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Lawnmower Man refers to an image of a Canadian man mowing his lawn while a tornado is in the distance. The casualness of the man with the inclement weather so close behind him caused the photo to go viral and led to photoshops of the picture.


On June 3rd, 2017, a tornado went through Three Hills, Canada, a town in Alberta. While it was happening, Canadian man Theunis Wessels decided to mow his lawn. His wife took a picture of him casually mowing his lawn and posted it on Facebook that evening.[1] The photo quickly went viral, gaining over 4,000 shares (shown below).


The following day, the photo was covered by CBC News,[2] where Wessels was interviewed and commented that while the tornado looks threatening in the photo, it was much farther away than it appeared and that he was "keeping an eye on it." That quote became a popular joke associated with the picture. On Tumblr, a screenshot of CBC News' tweeted headline featuring the quote gained over 124,000 notes.[3] In the comments shared with the post, user mortalityplays wrote "Every local headline I see out of canada is like this or someone punching a bear in the face. Are you guys okay?", to which user raisehelia responded "we're keeping an eye on things." On Twitter, user @ningiou[4] posted the picture and captioned it "stopping thru an important event of the main story to do sidequests," gaining over 27,000 retweets and 52,000 likes.

The photo continued to spread on Reddit and Neogaf. On the former, a photoshop of the image combined with the movie poster for the film Lawnmower Man was posted to /r/funny,[5] gaining over 4,000 notes (shown below, left). On Neogaf, a thread about the story was soon filled with users photoshopping Wessels into different scenarios, such as War of the Worlds (shown below, right).

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