My Little Concrete Sparta

Now that Nemo has buried us in snow today, a request was made to read this little gem again that was originally posted on MySpace almost five years ago.  After considerable effort to find this blog entry on whatever it is MySpace is doing these days to cling to life, I give you the reposting of a story about my old house and driveway.

Every so often comes a time where the impossible becomes possible.  Maybe because the planets are aligned, maybe because a divine power has willed it, maybe just because “luck be a lady tonight.”  Since my new neighbor moved in two years ago, I couldn’t help but notice that every winter his driveway looks immaculate.  Besides the fact that the earth is slowly eating mine (while pushing my deck out oddly enough), he always keeps it clear of snow.  The entire sky could have fallen over night and before I get home from work, it doesn’t have a single flake on it.  The mystery of it all slowly drove me crazy.  Doesn’t he have a job?  How did he get it done before 3:00?  And how does it look so perfect?

I have been shoveling my driveway for three years. I’m usually motivated the first few times it snows and then stop caring but by this winter I felt I had to keep up with the Jones’. But here I am working my ass off, praying I don’t become the next guy to keel over from a heart attack from shoveling and not once have I ever caught my neighbor in the act of shoveling.  It’s almost as if his driveway was heated and the snow never had a chance.  Maybe he has some kind of forcefield.  He does have a pretty sweet garage that could probably do it by sheer will.

Regardless I persisted….until one night at close to midnight I caught him.  It was still snowing and he was out there with a shovel!!! At first I was excited to know that he does have to break a sweat and work to keep it clear.  Then I realized that if this guy is working this hard to keep his driveway clean, I don’t stand a chance of competing.  In other words, I gave up.  I spent the rest of the winter using four wheel drive to get up my driveway and occasionaly helping the mailman push his truck when it got stuck in the cul de sac.  I could never become a master of the shovel like my neighbor apparently.

Then I discovered his secret.  One day as I stayed home from work sick, he emerged from his backyard with the greatest machine I had seen in years. Before he was even visible, a spray of snow that almost reached his roof shot out as if announcing the presence of a snow god. In fewer than twenty minutes, my neighbor moved mountains with this machine. It was clear to me why I was always losing.  HE WAS CHEATING!!!


Mr. Chompers the Duel Drive, Self-Propelled, Snow Destroyer

Even though the winter was almost over and most stores had already stopped selling snow blowers, I went in search of one.  I’ll be damned if I ever have to look at his immaculate driveway again while I was stuck with a bent shovel. I found the machine that would change my view of winter. It was the last one on the floor and was proven to work since the store employees used it themselves to clear the walkway.  This was an added bonus because they cut me a deal to take it off their hands.  This was no ordinary snow blower.  This was a duel drive, self propelled, electric start SNOW DESTROYER!  Upon unveiling it to my driveway for the first time, he was dubbed “Mr. Chompers” and the snow apocalypse began.  At that moment in time I couldn’t think of a single sensation that had ever beaten the thrill of kicking Jack Frost in the junk simply by moving a two ton piece of machinary with the squeeze of two handles.

There was only one problem that remained.  Even though I now had my new weapon of mass winter destruction, my neighbor was still getting out there before me. Even if it snowed on the weekend, he was up at the crack of dawn making sure he was the envy of all men…..until today.  As if God Himself had willed it, Michigan was hit last night with six or so inches of snow in late March. That not so rare snowfall that comes after we’ve had our first taste of 58 degree spring weather.  The snowfall that pisses everyone off because Mother Nature has teased us once again.  Everyone except for me!  It was my moment to shine and mine alone.  As I woke up earlier than usual for a Saturday, I looked out at the fresh covering of snow that reached everywhere…including my neighbor’s driveway!  Without hesitation, I put on yesterday’s clothes, bundled up with boots, and grabbed the shed keys.  I was the only man out in the cul de sac this morning.  I wondered if I was breaking noise ordinances at 9:30 in the morning but I didn’t care.  Mr Chompers and I kicked some snow ass!  As I finished kicking the last of the snow off my porch, the morning snow destroying came to a perfect end as my neighbor emerged with his beast just in time for me to wave as I walked back up my clean driveway and back inside.

In the end, my neighbor may win the war but just like King Leonidas and his 300 men at the battle of Thermopylae, this victory is mine and shall go down in the annals of history as inspiration to all that every underdog has his day.


On that note, I’m heading out to conquer Nemo with Mr. Chompers in my new neighborhood where no one shovels anything. I’m pretty sure there might actually be a noise ordinance here but maybe everyone will forgive me if I clear off their sidewalks, too.  Enjoy the snow day, teachers!

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