The Bumpuses.

Maybe you read John Wallace’s comment yesterday about his awful neighbors finally moving out. He and his wife sat on the porch for the load-out, listening to a custom mix of farewell music. He didn’t tell you he also took pictures:

Ha ha. The girl is 17 and pregnant. Pray for her baby.

We’ve all lived in places like this, haven’t we? Or rather, we’ve all had neighbors like this. It’s part of the motivating force that gets you to finally stop screwing around, pull up your socks, dress for success and move the hell out of these places. Alternate strategy: Start a campaign of merciless pressure to get them to move out. Whatever works.

I had a guy who lived behind me in Fort Wayne, on the Dayton Avenue side. David Hall. His sole claim to fame was that he ran for city council one year, put up to the job by some prankster pissed off at the incumbent, whose name was Dede Hall. He — the prankster, I have to think — paid for a few signs in the same colors as Dede’s, and posted them here and there. Dede had nothing to worry about, but as usual, he got a few votes from those who left their reading glasses in the car. Those people, I can assure you, didn’t live nearby.

Here’s the difference between those people and you: They fight outdoors. When Kate was a toddler, I was putting her into her car seat when David’s baby mama stormed out the front door, child in her arms, pursued by David, and they proceeded to have a shoving match on the lawn. One night a few people got in an argument in the same spot. I know we drop occasional F-bombs here, but I also know some of you read this on filtered computers that can be tripped by too many of them. So for the fine Anglo-Saxon no-no word, we’ll substitute “fork.” This is how it went:

Fork you.

Fork you, you forkin’ forked-up forker.

Fork you.

I forkin’ hate your forked forkface. Just fork you.

Fork you.

And so on. One morning I came out for a bike ride and found a young man parked in front of my garage, blocking it. He was sound asleep, a drink in his hand, his other nestled in his pants for warmth. I knocked a few times, trying to wake him up, but all he did was shift a bit in his seat and turn his face the other way. I gave up and called the police, and when I returned from my ride, the car was being hitched to a tow truck and he was on his way to the lockup. It wasn’t David, but it was probably one of his pals.

He moved out, leaving his long-suffering mother behind. She was a nice woman. Things improved immediately.

Which seems as good a time as any to link to this mugshot I keep forgetting about: Kelly Gene Gibson of Fort Wayne, after his 48th arrest for huffing paint. I don’t know where he lives, but if it’s on Dayton Avenue, my former neighbors have my sympathies. Alan dug up this story on the city’s frequent flyers at the jail, and he was in there, too.

So, some bloggage:

Hank Stuever watches “Becoming Chaz,” the documentary about Cher’s daughter’s sex-reassignment surgery, and gets right to the good parts:

Cher looms distantly and mostly unseen, providing still more fertile OWN fodder — when mother-daughter issues become mother-son issues. When she at last makes herself available for a single, awkward interview, we are treated to the galling spectacle of a 66-year-old woman with that much cosmetic surgery describing her bewilderment at her son’s fixation on image, body and identity.

It’s weird when you see an obviously professional photographer shooting pictures on Saturday, and then see the piece he was shooting for — and one of the pictures — a few days later. And then I read the story, and find the mother of one of Kate’s friends quoted therein. No great shakes on the story, just one of those things.

She-who and He-who — it’s complicated.

A soft-spoken member of our community with a single link to the Gingrich clan says he values that relationship and doesn’t want to endanger it by saying anything publicly, but this line from his email yesterday is too good not to share:

When I read about him, I want to kill people, break things, blow up large animals, eat small ones alive, build meth labs, drink rotgut whiskey and smoke crack while Guns N’ Roses’ “Appetite for Destruction” plays at 11 in the background.

And the fact that U.S. news media do not respond in exactly the same way I do shows just how incredibly sick and fucked up this country is.

A quote like that is too good to go to waste. Happy Wednesday, all.

Posted at 9:43 am in Movies, Same ol' same ol' |

88 responses to “The Bumpuses.”

  1. Julie Robinson said on May 11, 2011 at 10:06 am

    When we lived on such a street, we were comforted that our neighbors always went outside the neighborhood to commit their crimes, save for the domestic disturbances. There were lots of those forking arguments and that was just what we could hear. It was a jubilant day when we moved out even though it took two more years to sell the house at a loss. Here’s hoping for better luck with the next batch, John.

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  2. coozledad said on May 11, 2011 at 10:15 am

    The guy with the cigarette looks like he’s left a trail of shallow graves, dug bare-handed by the squat guy to the left, because they spent the shovel money on a case of Hoffenreffer.
    If that young woman was doing her Haka war dance that close to me, I’d be experiencing the first tremors of a panic attack.

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  3. MarkH said on May 11, 2011 at 10:18 am

    Can’t remember when I may have had neighbors that, uh, disagreeable. Pretty brave of John to be taking photos of that group, given the potential reaction on their faces. In ten years that girl will weigh 300 pounds.

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  4. 4dbirds said on May 11, 2011 at 10:24 am

    lol at that photo. Currently the neighbors on both sides of us are muslims. Never a peep from them.

    I’m confused by the paint sniffing guy. Why is he being carted to jail? Why is the county paying for this? Wife should give him his 30 day notice (to satisfy eviction law) and send him packing. Perhaps I’m seeing this in the wrong light and someone can set me straight. I feel the same way about the drunks and drug abusers in the other link. Why are they in jail? I can certainly understand how the fines, court and class costs are ridiculous. My then 14 year old son and his friend took a can of beer out of the friend’s fridge and walked over to a park with the unopened can of beer. Before they got there, they were stopped by the county police and charged. We had to pay for court costs, a fine, gave up our weekends driving him to community service for a couple of months and had to pay $500.00 for an alcohol awareness class for him. Money making racket indeed.

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  5. Judybusy said on May 11, 2011 at 10:31 am

    Ugh. Bad neighbors. My last was from ’93 to’95, when I lived in a duplex. The family next door routinely yelled at the kids (but never enough for me to call child protection)and the dad got the nickname The Puker. *Every* morning at 6:00,right under our bedroom window, he’d empty his stomach contents before firing up his crap bike to ride off to work. After a while, you’d think the guy would learn to cut back on the booze.

    Now my worst neighbor is an arrogant surgeon who moved here from Virginia for a fellowship, not realizing that this is not the shi-shi part of town. He tried to pull me into his sad marriage drama, which I politely declined. He is universally disliked by all on the block, but he is very quiet and easily avoided.(His wife and children have returned to VA.) The rest of my neighbors are wonderful people, and it’s like a very small town on our block. Complete with spiteful gossip!

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  6. Mark P. said on May 11, 2011 at 10:33 am

    Ha! I had one of them for a roommate when I was in graduate school. He put a wrecked car in the driveway and pulled the engine, after draining the oil directly onto the pavement. And then, when he graduated and moved away, he left the wreck in the drive. He would cook up a pot of chili every weekend to eat during the week. He left half of it on the stove. He was an engineer, but he could never figure out that closing the door to my bedroom would only make my bedroom cold, but not make his bedroom warmer, because the thermostat was … oh, never mind. At least he never had fights at home.

    About the photo shoot … “OK, Marvin, put down the wide-angle lens. Slowly now, slowly.”

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  7. ET said on May 11, 2011 at 10:49 am

    That picture rivals my favorite paint huffing mugshot from the Smoking Gun:

    It is funny (but also very sad) when your particular addiction leaves such visible signs on your skin. Not sure that it is better to be an alcoholic, but it is gentler on the complexion.

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  8. Peter said on May 11, 2011 at 10:56 am

    Oh, that Fort Wayne story would have been NY worthy if they had said “paint huffing husband hauled to hoosegow”.

    When I lived in Rogers Park, there was a pack of mountain folk that lived across the alley. Their sole source of income was delivering the morning Tribunes, and every morning between 3 and 4 AM they would argue over who was gonna deliver them papers today. It was a good day if they only screamed at each other; there were a few times when the cops were called to break up the fight.

    About that time there was a rash of early morning break-ins. Being a good Republican, I called the cops and suggested they check out the Joads. I was right. But the Tribune still kept them on to deliver papers.

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  9. Heather said on May 11, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Love those bad neighbor stories, although they’re funnier after the fact. Years ago I moved into an apartment in the Humboldt Park area of Chicago, which still can be dicey today. I should have known I’d made a mistake when one of my neighbors got into a loud argument outside with the landlady on the day I moved in. Downstairs lived a family with a pudgy, mean-looking kid my then-boyfriend and I immediately nicknamed “Pugsley.” He’d pull crap like throwing snow and ice at me from his balcony, startle me as I was coming in late at night, etc, but I’d had it when I found both tires on my bike slashed in the basement. I got a tiny bit of revenge on the day I moved out, when he was locked out and asked me if I could let him in to the building. I said, “Sorry, I don’t live here anymore,” and zoomed off in my car. He’s probably in jail now.

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  10. prospero said on May 11, 2011 at 11:00 am

    Dayum. Like living next door to Palins. Like they wuz raised by wolves. Pardon the slander to wolves.

    We had a neighbor once in a Pulte subdivision that shot our dog with a pellet gun. My dad was incensed, angriest I ever saw him. He went straight to the ahole’s front door, which the fool answered with weapon in hand behind a locked storm door. When he opened the door my dad grabbed the rifle and broke it in half over his knee like Bo Jackson breaking a bat. My brother and I just laughed our asses off.

    I’d guess Warren Zevon had neighbors like that at some point. When I first moved into my condo, we frequently heard a child upstairs sobbing hysterically, with what sounded like utter desparation. Sure sounded to us like child abuse was a distinct possibility. The neighbor was a County Sheriff’s Deputy well known for his bad behavior in uniform. Frightening situation. We made an appointment with the sheriff and expressed our concerns, but it was pretty scary expecting retaliation from the psycho.

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  11. LAMary said on May 11, 2011 at 11:03 am

    I lived on the second floor of a small apartment building in Denver and the woman on floor three and the guy on floor one were dating or something. It was a relationship. The guy lived by collecting disability and selling reefer. They had fights regularly in one or the other’s apartment accompanied by the crying of the woman’s child from an earlier relationship. The kid was named Yvette, pronounced Yuh-vet. One early evening I heard them fighting upstairs, heard a drawer of silverware fall, a door slam, running footsteps on the stairs. Then someone was banging on my door. It was the guy, having been stabbed in the gut with a steak knife. I called 911 and he lived and I never saw the woman again.

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  12. Deborah said on May 11, 2011 at 11:03 am

    Bad neighbors, I’ve had a lifetime of them. One seven year period of my life I had some doozies: when I was married to my ex we lived in a part of St. Louis that was in the process of gentrifying, very early in the process. There were prostitutes around the corner, the woman across the street shot and killed her husband in self defense, the girl next door got shot in the back of the foot and no one knew where the bullet came from, 2 and 3 year olds played with old tires in the alley at midnight. Calling the cops was almost a daily/nightly event in our household. That neighborhood is peaceful now, I hear from former neighbors who stuck it out.

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  13. Catherine said on May 11, 2011 at 11:14 am

    There was a skinny kid across the street who we nicknamed the Unabomber. Probably Columbine Kid would have been more accurate. He roamed the neighborhood in a black trench coat (keep in mind this is California), stopping to sit on the curb and puke in the gutter. He behaved oddly sexually toward his younger sister. He knocked up his girlfriend at 17. The icing on that particular cake was when the police, sheriff and SWAT teams screamed up the house after he threatened to bomb his high school (just around the corner). Explosives were found when they searched the home, which his father conveniently said were his, and that he was studying to become a *pyrotechnics engineer*. Yeah, nice try, but Dad hasn’t worked a day since we moved here 15 years ago. Eventually the kid got off with probation. Last time I saw him he weighed about 250. Lithium’ll do that to ya.

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  14. Dorothy said on May 11, 2011 at 11:23 am

    Current neighbor-drama where we live: Next-Door guy lent his lawn roller to Across-The-Street guy last week, which broke when he used it. A-T-S guy returned it (in multiple pieces) to N-D guy’s wife, didn’t apologize for breaking it and didn’t mention replacing it for them. A-T-S is head of the Business Department at the local Christian college so this is astonishing to me, since I thought he’d be blasted with lightening on the spot for committing such a sin. My husband just laughs at me when I express that reaction. Now I’m just waiting to find out if he does the right thing and reimburses N-D guy for the cost of a new lawn roller.

    Doesn’t this sound all Ozzie & Harriet-ish? I’m almost embarrassed to share this tidbit compared to these other hair-raising tomes. We had more good neighbors over the years than bad ones, but the bad ones are the ones who give you memorable stories, that’s for sure.

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  15. 4dbirds said on May 11, 2011 at 11:38 am

    Dorothy, having been in a similar situation once, was the lawn roller new when it was borrowed? Does the A-T-S guy have any or all liability if the roller was a POS? And what is a lawn roller?

    In case anyone wonders if I’m a bad neighbor because I don’t know what a lawn roller is, we have a couple of guys come over and cut our gass every other week. 🙂

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  16. paddyo' said on May 11, 2011 at 11:38 am

    I’d nominate the pic of the Bumpuses for the NYT’s resurrected Sunday Magazine photo feature, “What They Were Thinking” . . .

    And Mark P. @ #6, I was thinking exactly the same thing about that semi-fisheyed photographer. Dude is entirely too in love with his 10-20 mm lens . . .

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  17. Bob (not Greene) said on May 11, 2011 at 11:42 am

    The guy with the white T-shirt. They all have that look. Losers. Odd-jobbers looking for just enough money to make their next score. Nice people try to help, then get fed up. And then this happens.

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  18. 4dbirds said on May 11, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Bristol fesses up.

    Now let me defend her. I inherited a double chin from my mother’s side. I hated it and no matter how thin or fit I was, I could never get rid of it. I’d never allow anyone to take a profile picture of me. Then one day I realized that I was an adult and had a couple of nickles in the bank and decided to take care of it. I went to a plastic surgeon and had the damn thing lipo-ed out. Never regretted it. If that makes me vain and shallow, so be it. Just saying I understand.

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  19. Jen said on May 11, 2011 at 11:50 am

    Wow, I’m glad our street/neighborhood is quiet, albeit somewhat white trash. The worst thing we have near our house is the people across the street, who are always burning stuff (trash?) in a fire pit behind their house. The very pregnant “lady” of the house also likes to work out in the yard in yoga pants and a bikini top, too. Classy. (Thankfully, today she’s wearing a T-shirt.) Oh, and our next-door-neighbor got a window shot with a BB gun. And several people nearby proudly fly Confederate flags (which makes me want to knock on their doors and say, “You know we’re firmly in northern territory up here in northeast Indiana, right? But I’m afraid they’d shoot me). And half the arrests in the newspaper are from within a couple miles of my house. But, really, it’s not too bad. I never feel unsafe, even though I get home from work between midnight at 1 a.m., and I don’t really worry about much criminal mischief because the hoodlums go to the richer side of town to cause trouble.

    The house where I grew up was in a similar neighborhood (it’s only about a mile from my house, actually), but we did have people who lived two doors down from us who were … interesting. They had nasty, scary dogs that often got out and roamed the neighborhood, and there were lots of people living there, but since they weren’t right next door we didn’t have to worry too much about it. Oh, and we heard gunshots once. But it was probably just some hick firing his gun in the air. That’s what my parents told me the next day, anyway.

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  20. Judybusy said on May 11, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    I also have several good neighbor stories, mostly from our next-door neighbor.We have keys to each others’ homes and have been known to go in to grab whatever we’re low on. One evening, her oven broke and she baked a roast while we were out. We’ve had to drive her back to work because she’s forgotten she’d driven her car, and didn’t want to take the bus back. The cake-taker: a call this January at 6:30 a.m. to help get her unstuck. She’d driven to the nearby cemetary to walk her dog and got stuck. After I got some breakfast and dried my hair, myself and another neighbor went to get her out.

    We absolutely adore this woman, and just this morning I gave her a ride to work as I saw her standing at the bus stop. Her redeeming features: she is smart, gracious, generous, and has a beautiful fenced yard which we can throw our dog into anytime.

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  21. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 11, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    There are always exceptions, but I can say for our area, public intoxication/disorderly is never a first encounter arrest. The police or sheriff’s deputies will ask the person if they have a ride home, tell them to leave the public area, offer to call a cab or ambulance, etc.; it’s if you’re still there on the next lap, or if you get hostile and/or threatening you get put in the cruiser and taken to the justice center aka the jail.

    And oft-times the arresting officer knows that the only way to get this person to an ER for an assessment and possible referral to detox is if they arrest, and then field review (or get quick turn around at jail intake) to reroute to the ER. If you just say “do you need medical assistance?” They’re gonna say “no.” So an arrest after repeated refusal or inability to go home is (in my experience) meant as a compassionate act.

    Once in a great while, it’s because a store owner or business employee wants said inebriate away from their shop/restaurant/location, but even then, the arrest is because there’s no movement away when requested by law enforcement, or they move to a new location where that clerk or hostess immediately calls in a complaint.

    For what it’s worth, anywho. You may ask: So why was the huffer in the one case taken directly from his home to jail? I’m guessing that the wife said he wouldn’t get help, had been doing this a long time, and she was angry/fed up/frightened . . . so again, the idea behind an arrest is that it allows you to take the poor painted schmuck to an ER “against his will” where medical personnel can find out if upon a bit of sobriety he wants to get further help. Given that the average is seven tries to get thru rehab, arrests are just part of the process in many people’s minds.

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  22. Jakash said on May 11, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    Aw, c’mon 4dbirds, if we can’t make fun of Bristol Palin, who do we have left? (Just joking — your comment was well-put and I appreciated it.) One thing visiting this blog has demonstrated to me, though, is that, among a group as large and diverse as this, there’s almost always somebody who can be offended by and/or offer a bit of perspective to the vitriol that we all like to express on occasion. In the last couple days we’ve had defenses of Steven Tyler and Bristol. Imagine! I shudder to contemplate that the next comment will be from somebody who’s She-Who’s college roommate (there have to be lots of those around) and that she’s actually a salt-of-the-Earth, sweet gal who we’d all be delighted to know…

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  23. Kim said on May 11, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    Hey, Deborah – your apartment wasn’t down the street from Talayna’s was it?

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  24. bobolink said on May 11, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    I had a neighbor who made us have ComEd move the electric wire because it crossed over her airspace.

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  25. 4dbirds said on May 11, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    Echidne on Chaz.

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  26. Joe Kobiela said on May 11, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Good topics today. Head to Wal-Mart if you would like to see more families like the one in the picture. Can any one look at that picture and honestly say planned parentood would have work?
    Big shout out to the Red Wings, watched game 6 last night and I don’t think I have seen two teams play so hard for so long, just super hockey!!
    Pilot Joe

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  27. Deborah said on May 11, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    Kim, you’re close. We lived in a house on Westminster, a couple of blocks east of Talanya’s. Did you hear the story of the woman who got raped in the ladies room there? The restrooms were in the basement of the building. They had good pizza but I never went again after hearing that.

    Edit: oops, make that a couple of blocks north not east. Ever since I moved to Chicago, I get my directions mixed up when I think back about St. Louis

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  28. Linda said on May 11, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    “When I read about him, I want to kill people, break things, blow up large animals, eat small ones alive, build meth labs, drink rotgut whiskey and smoke crack while Guns N’ Roses’ “Appetite for Destruction” plays at 11 in the background.

    Holey moley. Are you sure this isn’t “someone with a single tie,” but rather a member of Gingrich’s core constituency?

    BTW, the house 2 doors down seems to have different sets of these pictured neighbor-folks in it every 2 years or so. It’s like it’s possessed. The set from 3 years ago left their cat, and he has since become mine.

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  29. Larkspur said on May 11, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    My apartment neighborhood has changed a lot over the years. It used to be lots of older couples and singles, and now it’s way more populated now, lots of families, sometimes extended families. There’s very little street parking, more noise, and more trash.

    But you know what? There isn’t any more drama. The weirdest stuff happened back in the old days: a loud, destructive cop-party at a police officer’s apartment (big departmental investigation later); an elderly next-door neighbor who smoked a lot, hoarded everything, and subsisted on vodka and Swanson’s chicken pot pies (his place reeked), and refused any help from the county or the sympathetic landlord; the time that my upstairs neighbor got attacked by her crackhead son. I heard her scream, but because my other upstairs neighbor had been holding a series of group therapy sessions, including “re-birthing” ceremonies in which people screamed a lot, I didn’t react immediately. The neighbor was hurt but okay, but I hated that I hadn’t run to her right away, and I hated my other neighbor for running his stupid therapy business from his apartment. (I yelled at him and told him it had to stop immediately, and he moved out not long after. I guess he was shaken by the whole thing too.)

    So now we’re pretty crowded and it’s noisier, I have to dodge more kids, and you hear mostly Spanish. But there’s not much drama. It’s only the effects of ordinary, mostly decent people living in high density housing. I just figured out I’m lucky.

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  30. LAMary said on May 11, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    Over the years I’ve had a few neighbors who have a son or husband who drifts in and out of jail. You can always tell when they are out because your car radio gets stolen.

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  31. John G. Wallace said on May 11, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    My former “neighbors” had a remarkable sense of self-preservation. The dispute actually started when my kindly wife loaned them $40. They were already on my nerves because they would constantly come over asking to “borrow” grocery items – Not a stick of butter, no, a pound. Not a cup of sugar, a bag. After a while I realized they were using us as a surrogate grocery store. I can see being short an egg and wanting to make something that uses one – short a dozen? Go to the store or make something else.

    The junk cars, the constant revving of the engine without an exhaust, the smoking of many substances on the lawn, that all irked me. But I was determined to get the $40 back. It started nicely, never got past “I’ll give it to you next week.” So one day the mother, who rarely wore anything but a nightgown all day, and the daughter show up and rope my wife into their crisis. The daughter thought she was pregnant, and the mother and daughter decided the best way to tell the husband – girl’s father would be to buy a pregnany test and leave it on the kitchen counter with the results. They give my wife $20 (normally I think people like that just shoplift the test) and my wife returns and starts the “ha ha, ginny’s pregnant, I have to go buy her a pregancy test,” discussion. All I needed to know was they gave her $20. I pretty much demanded my wife hand me the $20. She was mad at me, so she told me I could have the $20 but I had to go tell them I took it from her.
    So I did, informing them that I have the $20 and now they just owe us another $20. no yelling from me, no drama, I just walk out and the entire clan spills onto the lawn shouting and cursing. The mother, who has broken away from the sofa’s gravity well charges me as I stand on my side of the property line. I was amazed she skidded to a stop 3 inches from my face but in her yard. they call the police and report I walked in, grabbed $20 from them, and ran off with it. As they are doing this the husband -the only one with a job in the house -comes home, they tell him the same insane story. I tell him it’s BS and to ask them why they gave my wife the $20, they do, and the grandpa to be could care less about that, he wants the $20 back.

    It became a war of attrition – they called code enforcement on my son’s 30 inch deep wading pool for not having a fence – code enforcement noted anything under 36 inches and non permanent is OK. They called on my second car which was not registered but was never an eyesore, then to cover their tracks they also called about another neighbor’s Classic Mercedes S class that he is restoring. Code enforcement cleared our cars and then wrote them up for both cars pictured, a broken front window (the girl’s last boyfriend bricked the window the week we moved in) and a makeshift fire pit i.e. bonfires on their patio cement.

    The car revving and gansta rap & country music assault only gets worse. My landlord uses the same rental agent, she told him she would be pissed if we don’t renew because of them, and discovers they pay by the week, although not every week.

    When this whole thing kicked off, I told them to take the “loss” come up with the other $20, and figure out where the grocery store is, vowing “I never lose at neighbor war.” We’d been very good to them in the past, giving them rides, jump starts, removing viruses from their computers, I even gave them an old computer I rebuilt – they had the nerve to complain it was too slow and I should have given them more RAM.

    The pictures started because they played hide and seek with code enforcement. On weekdays between 8 and 5 they hid the junkers a few blocks away -not easy when they had to push the jeep. After business hours the cars returned to the lawn. I started keeping a log and they told me, “it’s illegal to take our picture.” nope, if I can see something from my property or public property it’s fair game – just like the sheriff told them. So the girl decides me taking her picture is “making child porn,” again, nope according to the cops. I was tired of having the cops here because I didn’t want to be a nuisance.
    I think the final straw for them was when we got new furniture from my parents condo, we hired movers. The glee over next door was shattered when the movers started unloading stuff. Plus they had less than a week left to fix the front window or be fined $250 a day.
    When they left they helped themselves to the stove, a built in dishwasher, even took their lightbulbs. In theory the next neighbors could be worse, but I doubt that, and since they trashed the house, it should be vacant for a few months.

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  32. Kim said on May 11, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    The world gets ever smaller, Deborah. My husband had an apartment on Pershing just down the street from Talayna’s, and I refused to go in the basement restrooms. I can’t tell you the number of times he’d come home through the front door only to see the back end of one of his neighbors beating it through the busted-in back door, often with some small electronic they’d nicked. My husband would help the little kids in the neighborhood with fixing their bikes and they’d repay the kindness with providing the enterprising adults in their families with info they’d gleaned from small talk: the kind of car he drove, where he worked, if he ever traveled and so on. There were squatters in the building across the street, which we first found out about when we saw their wintertime fires to keep warm.

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  33. Deborah said on May 11, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    Kim, see my correction above, Westminster is north not east of Talanya’s. I lived in that neighborhood from 1980 until 87. It was pretty rough. The mayor of St. Louis at the time was one of our neighbors. The houses were great, big and interesting, and you could get them for a song. And so close to Forest Park too. It’s no wonder it was gentrified.

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  34. Julie Robinson said on May 11, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    Oh man, some good stories here! We also lived next to men who’d been emptied out of the state hospital and in theory always had the adult supervision they needed. They would come over in a panic that the house was on fire when they saw steam escaping the dishwasher. It ended when one guy was trying to fix some food and cut himself so badly my hubby had to take him to the ER. They lost their certification so they went back to running car repairs out of their garage. We never called authorities about what was growing in their garden.

    OT for the Little House fans, a quiz on your knowledge of all things Wilder:

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  35. Bitter Scribe said on May 11, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    What is it about white trash that makes them not want to wear shirts?

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  36. nancy said on May 11, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    John, you are a braver man than I. The pregnancy test story is hysterical.

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  37. JenC said on May 11, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    When my husband and I lived in an apartment many years ago, we shared a walkway with Tim – the friendliest neighbor I’ve ever had. He was always offering to help with our cars and the very minimal patio clean-up we did. After a few months, I suggested to my husband that Tim seemed to have a lot of visitors. Short-term visitors who came very late at night. Do you think he could be a drug dealer? Oh, no, not Tim, my husband said. He’s a great guy.
    A few months later, we were moving out after buying our first house. As we packed up our cleaning supplies, a man approached us, pulled a badge out of his shirt pocket and asked us to get behind the brick fence because “we’re going into your neighbor’s house.” Behind him were a dozen heavily armed, and some masked, officers with DEA emblazoned on their black bullet-proof vests.
    Tim wasn’t home, so there wasn’t much to see after that and we got into the UHaul and headed for the suburbs. All neighbor issues are now measured against Tim and the drug bust. Sure, the guys across the street play their music a little loud, but still no SWAT team, so they’re OK with us.

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  38. MarkH said on May 11, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    Nancy @36 said it. I’d have trouble sleeping at night knowing their reactionsafter taking a hard, yet appropriate, line with them. And still taking the photos.

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  39. Dorothy said on May 11, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    Oy John, I actually started to feel a little queasy reading that synopsis. I would have had a breakdown, I think, if I was their neighbor. Like Nancy said, you’re mighty brave! Just looking at the picture you snapped made me almost light-headed! (can you tell that confrontation makes me exceedingly nervous??)

    It’s my understanding that the lawn roller was in good working condition. The owner of it did tell my husband that he had been thinking about upgrading to a bigger one, so it couldn’t have been a huge loss to him if he was going to get another. Still, the unwritten rule of borrowing tools is “if you break it, you pay for it, or replace it.” All in the interest of being a good neighbor.

    I know next to nothing about lawn rollers but hope this helps, 4dbirds:

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  40. Hattie said on May 11, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    Where I live, everything happens outdoors and windows are always open. Luckily, our neighbors are a civilized bunch, aside from the constant comings and goings in large vehicles.

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  41. Dexter said on May 11, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    I have lived beside a rental house, three apartments, for exactly 30 years now. I have about ten really memorable stories, but I’ll be brief and share just the best one.
    I was working a shift that got me home at 11:50 PM every night that I didn’t stop for a few beers.
    I parked my car and there in the porch light I could see two women, one near-term pregnant, one holding a little baby, and a loudmouth tatted-up crazy bastard screaming at the pregnant one and slapping her , hard, and then he punched her in the gut.
    I saw all this clearly and entered the fray.
    Upon admonishing this fool, I was called a fat motherfucker and I was promised a slug from a .44 Magnum. That’s a big gun. At that I called the cops. The man had access to a pickup truck and he sped off. Before the cops got here, he came back.
    Well, I had told the cops that this guy had told me he was going to go get a .44 and come back and kill me.
    The cop pulled up in front of my house. I told him the guy had just returned. The cop knocked on the door of the house…we did not know where the “killer” was. He was not in the house, not in the truck…he was prowling somewhere…the cop was great. He found the bastard hiding in my neighbor’s bushes. The cop called me over to ID him…yessir. The cop had his winter boot square on the guy’s head, kind of holding
    it in the slightly frozen-crusty soil. Damn.
    So, here’s the aftermath: the cops found a .44 Magnum in the truck. That’s a Dirty Harry gun…I never found out who owned it or who would loan it to this crazy bastard, and I never saw the gun, the cop told me it was on the floor of the truck and it was loaded. I really don’t hate the cops anymore, since then.
    The man had just been paroled from Jackson State Prison in Michigan. His girlfriend was the pregnant one, and crazyboy had been in the joint for three years plus. He had not been informed of the pregnancy. Hello!
    The guy was drunk and terribly confused and mean…and dangerous as hell.
    In my mind, I never thought he was really going to kill me for my small part in this drama, and we’ll never know. But I always thought he, in his crazed mental state, may have shot his woman.
    This incident was , of course, a parole violation and he went straight back to Jackson . I never saw him again.
    All the details were revealed to me years later by a relative of one of the women. Until then, I didn’t know what the hell had really happened. Maybe next time I’ll tell yas about the rape in the front apartment, Thanksgiving eve, 1991. Have a nice day.

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  42. Little Bird said on May 11, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    Deborah, you forgot the folks who would throw their trash over our fence rather than lift the lid of the dumpster they were standing next to, the death threat I received at age ten – from the thirteen year old girl across the street, and the incident with the raccoon the guys from the Sunnoco were trying to shoot out of the tree right next to my bedroom window.

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  43. Dexter said on May 11, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    JohnC.Wallace: I know ever word is true. Those people always take the lightbulbs.

    This topic has me wondering what the aftermath was to the man in Detroit who was charged with arson about ten years ago when he torched the neighboring crack house. He was hailed as a hero by some, but damn…that was quite a bold move he made.

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  44. alex said on May 11, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    I’ll have to drop in later to share my freaky neighbor stories as I have other exigencies at the moment, but the two-bit skank homewrecker whose rich old husband died right after she married him, leaving her with the house next door, deserves telling. She’s rather cozy with the unemployed alcoholic grifter who’s been mooching off the widow with Alzheimer’s across the street. Anyway, gotta run, but I’ll be back yet today.

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  45. Mindy said on May 11, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    My new neighbors will be moving in tomorrow, a day I’ve been dreading since they bought the property across the road from me last August. The junior bacon McMansion they built wasn’t a surprise but what they did to the heavily wooded lot was a shock. It was nearly cleared to make way for a future carpet of plush green ChemLawn. Chainsaws buzzed throughout September and October, very painful to hear and see at the peak of autumn’s colors. There will be four daughters in residence. Two of them showed up at my door on Sunday with a box of baby bunnies. Did I want them? Uh, no. The only solace I have is a relative, an excellent builder in this area. He told me that if they had approached him with that idea for their lot he wouldn’t have accepted their job.

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  46. del said on May 11, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    Love the picture because of the the guy giving “the Look.” Cooz called it, guy’s left a trail of shallow graves. I’ve lived by that guy too. The unspoken subtext of every interaction is always the same, menace. Growing up near such types gave me certain sensibilities, it gave me physical courage, as well as an ability to recognize the “tell,” the twitch, or other physical cues that precede a punch. That’s because, as Nancy said, their fights spill outdoors into the neighborhood, and if you’re a kid nearby, as I was, you learn to deal with it. It’s especially nasty for kids.

    Where I grew up 3 teenage sisters had 5 kids between them, none of them were married, of course. I remember chopper motorcycles parked on their front lawn and a diapered baby running around the yard drinking from a baby bottle. The bottle was full of beer the older kids laughed later. One of those sisters is a grandma now. She asked me if she could get custody of her 2 year old grandchild on the basis that the child had picked up her tweezers and mimicked use of a roach clip while she babysat. Nancy’s right, pray for the baby.

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  47. Jeff Borden said on May 11, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    I’ve dealt with irritating neighbors –including one Nancy will remember quite well– but the scariest ones lived on the other side of a newly-constructed apartment building with thin walls.

    One morning I was awakened by a pounding on the wall. . .really loud, really hard. . .which turned out to be the girlfriend’s head being smashed repeatedly by the boyfriend. Groggily, I sat up and heard quite a bit of glass breaking, then screaming beyond the wall…to the effect of “Get out of the fucking bathroom, you whore” and “fuck you, bastard, I’ll kill you.” So, naive Jeff calls 911, because I figure I’m listening to a potential murder or a felonious assault at least.

    The cops arrive within 10 minutes or so and go to the door of the neighbor’s apartment. I heave a sigh of relief until about 15 minutes later, when the two coppers walk directly from the other apartment to mine, since I was the guy who called in the attack. Naturally, the woman had told the cops she had fallen out of bed or some such bullshit. . .the cops said she was bruised and bloody, but so was the guy. . .and they could do nothing. I was grateful the brawling couple had not watched the cops go directly to my apartment, lest they make the connection.

    This is roughly when I formulated my ongoing theory that we are all just one asshole away from a living hell, whether it’s a neighbor, a coworker, a boss. One weasel can throw a very large monkey wrench into your existence.

    They did move out in a few weeks, but not until the woman had torched the boyfriend’s Chevy Nova.

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  48. Jolene said on May 11, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    Man, this is quite a set of stories, especially given the demographics (well-educated, middle class) oh the readership. I’ve had some interesting encounters with crime, but, try as I might, I can’t come up w/ a crazy neighbor story. Didn’t realize I’d been leading such a dull life.

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  49. alex said on May 11, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    Jeff B, I once lived in a condo where the wifebeater next door made the dishes rattle in the kitchen cabinets every time her head smacked the wall. I called building security to report the problem; they told me it was a law enforcement issue and I needed to call the police. I couldn’t work up the nerve because I was afraid the guy would do the same thing to me that he was doing to her. He was a big mofo. His wife was a demure little thing who in the days following covered her face with scarves.

    He never did kick my ass, but he evidently did get wind of the fact that I’d called security. Every time I saw him after that he’s say, rather snidely, “So we quiet enough for ya lately?” I ran into him one time again years after they moved out and he asked, “So the new neighbors quiet enough for ya?”

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  50. Heather said on May 11, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    I also have to add, I loved John’s comment yesterday about finding another neighbor about to steal their TV and the neighbor’s response (“Oh, is this yours?”). Reminded me of happening upon a guy in the act of stealing a friend’s bicycle tire. He was all, “Oh gosh, gee whiz, sorry dude,” and handed it back. This was at Northwestern University and he was a student. Can’t get much more well-educated and middle-class than that.

    My really good crime story is about chasing a guy who tried to break into my place while I was home a few years ago, but he wasn’t a neighbor (thank God), so I guess that’ll have to wait for a more relevant post.

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  51. Scout said on May 11, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    JohnGW, that’s quite a harrowing tale you tell. Whew. You have more courage than I do; I wouldn’t put anything past the psycho trio in that picture, and then to learn there are more of ’em… Day-um. I could practically hear the banjo music the whole time I was reading your post. I cannot help but feel bad for the folks who are now getting this collection of hillbillies for new neighbors, but I’m glad they’re out of your life.

    We just had a house on our street vacate. On any given day there were 6-10 raggedy looking kids playing in the street in front of the house instead of in the football field sized back yard. The house itself is only about 1400 sq with three bedrooms. They must have stacked them like cordwood at night.

    Anyway, I took to going out of my way to enter the street from the opposite direction because I was terrified of hitting one of the little ruggies, none of whom seemed to understand that cars driving on the street was normal. They’d always glare as I passed, presumably pissed that they had to interrupt their fun to let me go by. I would smile and wave at them and they’d just give me a stony stare. Since the cast of wee characters seemed to constantly change, we think the adults, who kind of looked like John’s ex-neighbors, were earning their living being foster parents.

    They’ve been gone for about a month now, but the tattered venetian blinds, driveway stains and carport junk they left behind make it seem unlikely that the For Sale sign that now hangs in the yard will yield new neighbors any time soon. I’m just happy the house is at the opposite end of the street from ours.

    On the subject of Bristle P, the acorn definitely does not fall far from the tree. It’s not so much that she had the procedure, it’s the initial denial she had any work done, then when she realized that lie wasn’t flying, the story changed and now she only had the work done because her teeth didn’t line up. The whole family lies so reflexively there is nothing they say that doesn’t have to pass some sort of smell test. I think that is what the buzz is about, not that she had work done.

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  52. coozledad said on May 11, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    One of my high school friends rented part of a duplex and filled it full of La-z-boy recliners and an impressive record collection. I went to quite a few “parties” there, that mostly involved smoking pot, playing poker for change, and listening to obscure bands of the sixties at a comfortable volume. He moved to a new place after the neighboring couple got in an argument and the woman attempted to dissolve their common law marriage with a twelve gauge pump shotgun. My friend woke up when a shower of splinters exploded from the paneling twice just above the chair where he slept. He pulled the phone to the floor along with him and called the cops.

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  53. Jean S said on May 11, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    oh, there’s no trash like white trash…

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  54. Runner said on May 11, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    We have an unlicensed rental next door. It’s currently being rented by a crew of 3 or 4 guys (not sure how many). Not that long ago, there was an altercation between one of the guys and his girlfriend, and she took a baseball bat to his El Camino and shattered every single window, right on the street so we could all see it. Last Saturday, there was another angry girlfriend incident and she slashed 3 of the 4 tires on someone’s Camry.

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  55. nancy said on May 11, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    This may be the best comment thread ever.

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  56. del said on May 11, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    When my family moved to what is now Rochester Hills, Aileen Wuournos was 15 years old and was living in the woods about 440 yards from our house, according to wikipedia (and a biography of the serial killer).
    Luckily for me I was just 7 years old and lived on the other side of a two lane highway from those woods.

    Used facebook to look up some old neighbors. Caption to one of the facebook pics of a neighbor and 2 friends (I had access to it because security settings were not employed )was: “Now them is three good looking motherfuckers.”

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  57. 4dbirds said on May 11, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    Nancy, I was about to say the same thing about the comments. I keep coming back every few minutes to read the new ones. Scout, you do make a point about the lying. I had my chin sucked so I’d look better. Never thought to say it was for my teeth.

    I wish I had a horrible neighbor story but can’t really think of one. It must be the years in the army. Bad behavior wasn’t tolerated for long.

    Del, Aileen Wuornos had one effed up childhood.

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  58. paddyo' said on May 11, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    What the Blogmistress said . . . this stuff would make a great book. And on a day of superlatively ghastly tales from many ‘hoods, one word from Del @ #46 stitches them together: MENACE.

    I have been amazingly fortunate not to have had a bona fide Neighbor From Hell lo these many years. But as I have lived in half-a-duplex the past five years, I must be tempting fate. Plus, I’m just a couple of doors down from Denver’s East Colfax, a sometimes-gritty urban avenue that has largely — but not entirely — cleaned up its transients-and-hookers act. The Dollar Tree store across Colfax is great for bargains — everything’s a buck or less — but it does attract some folk who do their own oil changes, car clean-outs/re-loads and such right there in the parking lot.

    My original conjoined-neighbor was a fastidious 30-something gay guy. His rent-to-buy successor is less tidy but otherwise OK, eight months or so into his tenure. Fortunately, the walls are thicker than paper.

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  59. Judybusy said on May 11, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    This thread is tying in my work in a very weird way today. I’m working on a project tht involves reading child crisis reports. Some you can see were totally created by the parents’ non-existent or piss-poor parenting. Job security for this social worker as far as the eye can see. However, our Rebublican-controlled legislature is passing a ballot measure to let us all vote on a constitutional amendment to make same-sex marriage really illegal. That, and a new stadium for the Vikings. Glad they’ve got their priorties in order.

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  60. Little Bird said on May 11, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    My best friend lives in a not so great neighborhood, and has the best/scariest neighbor. During one of the many power outages following one of the many storms, her security alarm was inoperable. And so was her neighbors. He and a few of his buddies took turns on his front porch with a shotgun, keeping watch on both houses. Good neighbor, but scary.
    I should point out that this is in the middle of St. Louis.

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  61. brian stouder said on May 11, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    John is the MAN! The body language in the photo is worth a thousand words; the alpha male with the narrow-eyed stare, safely back in the rear echelon; his alpha-mate in full aggression-display mode next to him, and (interestingly) with a cell phone in her hand (this struck me as a sign of actual intelligence on her part); and then the stooge right up front, in the most exposed (and expendable) position.

    Well, aside from all these truly harrowing bad-neighbor stories, we had our own Bumpus moment, just last night. Our 6 year old (who will be 7 next month) dutifully went into the shower, and started the water, and pulled the switch; and then (apparently) lurched when the (too cold?) water came from the shower head, so that in the living room we heard a terrible “thud” followed by our daughter’s high-pitched wale.

    And what was the first thing her dad did? In that first instant – the moment that will forever be remembered – I stood up and called to Shelby, our 12 year old (who will be 13 – a TEENAGER!! – in 2 months), to go see what was the matter with her sister.

    In the end, it wouldn’t have mattered anyway, as mom was instantly on the scene and would have taken control of the situation* in any event.

    It turns out Chloe has a “small fracture”, abover her wrist. Honestly, looking at the X-Ray, I cannot see anything, despite the helpful arrows. She doesn’t have to wear a cast, but instead only an Ace bandage.

    The two sure things are, this event pained our little daughter greatly, and at crunch time (so to speak), I folded up like a cheap tent. Anyway – it completely over-shadowed (at least in our household) the fact that our littlest girl’s school had an honest-to-God “lockdown” event Tuesday, owing to an armed man on a balcony at a nearby apartment complex; another genuine Bumpus moment.

    And speaking of our schools, Friend-of-NN.c Mark the Shark GiaQuinta took part in a debate at the Allen County Public Library last night, along with the headmaster of Canterbury (a tippy-top, expensive, private prep school), and a professor from Notre Dame – who was 1000% in favor of “choice” and vouchers, and was fond of referring to public schools as “government schools” (this irritated me sufficiently to take a turn with the microphone to challenge him on that point, which he quickly retreated from; although the usual contingent of angry old white guys got the validation they needed in any case). GQ clobbered that guy, although the press reports I’ve read so far haven’t even mentioned GQ’s presence there!!

    *it would have been a terrible mistake to get in her way, at that moment.

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  62. Jeff Borden said on May 11, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    I have noticed a couple of mentions of guns, which is the major reason why I tend to let a lot of things slide these days. You never know who is carrying what and, of course, we just keep selling more guns and giving people more license to carry them wherever they want, including Texas college campuses. Now, that’s a great idea. A large number of relatively immature people with raging testosterone and access to plenty of beer, booze, pills, reefer, etc. living in close quarters. . what could go wrong?

    Yesterday, as I was driving eastbound on Lawrence Avenue in Uptown toward the dog beach, a huge SUV came weaving down the street at high speeds, missing the left front fender of my car by about a micrometer, then skidding to a stop under the L tracks. The driver was a very, very large man with a very, very red face and he literally leapt from the vehicle, eyes bulging out and those scary neck muscles all clenched as he ran to the passenger side and pulled a woman out. Mr. Muy Macho dragged her to the sidewalk, pushed her against the wall and then jumped back into the SUV, peeling rubber as he roared away.

    Call me crazy, but I would bet a very large sum of money that the driver was packing. Every fiber of his being said “insecure asshole with anger issues,” and too damned many of those guys find solace in a sidearm.

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  63. Dexter said on May 11, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    Just before he was sent away to a mental hospital, I witnessed the young man across the street drag his mattress out into the yard, douse it with accelerant, torch it, watch it flare up, and when it smoldered he stood there in his front yard , took out his personal hose and tried to put the smokey fire out.
    I didn’t even have to make the call on that one. The guy was gone shortly after that , gone forever from here.

    Also gone, just today, is basketball’s Tractor Traylor, at just 34, heart attack.
    He won our hearts , coming from a rough Detroit ‘hood to kick some major ass at U of M on the hardwood courts. 300 pounds of get-that-shit-out-of-my-way, R.I.P., Robert Traylor.

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  64. Chris in Iowa said on May 11, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    I agree with Nancy @55. I read here every day, but seldom comment. The comments are always better than what I read on my own newspaper site, but today is exceptional.

    My story can’t top anything I’ve read here today, but here goes: My wife and I bought our first house several years ago in Lincoln, Neb. It was an older bungalow. All of the neighbors were great except for the one rental house, directly across the street. They could have been the people photographed by John.

    I complained many times to the guy who who owned the house. He ignored me.

    Then, one day, the residents moved out in the middle of the night and a plumbing crew showed up a few days later and put new plumbing in the entire house. The crew was there for several days. As I recall, it cost the guy who owned the house several thousand dollars.

    I later learned that the renters had killed a deer, dressed in the bathroom and flushed what was left down the toilet, plugging up the plumbing. So what did they do? They dumped chemicals — I don’t remember what — down the pipes in an attempt to remove the clog. The chemicals ate through the pipes and destroyed everything.

    The guy who owned the house actually stopped me one day as I was mowing my yard to tell me this story. I guess he thought I’d feel sorry for him.

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  65. Deborah said on May 11, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    I agree about this being one of the best threads here at nn.c. Some great comments, kind of remind me of Raymond Carver stories.

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  66. John G. Wallace said on May 11, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    The “alpha male” as he was described still keeps his FB profile open, except for wall posts: this is his “Activities and Interests”

    Partying, Mudding, Hunting, Sweet tea, Driving Around, Having a Good Time, 4 Wheelin, Bonfires, Drinking, Hanging Out With Friends, and Mudfest. No mention of impromptu roadside burials.

    After everyone’s comments I realized I should have been fearful of him. Learned a long time ago that if you appear fearless, 99% of people will either be afraid of you, or assume you are crazy. Whichever one – it works. It was the girl’s mother who really scares me. Beady eyes, 300+ lbs, jail tats, sweaty brow, moving very fast in her nightgown – thought for sure I was going to take a hit. I stopped being afraid of the kids when their solution to any perceived wrong was to call the Sheriff’s office.

    I figure I helped them with the breaking the pregnancy news to Dad. Feel a little sorry for him – he’s the only one who works, builds airplanes at a well known small plane manufacturer in Vero Beach. The wife was offered a job as a waitress at Cracker Barrel (no kidding) and turned it down because she had to buy a blue Oxford shirt to start working. That’s like when Homer Simpson had to choose between the winning lottery ticket or a candy bar – and buys the candy bar.

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  67. prospero said on May 11, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    A Robert Tractor Traylor moment.

    Our first place after my ex and I got married was in a two family in Watertown MA. The house behind had a wood decked back porch directly below our bedroom window. The tenants owned a dog, which was kept chained, mmiserably on that porch what seemed like 24-7. The problem was that the dog howled and dragged the heavy chain around at 5:30am . Although the intrusion on our sleeping was infuriating, I think I was more homicidally inclined by the treatment of this poor animal. Complaints to the owner did no good. Animal control wouldn’t do anything. One Saturday morning, I just snapped and went all Free Willie, with a pair of bolt cutters. This was a big dog with a wonderful disposition who ended up moving in with some friends of ours with a small farm out by Hopkinton after some drastically necessary veterinary care. When I liberated the dog, he had sores in his leg joints like bedsores, from constant contact with the freezing cold wood deck. My wife was sure I’d get arrested for dognapping, but I had documented the maltreatment of the pooch with photos, and my take was that dognapping charges wouldn’t stick but the assault and battery would if I didn’t do something about these aholes. I left a note with my phone # at work (not completely crazy), describing my actions and why I’d taken them. Anybody that would treat a dog that badly is psycho enough to harm human beings, plus they were from Maine (no redder redneck than one from Aroostook Co.) Never heard a word from the gutless shitheel. I suppose those fools tell people about the dognapper next door when bad neighbor stories come up.

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  68. ROgirl said on May 11, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    I lived in an apartment building where the landlord hired a caretaker-type guy to live in a basement apartment. He was a high school dropout. One day I found an egg smashed on my windshield. I was puzzled, couldn’t imagine why it happened. Things progressed quickly. A rearview mirror and tail light were smashed. Naturally, I called the police and the landlord. I didn’t have any proof that the guy did it so the police couldn’t do much at that point. One day I looked out a back window in my apartment and saw the guy by my car writing with a stick in the dirt. I went down and he was writing, “THIS MEANS WAR” It turns out he was mad at me because of the way I was parking my car. The parking area was just a patch of dirt, no assigned parking spaces. I parked at one end. He worked for a carpet cleaning company and drove a big van that wouldn’t fit in the parking area unless I were to park half way in the grass. He informed me that another neighbor had told me that I should park like that, which of course had never happened. I called the police and they came over and took pictures. The landlord started the eviction process, but it takes at least a month.

    Soon after that I saw something behind my left rear tire. It was a bag filled with a shitty diaper. One evening I had gone out with my boyfriend. When I got back the police were there. There were a dozen eggs smashed on the ground all around his car. He had told the police that I did it. I told them I didn’t and they left.

    He was eventually evicted, but he would come back to visit the neighbor. One evening they were on the back porch talking. I could hear them from my bathroom window and he was telling her that if I came after him first, then he could attack me. And the neighbor, a young woman in her 20’s, told people that she worked for her family’s business cleaning offices at night, but the landlord told me that the police had found an ad that she placed in the Yellow Pages for an escort service and she used the address of our building in the ad.

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  69. moe99 said on May 11, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    I’ve generally been lucky in my choice of post-college digs. I remember one weekend in college when the guys living above my friend Margaret’s triple, left while their record player was still playing, quite loudly. The needle got stuck on a scratch and played the same line over and over and over for the entire weekend. Luckily my room was on the opposite side of the hall.

    My neighbors in Lexington were colorful but not threatening:

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  70. Marjorie of Connecticut said on May 11, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    No wonder the dish ran away with the spoon. It couldn’t take all that forkin’.

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  71. nancy said on May 11, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    I dunno, Chris out there in Iowa, that’s a pretty good one. Dressing a deer in the bathroom? And flushing the viscera down the toilet? They could have piled it in a bucket and left it outside for the damn raccoons. Would have been less trouble for everyone.

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  72. LAMary said on May 11, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    “The needle got stuck on a scratch and played the same line over and over and over for the entire weekend.”

    Moe, that happened to me. A roommate I would like to forget left a record playing and locked her door. I heard the word “snow” from the line “snow is cold, rain is wet, chills my bone right to the marrow…” from the Carol King song, “Home Again” for a day and a half. Snow, click. Snow, click. When I hear that song now I automatically put in the click sound.

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  73. Mark P. said on May 11, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    Good for you prospero.

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  74. Holly said on May 11, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    I have owned 2 homes. First home we had neighbors telling us they felt sorry for us because we had the 2 biggest assholes living on both sides. Calling them assholes is being nice. On one side one of the kids was always in the police blotter. They would empty their above ground pool water by putting the hose up against the fence and flooding my yard. The police said we couldn’t do anything about it because they kept the hose on their side of the yard. The other side we had the parents who didn’t take care of their kids. Which means the kids think it is OK to throw ice balls through car windows. I was so happy to move out. Then the house I am in now is old old people on one side. They yelled at my kids for bouncing a ball on my patio. They call the police if my kids light firecrackers on the 4th. Anything my kids did while playing in our yard I got phone calls. She had a fit if they threw the ball around. She didn’t want my kids playing in their yard. You need to understand that we bought this house from my father in law. My husband grew up here. They were neighbors back then. When their kids would hit baseballs that would hit this house they would get mad at my in laws when they asked the kids to stop. On the other side the kids have been in jail several time. They don’t clean up their yard of beer cans. They have tried to throw rocks through the windows. I could go on and on. We will be moving to Wisconsin and I have decided I need space from who ever I move next to with a big fence put up.

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  75. Little Bird said on May 11, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    Ooooh, Deborah! Remember the across the hall neighbor who wanted to BORROW a potato!?

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  76. John G. Wallace said on May 11, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    Mary – I’ve offered advice in the past for people in apartment situations with neighbors who drive them crazy…
    1. Download MP3 of “Seasons in the Sun,” by Terry Jacks.
    2. Burn it to a CD
    3. Insert CD into CD player. Select repeat
    4. Hit play, leave the premises and don’t return until moments before a noise ordinance kicks in.
    5. Repeat until problem is resolved, i.e. they move or cease whatever action they have been annoying you with.

    I’d have offered that suggestion to the CIA as an alternate to waterboarding.

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  77. Linda said on May 11, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    “Seasons in the Sun?” Is that all you got? My crazy 2 door down neighbors once got in a throwdown with the Libertarian Tea Party guy across the street when crazy folks (the ones who abandoned the cat that I eventually took in) started playing their rap at ear-splitting levels, and he retaliated by playing a recording of bagpipe music as loud as a jet plane. But we are used to crazy around here, so they only annoyed each other. The rest of us were amused.

    The crazy in the same house a few years earlier actually vandalized her next door neighbor’s property repeatedly, and when they complained to the police, crazy lady had her in-laws (who are politically connected) run interference and protect her. But finally, the crazy heifer even wore them out. Besides, she lied to an insurance company about being injured by her neighbors, and insurance companies do not take lying shit from nobody, not when there’s a claim on the line. They went after her to the full extent of the law, and she soon folded her tent and moved.

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  78. nancy said on May 11, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    We’ve discussed it here before, but Jeff Borden did a variation of music torture to get rid of a downstairs neighbor who would pound on the ceiling if Jeff and his girlfriend du jour made too much noise in bed. (I lived next door, and while our bedrooms were separated by more than a wall, I can’t believe he made THAT much of a clamor.)

    He’d put on a record and slowly increase the volume to whatever point made their door open and one of them start up the stairs. Then he’d abruptly lower it. Five minutes later, he’d inch it up again. Rinse and repeat.

    You should have seen his receiver then — he used a Sharpie to mark various points around the volume knob that would drive them nuts. And yes, he would sometimes turn it on and leave, too.

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  79. Dexter said on May 11, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    “Oh GOD! Oh JEEZUSS!” …repeat about seventy five times…I didn’t realize my neighbor on the other side of the bedroom wall of my townhouse apartment was so religious.

    Well, that was the older, married man that was shrieking like that.

    I made the mistake of telling a co-worker of the nightly commotion. The rat bastard told my neighbor what I had blabbed.
    “Oh just tell him I hear them too.”

    We all worked in the same place. Even the older hoser.
    No big deal in the land of the young and active.

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  80. coozledad said on May 11, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    I can recommend a couple of stereo warfare tunes. I actually only employed them once. My roomate, Kevin, had briefly busted up with his girlfriend who would sometimes show up on weekends and watch him clean his handgun. This was a kind of foreplay, and a signal for me to either leave or get to my room and put on some headphones. She had the most facial hair I’ve ever seen on a woman.
    Once, when a friend of mine showed up and saw them waxing the Beretta, he asked me as soon as we got out of earshot” I didn’t know your roomate was queer. Why didn’t you mention it?”
    “Never occurred to me. Comparmentalization, I guess.”
    Since the breakup, Kevin hadn’t had any in days, so he decided to remedy the situation by slipping his shitkickers on and driving down to The Opry House outside of Greenville to pick up some strange. He got two and thoughtfully brought the third wheel back for me.
    She was an introverted woman who didn’t expect a hookup with a skinny hippie, and she forgot to bring her teeth.
    The first song I put on the turntable, “on suicide” by the Art Bears, was the more soothing of the two I managed to play before she left. The next was the zippier “Rats and Monkeys (Comb the city as it plummets into ruin)”.

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  81. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 11, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    Three doors down from a house a bunch of us owned together in Lafayette, IN was another lovely home (Italianate, corner tower) with a nice couple and a baby. He delivered a national paper all over Purdue’s adjoining neighborhoods each morning, a few hundred copies, so he often hired someone to help and get a chunk of the profits.

    Apparently he hired this one rather odd but punctual woman to help out for a while. It went well enough, and one weekend he threw a party, had a number of friends over and invited his co-worker as well. Everyone had a good time, going home variously. At some point, he went out to deliver papers. This woman stabbed the wife to death with a steak knife from the kitchen.

    She then tried to saw off her head, presumption being as a prelude to full dismemberment and perhaps concealment, but the lady found that dismantling a corpse is nowhere as easy as it appears on TV (though “Fargo” did quite a bit to dispel the misconception, making me think of this case every time I’ve seen it). After mostly but not quite finishing the decapitation, she departed the scene, leaving the husband to discover the grisly situation when he returned.

    The woman was arrested later in the day at a local hospital where she went to the ER, reporting that the multiple severe cuts on her fingers and hands was from “trying to carve a roast.” The nurses weren’t buying it, and called the cops, who by then knew exactly what they were looking for. You’ll be amazed to learn she plead insanity, and I have no idea how it all sorted out in the end.

    But for the next two years, this formerly convivial street saw basically no parties other than very quiet, in-house affairs. Would have been in ’82. Moral of the story: never trust the person who’s last to leave a party.

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  82. del said on May 11, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    A friend who pledged a University of Michigan fraternity told me of its hazing technique. Lock the subject in a room and blare Grace Slick singing “We Built This City” at full volume, and repeat, for about two hours.

    Then, after a 3 minute silence play it one more time. Aversion stimulus.

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  83. Deborah said on May 11, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    Little Bird’s reference to the potato borrowing neighbor was after I left my marriage and moved to a high-rise. I left behind almost everything, except Little Bird of course. I had a very sparsely furnished place which I loved. A guy who lived across the hall in the high-rise used to stop by from time to time, I’m pretty sure he was gay, but this was before a lot of gays came out so I’m not sure. Little Bird and I used to sit in our place on the 21st floor with all the lights out and just look out on the city like watching a movie. It was spellbinding. The neighbor knocked on the door and when I went to see who it was he came in and proclaimed that we were weird for not being spellbound by TV or something. Then he asked to borrow a potato and turned the tide on who was weird.

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  84. Chris in Iowa said on May 11, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    Thank you, Nancy. You have inspired me to tell another story. This time, unfortunately, I was the neighbor from hell.

    I have a bad case of sleep apnea that I remedied years ago by undergoing a sleep test and getting a CPAP machine. Before that, though, I snored REALLY LOUDLY.

    Before becoming homeowners, we lived in an apartment on the second floor of a three-story building. We did not know the couple who lived upstairs. Nor did they know us.

    We went one weekend to a party at a friend’s house. Still being kind of new in town, we didn’t know many people at the party, including the couple who laughingly told stories about their downstairs neighbor. The guy was a world-class snorer. The longer they talked, I figured out where they lived and about whom they were talking. We made a pretty hasty exit.

    If he hadn’t made the connection beforehand, the guy half of the couple upstairs figured it out too, apologized the next time I saw him and we became decent friends while we lived in the same building. But I never liked his skinny, little blonde wife.

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  85. alex said on May 12, 2011 at 12:10 am

    I gave a teaser earlier about an alcoholic freeloader dwelling in the home of an Alzheimer’s patient who’s a widow. Where to begin?

    About six years ago when I moved in, said Alzheimer’s patient was not yet widowed and was in the earlier stages, where she was simply off the wall loony and not zoned out like she is now. I knew the moment I met her that she was a repressed lesbian. The butchest bulldyke I ever met. And I’ve met some butch bulldykes. But this one was uninhibited, as genuine as they come. A good Catholic woman who got married off to a guy with an IQ of about 75 because they obviously didn’t know what else to do with her back in the day. Her brothers were successful businessmen. They might have lobotomized her like Rose Kennedy, but instead they made her caretaker of a guy with a lobotomy.

    She and her husband were both unbelievable pests, worse than the mosquitoes that plague these ague-infested parts. They would ask the most intrusive sorts of questions. They would bring my mail up the lane as an excuse to bug me. They would foist their spoiled leftovers on me, stuff made with 7-Up in Jello molds. They would crash my social gatherings and try to be the life of the party. And they succeeded. People thought she was a lesbian and he was a retard and that I was a chump for having them.

    I figured out right quick that the way to get rid of them was to lard my conversation with cuss words. They couldn’t abide that.

    In fact, you never heard cuss words when the ugly fights would break out at their house. They were the muffled words Catholics use, the goldangits for the goddamits. The frigs for the fucks. The stuffs for the shits. The a-holes for the geniune thing.

    They had children, including a 400-pound manic-depressive daughter who couldn’t keep a job and moved home from time to time. She had a boyfriend in tow, an unemployable and unemployed alcoholic who’s the spittin’ image of Jon Gosselin. He used to come begging for booze at 9:00 AM smelling like a combo of a distillery and filthy toilet from a distance of about ten yards.

    He’s been a permanent fixture there since the husband died, mooching off the Social Security check of the old bulldyke, who’s now in a trancelike state walking around in a housedress and leaving a trail of poop in her wake. He also appears to be having affairs with some of the older ladies in the neighborhood, including the hilljack bitch next door who’s a story all her own.

    She came by her current home by breaking up a marriage. She told me that she and he were widowed when they met. The neighbors told me otherwise. This well-to-do old man threw out his lifelong beloved so he could screw an old whore, and he died the minute they got married and then she got the house. She couldn’t support the house, however, so she moved in a fair part of her extended brood. She’s a white granny who’s raising all the grandchildren, basically. Her Cadillac got repo’d several months back and now she’s driving an old minivan. And whenever I see her, she harps on Fox News. And she has a porch monkey out back because she doesn’t have the balls to put it out front. And she burns wet lawn clippings that smell worse than something dead and this crap smolders for days. All summer long.

    Y’all think you got problems? I paid good money to live in a good neighborhood. Sheesh.

    On edit: Gawd, it occurs to me I could go on and on. For instance, the butch bulldyke has a gay nephew whom I knew in college. He was the one who foisted Ayn Rand books on me and is still a devotee last I spoke to him a few years ago.

    As for white trash granny, she has always called me Eric instead of Alex, even though she has been corrected a bazillion times and then some. And she is always badmouthing other neighbors, a sure sign that she’s doing the same to me when she has the opportunity.

    Despite it all, I bought my own little piece of heaven here and I’m not letting anybody ruin it. But I sure wish their fuckin’ subprime re-fi’s would mature so they’d get the fuck outta here.

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  86. Dexter said on May 12, 2011 at 3:18 am

    By contrast to Alex’s powerful narrative, my gay and lesbian neighbors were quite nice folks.
    Oh, our little girls were shocked when the guy in the back apartment was saying goodnight to his date by lip-locking with him for a minute or so at midnight, but we only saw that because we were returning home from a late movie in Fort Wayne, and it was none of our business. By the time we went to Provincetown for whale-watching a couple years later, the kids didn’t even comment on all the pda we all see there in Massachusetts at the tip of The Cape.
    The lesbians were very nice, but yes, they did have a lot of the old hilljack in them.
    Last month we discussed here on this blog the epidemic regarding painkiller sales and distribution, from Pinellas Park, Florida, on up the freeways and into Kentucky and West Virginia and then on to much of Appalachia.
    Well, my lesbian neighbors were involved in this, early-on, and one of them got busted. They drifted away from here, and I still miss them. The toothless one was funny as hell and she could bust my chops easily. They had a boy living with them…no visible parents for him; he was a nephew , I guess.
    Of course when he matured he went to prison early. He’s out now.

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  87. alex said on May 12, 2011 at 7:26 am

    I forgot one of the better stories about the Alzheimer bull dyke’s family. While the husband was still alive, he was becoming increasingly senile on top of being just plain stupid. One day he and she went to a local car dealership to get one of their vehicles serviced. He got out and absentmindedly left it in gear and it crashed through the showroom window with his wife in the passenger seat.

    I suspect he may not have been all that dotty, though. A couple of summers ago, there was a huge, ugly fight in their front yard between him, his dyke wife, their 400-pound daughter and the alcoholic freeloader. The freeloader seldom lifts a finger to do anything in that household. He spends most days recumbent in a pile of empty beer cans with a fishing rod cast out into the lake. One day he finally did get off his ass and took the riding mower for a lap around the yard, mowing down the husband’s driveway reflectors in the process. The husband relied on the reflectors as his guides for backing out of the driveway. (Watching him or his senile wife trying to drive was always a hoot. It usually took either one of them about ten attempts to back out of the driveway.)

    Anyway, back to the fight. I’d never heard such loud yelling from the place before. Enraged freeloader got into his vehicle and peeled out. Then hubby came over and shared what was going on. In retaliation for the reflectors being mowed down, he said he had intentionally crashed his car into the freeloader’s car and pretended it was because he couldn’t back out without his driveway reflectors.

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  88. Scout said on May 12, 2011 at 11:18 am

    @Alex – *snort!* “He spends most days recumbent in a pile of empty beer cans with a fishing rod cast out into the lake.”

    Best sentence using the word recumbent evah!

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