Platitudes for a New Millenium Vol. 3

May 19, 2010
[Another abandoned concept dragged from the verge of complete annihilation! Will wonders never cease? I’m guessing they will. Cease, that is. Until then, enjoy Vol. 3 of Platitudes for a New Millenium, which coincidentally enough was proceeded by Vol. 1 and Vol. 2.]

Not only is it green as all hell, but look at the size of that yard!

“The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”

Now, why is that?

It’s not as if you don’t try. Up at 4 a.m. to water. Long discussions on lawn treatment options at your local nursery. Experimental products recommended to you by the groundskeeper at the country club.

Even the home owner’s association has noticed, sending you a threatening letter concerning your inability to meet “adjoining lawn color intensity,” thereby disrupting “cul-de-sac curb appeal in regards to resident eyeflow.” They take care to point out that this is “nothing personal” but that they have no interest in seeing their property values dip because of your inability to color match.

Then he comes out to condescendingly hand out some unsolicited advice, all handshakes and warm clichés, wearing that sickening Enzyte smile.

Now you’re on 24-hour lawn surveillance, looking for his secret. Is he watering illegally? Could be. But you can’t stay awake 24/7. You’re already catching a lot of flak at the office thanks to your spotty attendance. You’re faring no better at home, having become little else than a twitching mass of paranoia.

Is he burying corpses for superior fertilizer?

It’s a distinct possibility. After all, he does own a shovel and is incredibly unlikable. Who buys a t-shirt that says, “Ask me about my golf handicap”? Obviously it’s much lower than yours. No one brings down that kind of ultra-competitive heat without something to back it up.

So very tired.

I'm just... um... birdwatching? Um... the birds in your... uh... garage?

Are you coming to bed? Not likely. That guy’s probably whipping up something containing depleted uranium and Miracle-Gro right now. No. He wants me to sleep. Just to gain another 2-3% in “lawn intensity.” That magnificent bastard!

What? Who am I talking to? I’m not… Fuck! He just went into the garage! Where’s my ski mask?

I have you now, my friend. Who goes into their garage at 2 a.m.? … I’m not talking to anybody! Just… weren’t you going to bed?

Shit. Where did he go?

Honey, grab me my night vision goggles. OK… thanks… Maybe next time you could bring them without the attitude?

Hey! These are 3-D glasses! My goggles! On the nightstand! Why… why do we have 3-D glasses readily available? Night vision goggles just make sense, but just to have these lying around… What is this, the seventies? I’m…

Oh… right… Avatar.

My goggles, honey. He’s making his move. Again, without the attitude would be great. You know, if I had a nickel for every time you’ve told me to go fuck myself over the last six weeks, we could have purchased that washer/dryer set you’ve been looking at.

No. The one with the stainless steel and LED screen.

The hell if I know. Sears?

You were looking at it while I was off at the Sharper Image pricing surveillance equipment… Let me worry about the legalities of those cameras. All I’m saying is that your negative attitude is swiftly nickel-and-diming us out of a new washer/dryer set.

We can discuss my “fundamental misunderstanding of how money works” later. The goggles, please. We’re burning moonlight.

What? Well, where the hell are they? … Your cousin? What the hell?

Without even bringing up the fact that they are not yours to lend, for someone so concerned with legality you sure seem to bypass that issue when it comes to your family members.

All I’m saying is that I’m pretty sure a restraining order is valid whether or not the other person can see you. You know, fuck it. I’m just going to get a dog and train it to pee in his yard.

Of course he’ll know whose it is. That’s kind of the point.

Well, I can always get more dogs. The pound is full of them.

Whatever. I’m out of here. Is my scuba gear still in the basement?

Never mind. I’ll get it. If you need me, I’ll be lurking in his koi pond. Don’t wait up.



  1. Isn’t it interesting that while you were watching him, Liz was watching you?

    Is Enzyte the gum that makes your breath fresh or the pill that makes your ding-ding bigger? I get those products confused. It would be nice if they had something that made your Johnson bigger AND gave you fresh breath.

    Your wife, Tina, must have a large rack for all of the crap you take from her. She needs to dial down the attitude and be more accommodating. I would suggest sending her to Muslim Training School. Sure, she will dress conservatively but her newfound expertise in bomb making may be just what you need to take care of this pesky neighbor. (Plus she will grow a unibrow which is wicked hot).

    • TL! What a refreshingly cynical surprise! Great to see you again.

      That is interesting, TL, but more than that, it’s also worrisome. I’ve got to get some sort of rearnoculars or something. I can’t have people getting the jump on me while I’m getting a jump on someone else. It’s like a bad movie. (Stakeout 2, if I’m not mistaken.)

      I believe Enzyte now comes in Refreshing Wave and 9-inch Spear Mint. It’s the best of both worlds, if the only worlds you know are fresh breath and larger genetalia. (This sums up pretty much everybody, I’m sure.)

      I think you have some great ideas on how to handle this “Tina.” I can’t tell you how many times she’s failed to bring me stuff. The axe, the Opinion pages of the NY Times, the funk… The list conceivably goes on and on.

      Thanks for the visit, TL. Stay grumpy.

  2. Unbelievable prose, CLT. Laughing gas funny, and man I worked for a guy like that, spending thousands on his lawn until justice came in the form of ravenous grubs, and eventually his perfect emerald lawn became a recreation of the American Dust Bowl. He thought I was nuts admiring the ocean of bright yellow dandelions in my “yard” (really a hillside field before the woods take over). Masochism and lawn care go hand in hand. Maybe I’ll put the tractor back together this Sunday and trim the old field down . . . you are one talented and hysterical writer.

    • Many, many thanks for the compliments, Dan. There’s no comeuppance like nature’s comeuppance. I like to keep my yard relatively dandelion-free by mowing the little fuckers down periodically.

      There’s just no winning with them, not when they camp out in adjacent yards and wait for a favorable wind. I’m not masochistic enough to turn my lawn into some sort of showpiece/penis extension.

  3. Picture this: the exact same story, only instead, it’s a fifty-seven year old single woman, and she’s the one wearing an “Ask me about Curves…and Scrapbooking!” shirt.

    And her prey is an even older woman, who has the nerve to spend her afternoons gardening in the privacy of her own “would be even more private if it weren’t situated just a little to the left of the neighbors’ bay window” back yard.

    It’s a scary thing, CLT. But when one of those women just so happens to be your mother (I won’t say which, seeing as she becomes more computer-adept by the day), it’s even scarier.

    Top notch post as always, CLT. I think it’s safe to say that whatever I’ve learned here will not only help me, but will eventually help others as well. (I mean, as long as my Mom doesn’t find out…)


    • Ha! “Ask me about Curves..” Why hasn’t that shirt be made yet, what with the available technology and time to waste?

      I’m picturing your scenario, bschooled, and it makes we want to run around the house shutting the venetian blinds and making sure there are no calls coming from INSIDE THE HOUSE(!).

      It’s even scarier when it’s someone you actually know, rather than just a theoretical standin or unreliable narrator.

      I’m glad this post was helpful, even though I’m having trouble finding those parts… Um, keep your enemies close, but your night vision goggles closer.

      Thanks for the visit, bschooled.

  4. Brilliant stuff! I’m actually flooded with memories and images of every gated community I have ever seen or read about – including the memory of a news article I once read where one old snarly dude in England ended up shooting his neighbour over a tree dispute!! Stranger than fiction, and blog posts….

    • Thanks, Ruby. It is like every homeowner’s waking nightmare. The lawn-obsessed neighbor. The incredibly anal and invasive Home Owners’ Association. The Sharper Image catalogue lying on the desk.

      It’s like that movie with one of the Baldwin brothers and Sharon Stone, only in a suburb rather than a high-rise with conveniently located (and crystal clear) shower cameras.

      Great to see you again, Ruby. Keep a wary eye on the tree line.

  5. I love your platitudes, I love your new millennium and I love your green grass too. I always prefer mine with itty bitty little strands of red and purple in it though. No one and I mean ‘know anyone (…like with the little red and purple strands)…?’ breaks down the social mores, customs, and neighborly stocking behavior in our current society better than you do.

    I swear to God CLT; it’s like you put yourself inside the head of every middle class suburb dweller in the country. And if the grass isn’t greener, you can be damn sure that the fucking minivan is nicer.

    • I’m a fan of platitudes as well, Scott. Nothing says so little with so many words. I’m also a fan of this new millenium, although I kind of jumped on the bandwagon about a decade too late.

      I know of whence you speak, grass-wise. That stuff’s great for breaking down social mores and heightening paranoia.

      If I’m in every head of every suburb dweller, I’m so glad I’m just visiting.

      Thanks for the visit and comment, Scott.

  6. Busted by TL. Yes, I was watching and laughing (hysterically). Why? Because most of us in Vegas have wised the hell up and converted our lawns to Xeriscape. HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! Doubled-over-laughing-so-hard! Plus we even get PAID by Clark County Water Dept to convert to Xeriscape!! We get PAID to NOT WATER, NOT APPLY FERTILIZER, and to NOT MOW! In other words, we get PAID to kiss lawn care goodbye. Sorry if I sound like I’m gloating (because I’m clearly not).

    Well, I was going to write a skit about the conversation at the ‘other house’, but had an ‘only in Vegas’ experience this evening and had to spend my evening crafting a letter (with a psychiatric assessment of my neighbor) to my high-rise instead. Since it is blog worthy, if you want to hear about it, I would be more than happy to share. Happy watering.

    • Thanks for pretending not to gloat, e3h. It must be nice living in a place where neglectful lawncare is rewarded and rocks are considered grass.

      As for your experience, share away. These threads are always open. I can only imagine it deals with some sort of fedora…

  7. First, a little background information. I’m not wealthy (‘anymore’ at least). After the Las Vegas real estate boom went bust, I got very lucky and received a (beyond my wildest imagination) refi on my home. After living modestly for the last five years, I decided to lease my home out and splurge on moving to Las Vegas’ ritziest hi-rise, situated one block from the Las Vegas Strip. There are four towers. We live in Tower Four, or “Tower Poor” as my daughter calls it. “Poor” because there are only a sprinkling of Lamborghinis, Rolls, Bentleys, Maseratis and Ferraris in our parking garage whereas at least one of the other towers have nothing but the aforementioned cars (with perhaps a sprinkling of ‘knockabout cars’ like BMWs and Mercedes). No matter as the security is all the same: 24-hr concierge, doorman and security guards, fob operated sliding glass partition to access the elevator and a fob operated elevator. Unless you live in the penthouse, your unit empties onto a floor of only two units (yours and your neighbors). What could go wrong, right?

    Shortly after we moved in, my daughter hears animalistic grunting, groaning and thrashing from the next door balcony. She peers over and sees our neighbor, Mr. Little, wearing a black fedora, green metallic boxer shorts, thick horn-rimmed glasses, a huge crucifix and he is holding a knife and is covered in blood. There are wounds to his face and he has placed four water bottles on the balcony ledge which appear to contain blood. He is ‘flicking’ blood from his fingertips and smearing the blood all over the balcony. He appears delirious or highly intoxicated (it turns out he is simply ‘off his meds’ and the wounds are self-inflicted). She is wondering if he just killed someone or someone tried to kill him. Long story short, 911 was called and they came with guns drawn and hauled him away for in involuntary psych eval. I have been poking fun on my Twitter account for weeks, going as far as posting my exact time of trash disposal and instructions to “call 911” if I am not back in “two minutes” (I suppose it helps to know I dispose of the trash around 3-5 am). I successfully avoided him during my ‘trash outings’ since I have lived here. Last night, as I was cleaning out my car around 3 am, he pulls into the parking garage blasting the Stray Cats. He sits for a while opening and closing the door of his sports car repeatedly so I can never enjoy the full song. He finally gets out and approaches me carrying a battery in one hand and a large bag of sex toys in the other. I think I recognize him from my daughters description (shoulder length blond hair, hat and huge crucifix). I decide to take the opportunity to introduce myself and ‘assess’ him. Once he realizes I am his neighbor, he hugs me and apologizes for the “drama.” We ended up having a one hour conversation and as TL can attest, the more psychotic a person is, the more I can “speak their language.” The first half hour he exhibited religious preoccupation and rambled on about Satanism, Biblical stories and how he was a Wiccan and Satan worshiper and what drove him to embrace the “dark side” (horrific child abuse). As I have a touch of adult-onset ADD (or could be my ETOH/drug-fueled misspent youth?) it was a little difficult keeping up with his rambling (which I suppose partially explains why I “speak his language”). It was probably one of the most surreal (if not the most surreal) evenings I have ever had (and I’ve had many surreal evenings as a psychiatric nurse). He had the most peculiar odor…sickeningly malodorous and it permeated the air (I could smell it TWO hours after I went home). He goes on to whip off his leather coat to show me the hand tooling and hand-numbered lettering. He claimed to be telepathic and could converse with people using pure telepathy (this happened with a sex toy proprietor) and also claimed he had been “murdered”, dumped into a lake, plucked out and revived (all orchestrated by Satan). After three hugs, two handshakes (all initiated by him) and a tour of his sports car and eight (highly collectible!!) motorcycles in the lower garage (this in his ‘Vegas residence’ alone!), we called it a night. The whole time, I am hoping the concierge is ‘watching my back’ via surveillance cameras.

    I had planned on writing a humorous take on the convo at the ‘other house’ when I got back from cleaning the car, CLT, but my plans were ‘jacked and I was in no shape for any funny business when I got home. I was so shook up by the encounter that I had to bring my ‘TV ears’ to bed and fall asleep to Glenn Beck talk about Jesus and our founding fathers. As an atheist, Jesus never sounded so good.

    • Holy shit. You don’t disappoint, e3h. That’s what people would call an “experience,” but only after several months of distance.

      It dispels many of the myths of Las Vegas, including “Whatever happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” “It’s the happiest place on earth!” (pending verification), “They only come out at night,” and “Fedoras are for journalists.”

      It’s probably one of the few places in the world where you can end up neighbors with a Satan-worshipping self-mutilator who owns several classic motorcycles and sex toys. (Portland, OR being the other.)

      Thanks for sharing, e3h. (Pending verification.)

  8. Yes, I can attest to Liz’s love for the lunatics. She is the Mother Theresa of the crazed. I hope I get to meet this guy when I go to Vegas this summer.

  9. Forgot to add a photo of the ‘carnage’:


    I will arrange a “meet and greet” for you, TL (preferably by the elevator). Can’t wait to see you!!

    I’m ready to get back to business, Capitalist!

  10. […] F. Lion Tamer: Platitudes for a New Millenium Volume 3 and I Survived! – True Stories of Human Survival vol. […]

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