“Why is he still outside?” I asked. “He’s been out there ages.”
“He’s scarifying the lawn.”
I had never heard the term scarifying before, and it sounded absolutely terrifying. I had images of my friend jumping out on the lawn shouting “Boo!” or running around with a sheet over his hard pretending to be a ghost or member of the Ku Klux Klan. I wasn’t sure of the botanical benefits of such an activity, but I am about as far from green-fingered as it is possible to be (brown fingered?), so how would I know?
As it turns out, my assumptions were completely wrong. Scarifying is merely the process of getting dead stuff off the the grass by poking it repeatedly. In fact, it would be fair to say that it is possibly the least scary activity on the planet. Unless someone has hidden land mines in your garden, which would admittedly up the adrenaline levels a notch or two. Thinking about it, I would actually pay good money to watch someone scarify a minefield.
It got me thinking about the person that came up with this name for the activity of “clearing up dead shit off the grass”. They were obviously trying to sex it up a bit. Or possibly even trying to impress a woman. Women are well-known for reacting positively to men who thrive in dangerous situations; firemen, secret agents, inner-city schoolteachers etc. so what better way of making your potentially dull vocation sound more exciting than by giving one of it’s more boring activities a dangerous sounding name?
The more I think about it, the more I think these professional gardeners might just be geniuses.