, who was visibly shaking. “So, what was that you were saying about landscaping being a low-stress job?”