Mike Buzzelli

Column Mike Buzzelli

Mike Buzzelli is a stand up comedian and published author. He is a theater and arts critic for 'Burgh Vivant, Pittsburgh's online cultural talk magazine, and an active board member of the Pittsburgh New Works Festival, the Carnegie Arts Initiative and the Carnegie Screenwriters. His book, "Below Average Genius" is a collection of essays culled from his weekly humor column here in the Observer-Reporter.

Blades of gory

April 4, 2014

I have been called accident-prone in my day. I’ve never been rushed to the hospital to have a garden implement removed from my body. I hit myself in the face with a rake once. For the record, I was not acting out Sideshow Bob scenes from “The Simpsons.” The rake was stuck on a clump of grass. I pulled and it came loose a little faster than I had anticipated. Rake met face. It was not a friendly encounter.

Before I can be crowned king of the klutzes, I’d like you to meet James Valentine. Earlier this week, Valentine took a chainsaw to his chest. Alas, he was not re-enacting a scene from “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” Valentine is a tree-trimmer who had an unfortunate accident while trimming a tree. He got the chainsaw embedded in his chest. The X-ray scared the bejeezus out of me. Somehow, Valentine survived.

I’m terrified of chainsaws. It’s my second biggest fear. I self-diagnosed myself with kanalineophobia. Technically, it’s a fear of blades. There is no actual name for a fear of chainsaws, but there should be. They are scary. I blame Leatherface from the aforementioned “Massacre” movie. They’ve made, like, 20 of those. I’ve seen zero of them. I’m not going to go see any movie where people are hacked up with items from Home Depot.

The blade fear is completely irrational, especially since I won’t pick up a chainsaw. Now, thanks to Valentine, I will never go near one. I don’t like any spinning or rotating blades.

Have you ever had to remove clumps of grass from the underside of a lawnmower? I always think the lawnmower is going to magically come to life and those blades are going to clip off more than my fingernails. I have a wooden stick to remove the clumpy wet grass, just in case.

I can’t even use an electric razor, and I don’t trust ceiling fans all that much.

Ever been in a room with a ceiling fan set on high speed? It’s spinning out of control up there, all wobbly. I am afraid it’s going to come loose and slice my head off. Technically, the blades on a ceiling fan are just blades in name only and don’t have any sharp, stabby parts. Clearly, it’s not a rational fear. Though, I don’t think there is such a thing as a rational fear. Fears by their very nature are irrational. OK, you get a pass if you’re actually being chased by a serial killer.

I heard this great acronym for fear once: False Evidence Appearing Real.

Leatherface isn’t coming after us. The lawnmower isn’t going to start by itself, and the ceiling fan harbors no inner resentment toward me. It’s all false evidence appearing real. Then, I read a story about a tree trimmer and how he came really close to trimming his head from his shoulders, and I’m quivering under the covers again.

I know what you’re thinking. The weather is finally nice, and I’m just making up excuses so that I don’t have to do yard work. If you are thinking that, you wouldn’t be that wrong.



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