THE BLOG
12/20/2010 01:55 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

See Last Paragraph for the Evildoer Who Invented Leaf Blowers!

If Chester Greenwood were alive today, I'd serenade him with these famous lyrics: "Did you ever know that you're my hero?"

That's because Greenwood (1858-1937) invented ear muffs and the modern rake. If you've ever raked leaves while your neighbors' yards were being blasted by roaring leaf blowers, you know that ear muffs can dull the darn decibels a dollop.

Of course, ear muffs don't prevent you from breathing in the fumes and other stuff that leaf blowers spew into the air. But I can't blame Greenwood for inventing rakes with handles too large to insert into one's nostrils.

Rakes are on my mind because, this past fall, I picked up the ten free leaf bags my town gives out each year. It only took a couple hours of vigorous raking to fill those bags, and I enjoyed the exercise. An added bonus was feeling no guilt about bothering neighbors with noise and pollution -- though some people might argue that rakes spew moral superiority.

Unfortunately, many homeowners use leaf blowers or hire landscapers who use leaf blowers. Sometimes, several of those landscapers blast leaf blowers at the same time on the same property. It makes a bigger racket than a garage band without a garage, and some of the leaves get catapulted onto other lawns, other streets, and other planets.

I can sort of understand why leaf blowers are used on huge lawns. But many able-bodied people with medium-to-small yards also seem allergic to rakes. Makes one want to scream the four-letter word "l***" ("lazy").

Homeowners who feel manual yard work is beneath them should hire a neighborhood kid to rake their property rather than use leaf-blower-wielding landscapers. The homeowners would still get great cardio exercise when slowly reaching into their pockets to pay for the work, and the kid's heart rate would also increase after getting underpaid.

Another problem with leaf blowers is the way they can bother people taking supposedly relaxing strolls. I was walking this fall when I saw a landscaper blowing leaves near the front porch of a house. I figured he would approach the sidewalk by the time I walked past, so I veered into the street. But he moved faster than I expected, and gave me a dose of "Wind Beneath My Wings" as the leaves he was targeting skittered onto the road. My left eye got a bit of debris and my left eardrum felt like Charlie Watts had whacked it, but the landscaper was fine. He was wearing goggles, ear protection, and a grin. If only Chester Greenwood had invented teeth muffs.

Leaf blowers, by the way, were invented by Satan.