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Seth’s Cut: A wink to 2020

July 31, 2020 -  By
Photo: Seth Jones

Seth Jones

My wife and I have two kids, ages 13 and 8. They’re both at fun ages. With all due respect to what’s going on in the world — a pandemic and social unrest — it’s not so bad in the countryside with a sweet 13-year-old girl and a funny 8-year-old boy.

We’re a family that enjoyed going to the movies, so one of the things we’ve done since the theaters shut down is watch “old” movies at home. I got into it enough that I bought a projector to project movies on the side of the garage to give it a real movie theater feel.

My daughter was infuriated with the abrupt end of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 classic “Vertigo.” “Young Frankenstein,” starring Gene Wilder, wasn’t as funny as I remembered. To make up for those two “flops,” we watched 1996’s “Independence Day,” which my son fell asleep on, but my daughter enjoyed for what it is, a popcorn flick. Then, I got psychological on them and showed them 2004’s “I, Robot,” starring Will Smith as a detective in the future who tries to thwart an uprising of intelligent robots that think humans are too dangerous to take care of themselves.

The scene that created the most conversation was the climax when Sonny (a robot) winks at Will Smith’s character, Detective Spooner. Earlier in the movie Sonny asks Detective Spooner what it means to close one eye while looking at another person … to wink. Spooner responds, “It’s a sign of trust — it’s a human thing.”

As we discussed the movie the next day, I discovered that to wink might be a human thing, but it is not yet a Jones thing … as neither my wife or kids can pull off a wink. (Strangely, my son can raise one eyebrow so far up he’d make Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson jealous. But a wink? No.)

In recent weeks at work, between last issue’s LM150 list, this issue’s myriad departments and our online reporting for our weekly e-newsletter, LMDirect!, I’ve spoken to a lot of people in the lawn care and landscape industry. Some of the conversations were over Zoom calls, others were over the phone. There haven’t been any handshakes lately and even fewer winks among trusted colleagues. The most common gesture these days is an awkward wave goodbye at the end of a Zoom call.

Something else that’s common is once the formal part of the conversation — the interview — is over, people tell me, almost apologetically, that they’re having a great year. It’s like the pandemic and social unrest makes some people feel guilty for being successful. They’re charging full steam ahead, working harder than ever. But they don’t want to shout it from the rooftops because … well, because.

If I could, I would give these people a wink and tell them that I understand, and I’m happy to hear about their success. And they’re not alone. Keep up the good work. This too shall pass.

Recently, my nephew, who will be a senior in high school, told me about his new summer job. Previously, he was a lifeguard at a city pool, but that gig dried up with the pandemic. He talked his grandpa into lending him his truck for the summer. So, my nephew started his own mowing business. He’s saving for a car and told me he’s already pocketed $1,000.

I told him I thought that was a good job, and I might have some gear he could borrow as the business grows. Then, I told him I know of a magazine he might want to read someday, and I gave him a wink.

This article is tagged with , , and posted in 0720, Editor's Note
Seth Jones

About the Author:

Seth Jones, a graduate of Kansas University’s William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, was voted best columnist in the industry in 2014 and 2018 by the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association. Seth has more than 23 years of experience in the golf and turf industries and has traveled the world seeking great stories. He is editor-in-chief of Landscape Management, Golfdom and Athletic Turf magazines. Jones can be reached at

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