A Librarian, A Forest Ranger, And A State Trooper Walk Into A Forest.
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The only way I’m giving something up for lent is if they release a new season of LOST. I don’t care if there’s no dialogue and it’s just music playing while they chill in heaven but those are my conditions.
I’ve lived at my current apartment for about two years now. I’ve had a collective zero conversations with my neighbors. Looking back, I’ve never had a conversation with any neighbor I’ve ever had. Maybe it’s a sign of the times—isolated and cut off from the people closest to us. Or maybe it’s because they weren’t as freaking great as the neighbors I grew up admiring. No, I’m not talking about my childhood neighbors. God, no.
On one side we had Sally. She was overweight and handicapped and I hated her. I’ll tell you why. It’s because every time we had a snow storm she’d call my mother and have us (usually me) shovel out her driveway. This wasn’t so bad, and frankly, it’s the right thing to do. But that bitch was the most ungrateful handicapped woman you’ll ever meet. She never offered to pay us and she’d send out her weirdo boyfriend to tell us that we didn’t do a good enough job. And that’s pretty much why I work with children with special needs. So they don’t end up like her.
We had Norman who wasn’t really a neighbor but more like our family nemesis. He owned the lot across the street and wouldn’t let us park there. It was literally a giant unoccupied lot and due to unknown adult reasons, we weren’t allowed to use that space. My parents were even forced to spend potential Disney World trip money on a new driveway so we could park our 23 used Buicks our dad inherited from his gas-station customers who died. We all had beautiful shit-boxes and nowhere to park them.
And then there was Mrs. Small. Mrs. Small lived behind us and looked exactly like the wicked witch from Oz. She was a widow and let my dad use her garden for himself in exchange for 8 cucumbers and some tomatoes. Because of this, we couldn’t say mean things about her (and especially her son, Dick) but we were all scared shitless of her and her ferocious dog. One time I had the duty of bringing vegetables to her porch and I think I stopped breathing for nine minutes. I think she’s still living which would make her the oldest woman on the planet.
Needless to say, I’ve never had the fun neighbors I saw on television. Maybe there were some real gems over the years as I moved out of my family’s house and into rental life. But the ghost of Mrs. Small kept me from ever opening up to these strangers who lived so close by. All I have left is what I think a good neighbor should be. And with that, here are the three greatest neighbors that really didn’t ever live.
1.) Mr. Feeny
Corey Matthew’s principal and neighbor—all in one. Sure, at first it would be a little intimidating. I remember seeing one of my teachers in church and being so caught off guard. You live outside of school? But that fear must subside once you consistently see a man cook his dinner on an hibachi grill. The man bestowed wisdom…all the time. It was as if he had a pre-made playbook with all of life’s paradoxes. Dad can’t help you with Geometry? Ask Feeny. You mom caught your father with another woman? Feeny would understand. He heard it. The one downside is that any time you get in trouble, you’re shitting your pants hoping Dad doesn’t cross paths in the backyard with Feeny. You just need to keep your shit together or hope you catch him doing something weird so you can blackmail him.
2.) Winnie Cooper
Guys have always been attracted to the ‘girl next door’ type. But imagine that you’re attracted to the girl who literally lives next door. Unreal. Sure, when things go bad or when she rejects you for the football player, you can’t get away from the fact that she lives right there. But it just makes you step up your game. You don’t let her get away. She was cute and smart so Kevin could invite her over to help with homework and Norma would be OK with letting you guys shut the bedroom door! Mrs. Small was pretty much the polar opposite of Winnie Cooper. If I ever entered Mrs. Small’s house I wouldn’t be writing this now.
3.) Steve Urkell.
This was a tough one. I went back and forth between Kimmie Gibbler and Wilson from Home Improvement but decided Kimmie lost points due to my inference that her parents were neglectful and crazy and Wilson lost points because he only seemed to talk to the dad, Tim. Urkell on the other hand has some obvious pitfalls. He was annoying as hell and if Facebook existed then, he’d be arrested for internet stalking the fuck out of Laura. But listen. My argument has been thought out. First off, he’s a sympathetic character. In one episode he says that his parents didn’t feed him every day and in another episode we learn the kid was born in a car. Don’t remember that? Neither did I but it’s on Wikipedia so it’s definitely true. I mean a starving kid born in a car already makes him more likable than my handicapped Sally. But more than that, he’d be a great neighbor for more selfish reasons. His invention that turned him into the smooth-talking Stefan. I’ve heard of neighbors lending out sugar and baking each other niceties so imagine sharing a machine that maximized swagger? It’s every 7th grader’s dream. Obviously, I didn’t need it. Can you pick me out of this 1996 school gem?
Front row, middle. Palest fucking kid on the team. Gross.
I needed that machine.
It was never my intention to become a sociopath but I think that is what is happening. Sure, I could blame it on Arthur Chu’s return to Jeopardy tonight. His button-smashing and category-hopping certainly didn’t help as he arrogantly secured his fifth consecutive win. But it’s more than Mr. Chu. It’s the week’s culmination of unhealthy TV viewing that has me one snarky remark away from eating somebody’s face off.
Take my recent text messaging as exhibit A.
Without thinking, I threatened to cut off my girlfriend’s finger.
Harmless enough, I guess. Her fingers are still in their proper places. But for how long? In the past week I’ve watched a ridiculous amount of television. Season 2 of House of Cards (3 days), True Detective, and Season 1 of Hannibal (3 days). This isn’t the work of Arthur Chu!
He’s too sweet and Asian to cut off somebody’s finger. His fingers are occupied, anyways—smashing up that damn button.
No, no, no. This behavior is a result of the subliminal messages passed on by Frank Underwood, detective Rust Coehl, and Hannibal the Cannibal. Add the fact that almost all my TV viewing happens after 10 PM and you have a real recipe for subliminal psychopathy.
All great shows by the way if you haven’t watched them. BUT, viewer beware. I had a nightmare two nights ago that I was in a forest seeing a dead, gored buffalo. I looked into my 1994 dream book to find the underling meaning of it all and I was shocked to see nothing on such an event. It did however seem to resemble several episodes I just saw. One specifically—that had an animal gored…in the forest. OK, so it was exactly that episode.
The good news, folks, is that there’s a way out of the madness. FIrst off, the episodes eventually end. I’ve seen just about every episode of every TV show that has received any noteworthy praise. It’s gotten so bad that I’m turning to network TV for new shows which is the equivalent of dating a supermodel and moving on to Arthur Chu. So, after you’ve finished watching all of the good stuff that makes you contemplate marinating earlobes, you have to do what I’m doing and offset it with wholesome goodness.
Like your favorite pastor providing you with the how-to-fix-all-your-sins recipe, here is my suggestion on how to overcome TV-induced insanity:
1. 3 episodes of Full House. The wholesomeness of the show will make you temporarily forget that you just saw Frank Underwood compromise every noteworthy human value. Visions of Hannibal cutting out somebody’s intestines will be replaced by Uncle Joey’s "Cut…it…Out."
2. A chocolate milkshake. You’ll be catapulted back to the 50s where girls were on roller skates and you could see a movie for a nickle. I experienced none of this and that nickle statement may be inaccurate. Whatever though, it’ll taste wonderful.
3. Smell the head of a baby.
Don’t you question me.
4. Watch the final scene of Big Fish. You’ll cry and it won’t be because Rust Coehl said there’s no God and we’re all pawns in the meaningless game of life. You’ll think about your father and how great it would be to have a giant friend named Carl.
5. Hot Tub Soak. 15 minutes - 12 hours. You decide how long you need.
Don’t you dare say: Just watch less TV, Scott.
I’ll eat your face off and then blackmail you with it. Ahh, there I go again. I’m only on episode 2 of Full House. Kimmy Gibbler just walked in the house.
Hey guys, I’m still alive. Hope you are too.