Mind Control via Leaf Blower


imageThe landscaping around The Escapist Compound is kind of bland. Honestly, that’s the only word to describe it. Here in North Carolina, the ambient fauna is fairly nice to look at when unadulterated, unlike in a lot of places I’ve lived. Tall, majestic pine trees, dominate the landscape and … well, that’s all there is. But it’s nice. Really, you can’t go wrong with pine trees. They’re nature’s black torchieres. Not sure what to do with a state? Throw in a pine tree, voila!

By contrast, the man-formed landscaping around the Compound is hideous, and bland. Which is why it was no surprise to me when I learned that the company responsible for this travesty was, in fact, called “Bland.” Bland Landscaping, to be precise. And no I’m not kidding. They even have a website, and their motto (“Grounds for excellence.”) is as bland as their white trucks.

Now, this is all well and good, and as the punch line of an inter-office quip on the nature of irony, would have occupied about ten seconds of my mind were it not for the fact that I’ve meant to remark to Joe, the usual receptacle for such quips, no fewer than five times, that I’d passed the Bland truck on my way in from lunch and thought it was humorous. Five times. At least. Remember this, it’s important. Make a note if you must.

The owner of Bland Landscaping, Tom Bland, says he surrounds himself with “really good people, and then I’m able to work with them.” “Able to work with them”; which means they’re bland, and as a speech, that’s bland, too. So, basically, everything about his company is bland, and, to me, it’s hysterically funny. And I laugh about it practically every day.

Now here’s why that’s important: The entire thought completely escaped my mind somewhere between the car and the office, every single time. Like that movie about the amnesiac guy who met people over and over never realizing he’d met them before, I’ve had the exact same thought about making the exact same joke at least five times, never once realizing I’d had the thought before. In fact, the only reason I’m able to bring you this horrifying tale today is that, in true Memento fasion, I wrote myself a note; in Sharpie marker, because my pens had all dried up.

I’m certain there’s something going on here. Who else prides themselves on their banality, perfecting it even – down to a science? That’s right, the CIA. And now, apparently, they’ve discovered a way to make us forget we’ve even seen them.

Yes, this is what passes for hard-hitting editorial on the Monday after a two-console-release weekend. What of it? Here, take a look at this landscaping brochure …

About the author