It all begins innocently enough. Everybody seems to be into a little grass, so what's the harm? What you do in your own yard is your own business, isn't it? And besides, if it doesn't hurt anybody else, why should anybody else care what you do on your own turf?

Alas, what starts out as just a casual experiment becomes a mind-bending experience. It could happen to anyone. Grass freaks come from all walks of life, but their stories have a sad similarity to them.

They all think they can keep their grass habit under control, but soon the grass is controlling them. Their lives begin to revolve around their addiction. They're either cutting grass or rolling it or talking about how to get a better grade of it.

They even develop the same taste in music: the heavy metal roar of mowers and trimmers and edgers.

They claim that getting high on grass is harmless but they do not realize what insidious damage they are wreaking upon themselves. The first thing affected is their memory. They forget that lawns should be happy places where people can play croquet and chase butterflies and run through sprinklers.

This loss of memory produces irrational behavior: They can't bear for anyone to come near their precious grass. They scream at young children and old folks and even authority figures in Postal Service uniforms who innocently step on the turf. Some become so paranoid that they will mow you down if you try to get near them.

Grass becomes more important than people. Relationships go to pot. The grass freaks don't care. As their grass grows greener, their outlook grows meaner. They become outcasts. Their reputations are known throughout the neighborhood. Bold children taunt them by running across their lawns. Dog owners urge their pets to do worse.

Before long, ordinary grass is not enough for the freaks. They begin to use chemicals to enhance the effect. The grass is always greener on the other side of the sprayer. Before they know it, they are chemically dependent. And once they're on the hard stuff, it's really tough to get them off.

It is hard to be sympathetic to these hard-core cases. After all, they have sown their own seeds. My feeling is that they should be weeded out of the neighbor as soon as possible. But that is easier said then done. The forces of commerce are against it. Let's face it: Grass is big business. There are a lot of greenbacks to be made in the green-lawn jungle.

Besides, the freaks are willingly buying a dream. They really think they can achieve that perfect patch of grass that will put them on a higher plain of existence. I may think that's a bunch of fertilizer, but who's going to listen to me? The only thing I can do is be forewarned by the sad stories of those around me and keep myself from being lured down the same garden path.

That's why grass is not high on my list of priorities and never will be. Sure, my lawn isn't perfect but as least I can see it clearly for what it really is. I've got my share of rough patches but I get through them without any chemical help.

And it's not all bad. I've also got patches of tiny wildflowers and I've got all my senses about me to smell them. The only buzz I get in my back yard is the buzz of the honey bee. Maybe I am the biggest square on the block, but that's good enough for me. I just accept my lot in life the way it is. Let the fanatics seek the peak experience of having the best grass. I don't need it -- or them. Frankly, I think they're all a bunch of sods.

Katy Parisi's lawn is in McLean.