As battles allegedly rage across the country regarding the potentially helpful (durability, low-maintenance, low-cost, rapid drying) and deleterious (lead trap, offgassing, poor foot feel) effects of fake grass–otherwise known as AstroTurf–the Gay Uncle would like to weigh in with a story of some folks he know in L.A. In an effort to “go environmental” this family with two young kids decided to tear up their lawn and carpet the area with artificial sod. Why would they do something like this? Because grass is evil. It requires tons of water (something southern California decidedly lacks, since it’s located IN A DESERT.) It takes all sorts of carbon-fueled machinery to keep it up (sprinkler pumps, lawn mowers, leaf blowers, lawn-boys) making its net impact on the environment a problematically negative one. And its a “monoculture”, which means that it’s…all one thing, crowding out diversity and other helpful species. “So…,” Gunc can hear you asking with baited breath. “What the fuck happened to this family?” Well, after they dug up their lawn, covered the soil to some depth with a shredded and bouncy recycled tire slurry, and laid down their gorgeous permanently green carpet, they made an important discovery: When left to sit out in the blazing California sun, AstroTurf heats up like the flaming lava rocks of Hell. Why they didn’t ask about–or weren’t told about–this issue before hand, the G.U. is not sure. Perhaps they’re bad parents. Perhaps they didn’t read the fine print. Perhaps their mental processing capacities were short-circuited by all the good they felt they were doing for the world. But when their kids started coming into the house with melted sneakers and second degree burns on their feet, they felt they had to remediate. What did they do? What any good CA family would do. They added a sprinkler system that would mist the fake grass and cool it down, and then they built a giant awning over their entire yard to shield it from the sun. Now, the kids can play out front again. Problem solved.