Lawn-mowing frenzy linked to distracted reader

A new law may prohibit my book from being read while driving a riding mower.
HATSOL Surveillance Team members managed to get this photo before police closed the area.
According to a court summons I just received, my book is now under scrutiny following an incident in which a woman went on a riding-mower spree that cut large swaths through nearly four acres of neighboring yards, including several flower beds and three mailboxes. The woman, who would only identify herself as “MamaMickTerry,” was clutching a copy of Humor at the Speed of Life when police traced her to an equipment shed behind her home, where she was still sitting on the industrial-sized mower in question.

“She kept repeating a passage from the book. Something about mowing over Ned Hickson’s hibachi,” said officer Bill Schlependorf, head of the local landscape crimes division. “We tracked her down by forming a grid. Then we stepped out of the grid and followed a six-foot wide path of debris through a series of hydrangea bushes to her shed. That’s where we found her, still clutching the book and mumbling that she would ‘…show Ned what a REAL mower looks like!'”

The woman was arrested without incident and was later released, also without incident. The investigation has now turned to the book, and determining what role it may have played in fueling the bizarre event.

Submitted by a HATSOL Surveillance Team member imbedded on Capitol Hill. Or possibly just in bed, we're not sure which...
Submitted by an anonymous member of the HATSOL Surveillance Team imbedded on Capitol Hill. Or possibly just in bed, we’re not sure which…
In response, lawmakers on Capitol Hill have promised to introduce legislation for a nationwide ban on reading my book while operating any type of lawn-mowing equipment. Known as the MamaMickTerry Bill, it could pass as early as this spring, just in time for the height of lawn-care season.

“Once it passes The House, I’m confident it will be signed into law,” said Senator Orrin Hatch, who happened to be vacationing near MamaMickTerry when the incident occurred. “It’s all about timing. And until this season of The Bachelor is over, there’s really no point in trying to get anything passed unless Chris Harrison becomes Speaker of the House.”

(Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. His first book, Humor at the Speed of Life, is available from Port Hole Publications, or Barnes & Noble.)

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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

45 thoughts on “Lawn-mowing frenzy linked to distracted reader”

  1. Ned, I am sure that your lawyer vetted this post as it contains some very misleading, lawyerly language. For instance, your title uses the word “distracted” (as if it was her fault for not paying attention) when it is apparent that the correct word is “motivated” (actions driven by the words of another). Ha! My uncle lived in an upscale neighborhood outside Rochester. All the backyards were connected (no fences) and dotted with trees and gardens. One summer Sunday each year all the neighbors would gather with their ride-ons, imbibe all afternoon and then commence lawnmower races around the trees and gardens. The rest of the summer was devoted to repairing the damage. They would most certainly have approved of your book – it would have added a certain “scholarly” aspect to their endeavors.

    1. “as if it was her fault for not paying attention”
      That said, it was worth the jail time…got caught up on my reading and am just about ready to learn about the sad day the dog got neutered.

            1. Ha! Ha! Aw shucks.
              However, that should be up for debate. I don’t recall seeing a picture of your legs at any point…I think we should all have a fair chance to weigh in on that 🙂
              (Victoria! Grab the nectar!)

              1. I’m not prepared to lose that many followers again. The photo for my “writing naked” post put me in the negative, which I didn’t even know was possible…

  2. Hey! Good morning and sorry it took me several hours to notice this. I would have seen it sooner had I not been in the slammer.
    Fortunately, Victoria alerted me to it’s existence and I’m thankful that the picture was snapped in sensible clothing and not an orange jump suit.
    For the record, there was no nectar consumed until after bail was posted (thanks, Ned!) and there will be no civil suits from the neighbors as a result (we are covered with 6 inches of snow and no one can see the damage).
    Since returning home and for future safety, I’ve resigned myself to sticking solely to the top line on page 45 in your book and leaving the distracted mowing to someone else.
    (Hugs! I loved it!)

    1. I figured as much and was looking forward to hearing from you once you were “on the outside” again.

      It sounds like you have a good plan. About the nectar, I mean. And the more you drink, the more sense page 45 will make 😉

      (Thank you, and your son, for the HATSOL inspiration!)

  3. If only she had read the manual and followed the instructions. All mowers manuals include a large box with bold outlines containing the following 48 point font warming “DO NOT READ Humor at the Speed of Life WHILE OPERATING THIS EQUIPMENT”.

    Come to think of it, our combine manual contains the same warning – but we pay it no mind, all modern combines use hands-off GPS navigation anyway…

  4. Ha ha ha. I don’t know how you do it, but you do, As a result, my people are loving your people. Oh, and you, most definitely they are enamored with your off-the-odometer speed of humor..

        1. Thanks, Liser 😉

          If you really do order the book, and it’s from the publisher, I’d be more than happy to sign it before it goes out. Just let me know.

          Regardless, thank you for reading. I’m glad we’ve crossed paths. You’re funny and inspiring. And obviously have good taste in humor columnists…

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