Thanks, Mezzaluna. I had a feeling that was going to be the answer. I thought I would finish off the thread with instructions regarding par-cooking rutabags in case any other old ladies who are afraid of machetes are looking to use them, but alas I was unable to discover anything on the internet about how long one might par-cook a rutabaga (especially since all the associated instructions involved cutting it up FIRST), so I consulted my extremely dilapidated copy of The Joy of Cooking, which suggests boiling for half an hour (I don't have a microwave). So I will try that. It will be about three months before I do it though, because the current batch of stew is to be finished and frozen tomorrow. I will let you know how it turns out if I can remember by then, or if not I guess someone could email me if they really wanted to know.
However, in my searching, I found this. Since there doesn't seem to be lot of rutabaga humor, I thought I'd pass it on. Not allowed to post links yet, but you can google The Advanced Rutabaga Studies Institute.
I did know about the wax. My mother tried using a potato peeler once soon after they came out, but it proved not to be a good solution, and she went back to her trusty paring knife.