Mowing the lawn against the breathtaking backdrop of a raging tornado is a dirty (and seemingly, like, really dangerous?!?!) job, but someone’s gotta do it. Enter Alberta resident Theunis Wessels, a mower-operating individual who didn’t let a little vortex of violent winds fuck up his yard duties.
A photo appearing to show Theunis calmly operating a mower as a tornado does its thing nearby has, of course, gone quite viral since first popping up on Facebook. Chatting with CTV News Sunday, Theunis explained what the hell he was thinking. “We’re originally from South Africa and this is the first time we’ve ever seen a tornado,” he said. “I was watching all the time to see what it was going to do.”
Theunis’ wife Cecilia snapped photos after being alerted that her husband was hanging out in the general vicinity of a tornado Friday. Despite a weather warning having been issued for parts of Kneehill County at the time, Theunis claimed he was still able to get his yard properly coifed. The lawn, he told CTV News, “looks nice.”
Naturally, this shit is currently in the process of being memed into oblivion:
Me ignoring my problems on a monday morning except the mower is 32 oz of grade-A caffeine and im at a desk and the tornado is heart disease pic.twitter.com/j1OXX0UnR7
But is tornado-assisted lawn maintenance actually, you know, safe? Stormchaser Dave Hall penned an op-ed for the Guardian following the viral lawnmower man photo, judging the distance of the tornado in question as “at least half a mile” from the residence. Though Theunis, Hall said, was likely justified in having confidence in his own safety at the time the photo was taken, storm events in “urban environments” would make for a far riskier endeavor.
“But ultimately, I find, the ideal tornado is Theunis Wessels’ photogenic funnel snaking harmlessly over the prairie,” Hall said. “From that distance you can take in all the wondrous structure of the entire mesocyclone.”