Monday, January 31, 2011

$#*! My Dad Did

There were lots of comments on my last post, regarding how my dad is a great role model for how to screw with people.  And because I only scratched the surface with that post, and because Dad loves being the center of attention, I figured I’d tell you a couple more stories.  (Several of which HE suggested, mind you.)

The first place we lived in Columbus (Ohio) was right across an alley from a synagogue.  Dad used to get a big kick out of it every time Mom would cook bacon with the windows open on Saturday mornings.  He wasn’t really “driving” that one, but I remember how funny he thought that was.  (I didn’t really get the joke until much later.)

One of the first stories I remember about Dad messing with people was when I was in early Jr. High.  We lived in another place in Columbus, cookie-cutter suburban neighborhood, and some of the neighbors were known for being a little fussy.  At one get-together early in our tenure there, one of the neighbor ladies was talking about how she heard that another neighbor wanted all of his underwear labeled by day, so it would wear out evenly. 

Dad said, “Don’t laugh… I have labels put in my underwear too…” He paused before delivering the punch line…  “January, February, March…”

They gave us a wide berth, after that.

We got along real well with our next-door neighbors though.  They were some nice, down-to-earth West Virginians.  Dad once complained to him about his own abysmal golf game.  (Dad was never much of a golfer.) 

I don’t know why I even have clubs any more, for all the good they do me,” he said.

Later that spring, the neighbor was out in his back yard and happened to look over at our garden, which was right alongside our chain-link border fence.  Dad had his tomato plants staked to his golf clubs.

The neighbor thought that was the funniest thing ever.  “Why in the world are you using golf clubs?” he asked.

Puts iron in the soil,” Dad answered.

For the rest of the summer, whenever the neighbors had guests, he’d drag them out to the back fence to show them his crazy neighbor’s garden.

When we moved up to the farmlands of northwest Ohio, it was a completely different scene.  Houses were interspersed between fields and much farther apart.  We happened to have one neighbor that was close by, with our barn in between the houses. 

I have to establish some background before I continue with the mind-game stories.

Our neighbors were people that seemed better suited for a gated community than open farmlands.  We knew they were a bit “off” when we first moved in.  The first thing they suggested to us is that we take down the sun-porch from the front of the house, and put up pillars.

Fucking pillars!  Like it was “Tara” or something.  We pegged them as tools pretty quickly.

They were a prototypical WASPy couple.  He was a big blond dude, broad shoulders, about 6’2”.  Former athlete.  She was his little blond cheerleader.  They had one little blond boy, Chad, and a baby blond girl.  During the big jogging craze of the 70s, Mrs. Blond decided to jog.  She would put on her best fashionable tracksuit and jog.  Up and down the driveway.  She could have even jogged the perimeter of their property and have it add up pretty well.  But no… up and down the driveway, back and forth, about 35 yards each way.  Weird.

A little later, they decided to take up tennis.  They got matching tennis outfits, got some fancy new aluminum rackets and took tennis lessons.  I don’t know how it came about, exactly, but Mr. Blond wanted to know if he would play them in doubles.  Now, Mom was not then, nor has ever been an athlete.  So Dad suggested he team up with our neighbor across the street, Mrs. Mo.  (“Mo” is short for a very long and very Polish name with more consonants per square inch than a Warsaw phone book.)

The Mo family were athletes.  Mrs. Mo was the only girl in a family of large brothers, one of whom was an NFL lineman.  Her son was a middle linebacker in high school.  I believe she was an athlete as well, but I don’t know any specifics. 

But Dad didn’t even have a proper tennis racket.  The only one we had in the house was this old thing we picked up at a garage sale, which had steel strings.  Every time you’d hit a ball, it would go, “Sproiiiiiiiing!”
It looked just like this.  Who knew it was an actual ‘antique?’

So my little 5’9” Dad, with his steel-stringed racket, who hadn’t played tennis in years, and Mrs. Mo took on the Blonds on the tennis court.  I thought for sure it would be an embarrassment, and I was right.

Dad and Mrs. Mo kicked their asses all over the court.  I wasn’t there, but it must have something to behold.  Dad said they were just atrocious… could barely get the ball over the net.  It must have been quite a sight to see the two short, stocky, older players with the “Sproiiiiiiing” running the young jocks off the court. 

Anyway, for whatever the quirks, we all started out friendly enough.  But shortly after, the friction started to build.  Mostly, it was because of the boy, who was prone to wander.  He’d stroll over and start with a million questions about what we were doing and generally stay under-foot.  One time he went into our storage shed and turned the key on our lawn tractor.  It didn’t start, but it drained the battery, so Dad had to pony up for a new one.  He never mentioned it to the Blonds.

During this time, we also had a dog… my beloved golden retriever, Jesse, who I got as a puppy for my 15th birthday.  As we were out in farm country, we didn’t keep her tied up.  One day when I came home from school, she wasn’t there.  Normally, she was ALWAYS there to meet my school bus.  (God, I loved that dog.)  Anyway, we looked all over the place and couldn’t find her.  Eventually we called the pound and yup, there she was.  We then learned that our neighbors, the Blonds, called in a complaint on her, because she knocked down one of their kids.

Now, anyone that knows golden retrievers knows that they’re harmless and are rarely aggressive.  Obviously, my Jesse was much bigger than the little kid so I can see how she got knocked down.  But wouldn’t a phone call to us be a better choice than having the freakin’ dog catcher come pick her up?  They knew whose dog it was.  Still, we didn’t say anything right then.

Later that week, Dad was out in the back yard and heard the Blond kids calling the dog over into their yard.  That’s when Dad went ballistic.  They’re calling the pound when their fucking kids are calling the dog over???  He called up Mr. Blond and reamed him a new one, right through his designer tracksuit.    Man, it was brutal.  Dad also told him about how his brat screwed up our tractor but we didn’t say anything about it.  What would they have done in a similar situation, called the cops?

Anyway, we didn’t have much to do with them after that.  From then on, Dad took every opportunity to screw with his head.

Most of the opportunities came because of the way our properties were laid out.  Like I said, our barn ran lengthwise between our houses.  And we had about 3 or 4 feet of property on the other side of the barn.  Basically, it was turf that we never really saw, but was right there for them to see every day.
Pillars?  Really?

First, there was the lawn cutting wars.  As you might imagine, the Blonds were pretty fussy about their lawn.  So Dad would time it so that he cut his grass 2 or 3 days after the Blonds did, so that ours would look more manicured.  Invariably, Mr. Blond would come out afterwards and re-cut the parts that bordered ours, so not to look bad in comparison.

Then Dad decided that each time he cut the grass, he’s take one less swipe along the border, effectively making it appear that our part was smaller.  The actual goal was to get Mr. Blond to start cutting our grass.  Dad knew that Mr. Blond would never let a single uncut section remain between our properties, so he’d invariably break down and cut it himself.  Dad eventually got him to cut about 4 feet of our lot before Mr. Blond let it go.

Then Dad stopped cutting the strip on the other side of the barn entirely.  Eventually Mr. Blond ended up cutting it too.  It was probably a better deal for him anyway, because unlike my dad, HE wouldn’t blow the grass clippings into his garden.

Psychological warfare is fun!

My brother Ed even got into the act one Saturday afternoon, by shooting bottle rockets over our barn from our back yard.  Most of them blew up in the air, out of harm’s way, but one took off a little low.  It shot over the low end of the barn, scooted into the Blonds’ garage and blew up there... while Mr. Blond and the brat were inside it.  He came running around the end of the barn and yelled at us to knock it off.  We said we were sorry and he went back home. 

I looked at Ed and said, “So what are we going to do with the rest of them.”

Ed just giggled and lit another one, sending it into the garage again.  But this time, we got the hell out of Dodge and ran back in the house.  Dad thought it was funny as hell.

My favorite story is this, and I really have no idea what even started it. 

Dad took a tape measure out to the other side of the barn one day, (again, out of sight from our house but right beside their house) and started making some measurements.  Almost immediately, Mr. Blond approached to ask what he was doing.

Dad said, “Well, I’ve been thinking about raising some pigs and I thought this would be the best place for the pen.”

Dad said Mr. Blond turned an even whiter shade of white and just said, Pigs?

Dad went on about how they would keep us stocked with meat and bacon, and that Mr. Blond should try to make sure the kids didn’t bother his pigs.  He made some marks and put a few stakes in the ground, then went back in the house, leaving the big guy to stew about this new development.

Of course, there were no pigs.  Dad was completely screwing with him.  But the thing is, he totally would have if he could have gotten either of his sons to buy in on the plan.  He traveled too much to care for the pigs himself so Ed and I would have had to do most of it.  This was one of the few times my brother and I were on the same page.  We told him there was no way we were taking care of any pigs.
I had friends that had pigs… I knew how much work it was to keep them.

Dad was mildly disappointed.  It would have been his crowning glory… investing in raising thousands of pounds of pig, for no other reason but to annoy the neighbors.

So you see?  You’ve all been saying that now you understand where I get it… Now you understand the depths of the condition.

I think it also explains my fascination with bacon, as well.

25 comments:

  1. You're a f****** genius, Bluz, and by God, you come by it honestly!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Judie,
    Hey, I didn't do anything. I'm just the biographer here.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Funny. But calling out the heat on Jesse was not funny. The Yuppification of the heartland is not funny.
    Mary Mo is an athlete as is Dad. The Blonds deserved pigs next door.

    ReplyDelete
  4. But what an unkind thing to do to the pigs!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Pigs must be the #1 neighborly-niceness havoc-wreakers across the Midwest. About the time I entered high school, our area in central Ohio became really attractive to yuppies who wanted to live in the country but still be close to the city. Every time he saw someone from out of town admiring a chunk of land around our house, my dad would choose that moment to spread "natural pig fertilizer" all over the local fields. No one ever lived within a mile of us.

    ReplyDelete
  6. That is totally the place I grew up... yuppies buying up land all over the place and putting up little clusters of McMansions. Nothing like a little pig juice to cut the yuppie density. Not even Starbucks can cut through that.

    But I tell you, Mr. Blonds balls must have shrunk up to the size of marbles, at the thought of living next to real, live, squealy dirty pigs.

    ReplyDelete
  7. "Fucking pillars! Like it was 'Tara' or something."

    Haha! And did you take a good look at this place the last time you visited? Lots of folks think they're in Tara now... Of course, then you have the other side of lunatics. The ones who move from the city to a clearly suburban neighborhood lot, maybe half an acre, and buy a full-size John Deere Tractor for the lawn.

    Wish your dad was still in these parts, to put them all in their places.

    Hilarious post--thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Yeah, I saw it last summer, when I was in town. Looks nice... no pillars, but nice.

    You know, the Blonds must have been so happy when we moved. But then they got neighbors even worse than us... The new guys set up some kind of construction business out of the the barn and had the place filled with heavy equipment. The Blonds moved away not too long after we did.

    Oh, and we never had a big combine tractor or anything... it was bigger than those little John Deeres, but not a full size tractor either.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Your dad is my new hero. I love his sense of humor.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Trash,
    He certainly had his moments. These were some great ones! He will be very proud indeed, if in these tales, someone might be inspired to torment a friend or acquaintance. Or flummox a family member.

    ReplyDelete
  11. As big of a pain in the ass as Chihuahua is, if somebody puts her in the pokey, they forfeit their right to LIVE.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Mrs. Bachelor Girl,
    My baby was the sweetest dog ever. If she knocked the kid down, it was only to get a better angle at licking the crud off her face.

    Calling the dog pound was a chickenshit thing to do.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Those neighbors sound like the ones in Christmas Vacation. Way to go Bluz Dad for making them worry about pigs. That's hilarious stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Bluz, great stories about ME. I want to add one more true story. While attending a Safety Conference in Green Bay, a Safety Director from Muskogee came up to me and said he may have to return home as he just got a message from one of His employees that a fire/accident occured there that would need his attention. It sounded fishy to me, so we double checked with his Nurse, she said no accident or fire occurred. So the fun began. I suggested he call back and leave a message thanking him for reporting this event, AND we notified the Co. President and V.P. who would call him for more details. This being done, we immediately got a call apologizing out the ass, and recanting his report. We chewed him out and let it play thru. He never got the call but did sweat for hours. We told him the truth the next day. SO, as I have mentioned to you in the past, and previous blog entries you have written bares this out, the best way to handle a prank on you is to turn it around and point it right back at them. Dad

    ReplyDelete
  15. You are right on the pigs, much too intelligent to be subjected to such indignity.
    Spreading the pig perfume around the area, however, is brilliant. That would have worked well with the Blonds.
    After their first chickenshit number on Jesse, they again called the dog catcher for some imagined attack. As he stood at the door, writing his report, he kept looking from Jesse to me and shaking his head. No way.
    He never returned.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Remember catching Blond listening at the Barn window when we were remodeling? We raised our voices, began discussing our halfway house for inmates. Of course, that would have been "cruel and unusual punishment" for the poor prisoners but B bought it, especially when we mentined interviewing the sex offender who seemed really nice, polite, liked kids...

    ReplyDelete
  17. Jessica,
    We totally could have pulled a Griswald, if we were speaking to the Blonds:

    Mr Blond: Where do you think you’re going to put that fence pole.

    Bluz Dad: Bend over and I’ll show you.

    Mr. Blond: You can’t talk to me that way.

    Bluz Dad: I wasn’t talking to you…

    Dad,
    Oh, that story was classic. It’s exactly the advice you gave me as described in my “Fish Story” post. Always effective… And it’s always fun to be the brains behind a nefarious operation, isn’t it?

    Mary Ann,
    Yeah, I’m sure the dog catcher knew that there was no way a golden retriever was running around terrorizing the local children. (Especially that one, who never met a person she didn’t love.) Like I said, they needed to go live in a gated community somewhere. (Preferably far from us.)

    Regarding the eavesdropping, I know they were nosy but I don’t remember that actually happening. I thought that’s what we said we’d do, if we ever caught them out there.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Your dad is an awesome role model for messing with people. Those were some great stories. I can't believe they called the pound on your dog. As my Midget would say, what a bunch of douche bags.

    I love messing with people. My favorite thing is when one of my fellow suburbanites asks me what church I attend and I innocently respond, "Oh, I don't attend church, I'm a Witch." They generally wrap up the conversation pretty quickly and move on as soon as they can without looking like they are fleeing in terror. It's hilarious.

    ReplyDelete
  19. BACON!

    Your dad is the shit. For reals.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Raven,
    When you do that, you should then ask if they would give you a few of their hairs. Then watch them stammer all over the place.

    Cassie,
    That's Church!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Yo Bluz,
    What's up! Sorry I've been MIA for a while. Been busy relaunching the site.
    Happy Belated New Year!
    Your dad's a funny dude, that's for sure. I can see where you got it from.
    Good luck this weekend.

    ReplyDelete
  22. always remember mooning them during barn parties and The Elderlie has inspired me on some of my best paybacks also so his reach extended well beyond his BIO kids and on to his Barn kids as well ...

    ReplyDelete
  23. Your dad wins. Everything. ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING.

    ReplyDelete
  24. You hit the Mother Lode with this post, Bluz! I keep coming back to read it again!!
    Do you have your clothes laid out for Sunday yet?

    ReplyDelete
  25. Guy,
    Glad to have you back. Looking forward to your re-launch.

    Can’t wait for gametime!

    Anonymous Rik,
    Right… I forgot about the moonings up against the Barn windows. And also the time my sister and her friends got caught peeing in their lawn at night, because the Blonds came home unexpectedly, catching their bare asses in the headlights.

    And of course, we had that blackboard, upon which we wrote “Mind your own business,” and left it propped up in the window towards their property. For several years. God, they must have hated us… lol…

    Burgh Baby,
    Just wait until your little angel starts wanting to mess with people… and guess who she’ll start with?

    Judie,
    Repeat readings? So now, do I get to post that I gave Judie a “multiple?”

    I’ll post game gear on Sunday, but all systems point to the same outfit as the last 2 playoff games.

    ReplyDelete

Comments are like 'crack' to a blogger... Please help me get my 'fix' by leaving a comment! And be sure to check back for my reply. Consider it the Afterparty!