It's time for another excerpt from Mr. Forthright, whose latest manual is How to Get Your Neighbors to move. We pick it up during his chapter "Moderate Intrusion."
-- Making Your Presence Felt --
Welcome to moderate intrusion, the next level to getting your neighbors attention and getting them out. And when I use the word intrusion, I mean intrusion.
What is intrusion? Let’s break down the word.
In-trusion. In obviously connotes that we’ll be going into something. If we rearrange the letters of trusion, we quickly learn that it spells iruston. Iruston, or I-rust-on, means that a person speaking in the first person is rusting, or corroding, on something. Therefore, intrusion means that someone corrodes into something else. What is being corroded on or, if we take a more literal definition, in? Privacy. When privacy corrodes, it is being stripped of its material and structural integrity. Now, what helps things corrode and rust? The answer is moisture. Just as water leads to rust in the scientific world, water is an important part of privacy invasion.
For example, your neighbor may own a pool. One of mine does. Do I have a pool? Yes, diving board and everything, but I don’t use it. I prefer to use my neighbor’s pool. Why? Liability. If I drown in my neighbor’s pool, it’s his fault. If I drown in my own pool, I have no one to blame but myself.* Why would you swim in a place you’re liable when a place somebody else would take the blame is right next door? Most neighbors don’t want me to use their swimming pool. That’s why I don’t ask. It’s easier to say, “I’m sorry,” than it is to say, “Mind if I drown in your pool?”
*unless I die while playing Marco Polo, in which case I can blame him
Once your neighbors realize you aren’t going to heed their wishes and stay out of their pool, they’ll likely build a fence around it. But no worries, water can come into play again; flash floods destroy fences .
Never underestimate the power of too much water too soon. Where possible, try to embrace flash floods. See if they can’t help you tear down the barriers that are keeping you out of your neighbor’s yard.
I don’t believe in fences. Fences treat symptoms instead of the cause. Sometimes I let nature take down fences for me, and sometimes I facilitate nature and speed up the processes of time by doing some demolition of my own.
-- FACT: I build bridges, not walls, in part because I flooded most of the neighborhood --
All it takes is a few hits with an automobile and most fences can’t stay upright. Why would I want a fence between me and my neighbor? All fences do is prevent me from borrowing their things and make my efforts in the neighborhood watch program slightly more difficult.
I’m all about borrowing things. And you should be, too. It’s going to make your neighbors angry, sure, but one of the overlooked benefits of borrowing things is that you then never have to buy things.
Do I own tools? No. And I’m not in the market to buy any. People on my street have already done it for me. In fact, I don’t even own a television -- I just watch my neighbors, as should you.
“But how do I make sure my neighbors let me in their house to watch TV?” I hear you asking. You don’t ask. I don’t. And even if they don’t let me in, I can watch through the windows. I have a remote that can control their television from incredible distances. It has a six foot antenna. Yes, it is illegal. I had it specially made in Russia. It may have not been cheap, but it’s way cheaper than buying a television and paying for cable.
I steal that family’s wireless Internet too, and why wouldn’t I? There’s plenty of bandwidth to go around.
-- FACT: Bandwidth = Bandobesity
Bandobesity = Fatmusician
Fatmusician = Elvis
...There’s plenty of Elvis to go around --
I want you to be borrowing as much stuff as possible. Borrow tools, borrow food, borrow cars and borrow kids if necessary. If there’s a “Bring Your Kid To Work Day” at the office and you don’t have any kids, you might as well share in some of the neighborhood’s wealth.
Hey, you have to put up with their noise, so why shouldn’t you at least benefit from them every once in while? Yeah, I am advocating kidnapping. Get over your negative feelings about it. It’s not the evil it’s been made out to be, trust me.
Parents these days sometimes forget how to be parents, instead wanting to be friends with their kids. That’s why I admire kidnappers -- those are parents who aren’t afraid to play the villain. And have you ever met a kid raised by kidnappers? They’re usually very well behaved. I stole a kid once. Really cute kid. His first words were, “you’re not Daddy.” When he was older he asked me, “not my Daddy, where do babies come from?” I told them most came from unattended grocery carts.
So, what am I getting at? Let’s stop being so judgmental. Just because a parent adopted their child doesn’t make that kid any less theirs just because they hadn’t given birth to it. Likewise, just because a child is stolen doesn’t mean he or she is any less their parents’ little angel.
Anyway, when I’m not borrowing my neighbor’s children....