• Ann Lineberger
  • Column: Parody Play: Local Man Discovers RoundUp Better at Killing Humans than Weeds
Column: Parody Play: Local Man Discovers RoundUp Better at Killing Humans than Weeds
Written by
Ann Lineberger
September 2019
Written by
Ann Lineberger
September 2019

Wilton, CT.  Despite Roundups’ alleged cancer-causing ingredient, Dan Schnitzel discovered that no amount of the popular herbicide was enough to fell the Hairy Jointgrass and Glossy Buckthorn that grew on his property this summer. 

“It’s been a banner year for weeds,” said Woodstock Nature Center Director Benet Grew. “The Quackgrass and Jimsome weeds have been especially invasive.” 

Dan and his wife Madge returned home in late August from vacation to discover that the weeds that grow along the road had reached epic proportions. Additionally troublesome was the growth of a vine commonly known as Devil’s Hair that created a course, seemingly impenetrable netting over them.

“This year’s Devil’s Hair is straight out of Sleeping Beauty,” said Broken Arrow Nursery owner Jen Steckle. “It’s creating a stranglehold on wanted and unwanted plants.”

Dan had to do something. He and Madge were on deck to host the upcoming Labor Day Weekend Block Party on Monday. Dan debated hiring a few day laborers to help tackle the thicket of weeds but decided against it after visiting Henry’s Hardware. An employee wearing a name badge that read “Caramelo” told Dan that two to four bottles of RoundUp Extended Release Max would do the trick. 

Dan drove home hopeful, but a bit weary, too. In route from the hardware store, there was an advertisement seeking plaintiffs in an upcoming suit against Monsanto, the maker of RoundUp.

“Did you use RoundUp three times a week for three months in a row?” the voice actor asked. …”Do you have non-Hodgkin's lymphoma?” The active ingredient in RoundUp called glyphosate allegedly leads to the development of cancer in humans. It also disrupts the micros in the intestines of rats. 

At a stoplight, Dan examined the containers of RoundUp on his passenger seat. There is no warning label on them. 

Dan had read about the legal victory for Dewayne Johnson against Monsanto.  He was a school district's "Integrated Pest Manager" in California, who was soaked to the skin with the product when a sprayer broke. Johnson developed lesions and was diagnosed with cancer.  Monsanto is appealing the seventy-eight million-dollar ruling. Californian Edwin Hardeman had used the product in his yard for twenty-six years and developed non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. He was awarded five million dollars. There have been other cases, too.

“How is it possible that there are no warning labels on the bottles?” Dan perplexed. 

Once home, Dan donned a pair of thick, leather workmen’s gloves to avoid direct exposure to the active chemical, and got to work. Five returns to Henry’s Hardware and nineteen containers of RoundUp later, the unwanted plants were browned in spots but still stood strong.

"Unless you cut that shit out, no one's going to come to your block party on Monday " shouted Dan’s neighbor Bruce Farrell over their shared fence.  Dan was applying the last of the ninetieth container. “There’s a toxic haze over your yard.” 

Dan looked at the tower of weeds in front of him. He looked at the bottle in his hand. He was so frustrated. How could RoundUp kill people, but not weeds? he wondered.

Feeling like Ty Webb in Caddyshack chasing a pesky gopher, Dan contemplated going back to Henry’s for more containers. But then he remembered Madge's alarm when she realized that he had spent $740.62, plus tax on RoundUp to date. Day laborers to do the job would have cost a fourth of that. 

“I called the Department of Public Works on you,” shouted Bruce still hiding behind the fence. “I sighted obstruction to sightlines from the road caused by your weeds. They're coming to cut them down on Sunday.”

At press time, two men and a Tough Cut Brush Mower had been dispensed from the Department of Public Works to remove the weeds in front of the Schnitzel's house. 

Dan thanked them in his driveway. 

“Happy to help,” said municipal employee Barry Glassman. “The town is overrun with weeds this season due to the rainy spring.”

“Just don’t go out and buy that RoundUp herbicide to try to tackle the problem next summer,” Barry added. “That stuff will kill you.”



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