Shortly after I moved in there I sort of became a hero of sorts, at least until people wondered what I would do to them if they crossed me.
The guy down the street stopped on his way somewhere while I was in the front yard painting a handrail to make it look nice. It was pretty scruffy when I moved in.
Anyway, he pulled up and I recognized him right off. He was the guy with the protest signs in his junk-filled yard.
He started to introduce himself. I headed him off.
"I know who you are. You're the guy down the street that can't take care of himself but is trying to save the world," I said.
He looked shocked but recovered and in an angry tone asked me what I meant by that.
"Saving the world begins at home," I said. "You like in a damned dump. Before you decide to run around saving lettuce pickers in Arizona you ought to pick up your own yard."
"There's a lot of social injustice in the world," he said.
"And you're creating some of it," I shot back. "It really isn't right that you inflict the rest of us with your vermin ridden piles of trash all over your yard. Howzabout starting your war on social injustice by being a good neighbor and cleaning up that pig sty?"
I generally don't like telling people how to live. However, I figured this guy was going to be a pain in the ass if I didn't alienate him right off the bat. I knew he was going to be a pest.
The guy across the street heard it and smirked. He didn't like him, either, apparently.
The guy looked at me. "You know, the lettuce pickers in Arizona are trying to support families on seasonal jobs," he said.
"Don't they have noses?" I asked.
"Noses?" he asked back, confused.
"Yeah, noses. Do their employers amputate their noses?" I asked.
"Not that I know of," he replied.
"Then they have something to pick in the off season," I shot back.
It was a rude, calloused comment but I really didn't care. The guy across the street laughed outright and the slob looked angry.
"Now I'll tell you what," I said. "You clean up your yard and when it looks halfway decent you come and tell me which brand of lettuce to buy and I'll actually listen to you. Until that, I'm going to buy whatever is on the shelf. You help save the neighborhood and I'll help you save the world."
A few days later I saw the entire family out in the yard picking it up. The wife looked happy. She was actually planting a few flowers to boot.
I drove by a few hours later and the place actually looked presentable. The pile of trash in the driveway would likely be hauled off by the trash guys.
Seeing the trash guys picked up my stuff before theirs I figured I'd have a quiet word with them. I broke out a couple of 4 ounce bottles of Jim Beam as a present for them.
A couple days later I caught them, handed each of them a small bottle and asked them to haul off ALL of the guy's trash. They did.
I was good to my word. After the place was cleaned up I bought whatever lettuce he told me to, carefully looking for the union label.
The wife would smile at me when she saw me. I think she was grateful I had told her husband off.
I knew I had gotten lucky here because half of the people that are trying to save the world are totally incapable of saving themselves. At least this guy was capable. All he needed was a nudge.
The last time I ran into a teenager that wanted me to help him save the world I told him to start by cleaning up his room.
To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this:
http://piccoloshash.blogspot.com/2009/12/my-feminine-side-blog-stays-pink.html NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY