Howdy folks! Today we’re going to learn how to cut your lawn with a machete!

  • Step 1: Pay someone S/30 to cut your damn lawn with a machete.
  • Step 2: Go out for the day so you don’t feel bad about watching a guy who’s probably a lot older than you cutting your damn lawn with a machete.
  • Step 3: Buy beer and return home at 4 p.m. to pay the man S/30 plus an extra S/10 for all his backbreaking labor.
  • Step 4: Drink beer in the setting sun while admiring your perfectly trimmed lawn. Great work!

Machete Man

A few months ago, I paid a man — my landlady’s humble peón (worker or odd-job man) — to cut my grass. Lawnmowers haven’t yet caught on in Tarapoto, Peru, so he arrived with nothing but a machete. He spent the entire day kneeling on the lawn in the baking sun, cutting and cutting and cutting. And he did an incredible job: as neat and tidy as any heartless grass-cutting machine.

Recently, upon seeing my grass once again reach an embarrassing height, I had one of those regrettable “I can do that” moments.

I went out and bought a machete. They sell machetes blunt here, so I took it the market to find someone to sharpen it. As it turns out, Peruvian cobblers have the tools for sharpening machetes. Who knew?

With my machete sharpened and my soul full of working-the-land enthusiasm and outdoorsy determination, I genuflected and began to cut. Mimicking the technique I’d seen the experienced old peón adopting, I began to slash briskly, doing what seem a rather impressive job.

Five minutes later, the sun glaring at me like the Eye of Sauron on a well-fed Golem, sweat pouring from my neck, a single thought began rotating through my brain: “Fuck. This.”

“Fuck. This,” I said aloud, just like Moses in the desert.

You see, cutting your lawn with a machete might seem like a great idea. Oh, yeah, this will be wonderful exercise! What a sense of satisfaction I shall have!

But five minutes later, you’ll be weeping in the sun like a downed World War II pilot in a rubber dinghy.

I finished cutting my lawn about four days later. Yep, I saw it through. And yes, I do feel kind of satisfied. My lawn looks like it was cut by an epileptic Sweeney Todd, but at least it’s cut. And by me.

Do I recommend cutting grass with a machete? Hell no. It’s a bloody nightmare. It’s easier to cut your way through the damn jungle than try to trim a lawn to some acceptable aesthetic level with a machete.

So pay a peón S/30 and move on with your life. Or just let the jungle reclaim your front lawn.