How the Borg took over my yard, and why I refuse to be assimilated

My yard speaks to me.

As I tramp atop the tangles of dandelions, the clumps of weeds, the patches of brown earth and even the occasional spread of grass, I hear voices.

Yard with Borg dandelions
The Borg dandelions are relentless. Even Picard has joined the collective.

“Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.”

Those voices grow louder as I grasp the long wooden handle of a dandelion digger and stab the forked metal blades into the soil. A dandelion root offers a faint pop as it gives way.

Then the voices return, stronger this time.

“Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.”

I redouble my determination. I poke and pry with fury. Dandelion after dandelion flies into a 30-gallon trash can. I dig until blisters form on my hands. And yet, the more I dig, the more dandelions seem to pop up before me, surrounding me, threatening me.

“Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.”

In my small corner of the galaxy, dandelions (in the form of the Borg) have taken over my yard.

The Borg, for those of you who haven’t brushed up on your “Star Trek,” are perhaps the perfect alien nemeses ever created. Part humanoid, part robot, they are all but unstoppable. They roam the galaxy, attacking at will, capturing life forms and assimilating them into a collective. Each Borg works independently but is connected to a collective mind. The Borg have the strength of a robot, the force of an army and only one real goal: to capture even more beings to transform into even more Borg.

“Resistance is futile,” they intone to their adversaries. “You will be assimilated.”

To truly understand, you must see them in action. So we interrupt this essay to bring you a short video clip.

Family values

Dandelions spoke to my father, too. They must have. Each year, he attacked them with unflagging purpose. He sprayed and mowed, sprayed and dug, fertilized and sprayed, muttered and then sprayed some more.

Dandelions were his scourge, his nemesis, his Borg. Each spring, he’d complain about the brown patches where the dog peed in the yard. He’d complain about the brown spot near the backdoor where grass refused to grow, largely because my brother, friends and I used it for home plate. And each spring he cursed the dandelions.

I grew up understanding that dandelions were a mark of shame, a symbol of sloth, a billboard proclaiming failure of a homeowner to care about neighbors, country, heritage and the pride embodied in unfettered bluegrass.

I never inherited my father’s zeal to create the perfect lawn. I even tried to make a truce with the dandelions. We could coexist. They could have part of the yard. Heck, they could have the backyard. I’d give it to them. I didn’t have time to fight or the desire to spew lethal chemicals.

The dandelions knew. They knew. And they would not compromise.

They wanted every last inch of the yard, and they let me know it. They started speaking to me, always in passive voice, just like the Borg:

“Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.”

A Borg assault

The dandelions took over the backyard. They spread up the hill along the sides of the house. They sprouted in the flower beds. They burst from the crevices of a stone wall. They flourished in cracks in the sidewalk.

And then they laid claim to the front lawn.

That was where I drew the line and went on the attack. If I had a phaser like Captain Picard’s or a stream of photon torpedoes like the starship Enterprise’s, I might have a chance. I don’t. All I have is a well-worn three-foot-long dandelion digger I bought at a garage sale. Actually I have two of them. I used one so much that I finally bent the steel prongs while digging in dry ground.

The Borg don’t laugh, but I can sense them chuckling.

“Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.”

I dig and prod and dig, filling my trash can ever higher. For a few hours, the lawn resembles a lawn: OK, so it still doesn’t have as much grass as a real lawn should have, but it does have green stuff that I accept as grass. I comfort myself with the words my mother spoke to my father each spring and summer, words that rang of blasphemy in his ears: Well, at least it’s green.

If only it would stay that way. If only it would stay quiet.

It doesn’t, of course.

A day after my armed assault with a dandelion sword, yellow flowers pop out again. And then the dozens of yellow heads morph into hoary puff balls, which explode into the wind and float downward like a million tiny Borg paratroopers.

And the aural assault begins anew.

“Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.”

For those of you who sense melodrama, consider a recent article from Scientific American. That article talks about the increasing resistance that weeds have to herbicides. It uses words like “monster” and “machine” to describe these superweeds, whose stems become like steel shafts and have the potential to render farm equipment useless.

Thankfully, I don’t have to battle superweeds. I have only dandelions to worry about.

Oh, and the Borg.

I am hopelessly outmatched. And yet I refuse to give up. I dig. I curse. I listen to the unrelenting voices.

I may yet become Borg. But I will go down fighting.

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  1. I love it when you remember stuff from so long ago. By the way we have spots in the yard again and Dad is complaining about that. He also doesn’t like the crab grass and again I tell him – “At least it’s green”!!!!!!!!!

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