Shit I loathe more than mouthy self checkouts

A few weeks ago I posted the following status update on Facebook:

There’s nothing I loathe more than a mouthy self-checkout. I will put my onions in the bag when I’m good and fucking ready, asshole.

Subsequent research has proven that’s not true. There are in fact several things I hate more than those infernal machines, including but not limited to…

  • People who are taller than me who walk really slow. Come on, Stretch. Move your ass. You got no excuse.
  • Shitty bar service. There’s an epidemic of this in Davis Square right now. Stop talking to your fucking friends and pay attention to your customers. If I have to flag you down to order food ten minutes after getting a menu, you’re doing it wrong.
  • All the bullshit about how baseball needs more scoring. Remember all those 8-7 Red Sox games from early last season? Those fucking sucked. Meanwhile, the powers-that-be are also rambling on about pace of play. You can have more scoring or you can have a shorter game. These two goals are mutually exclusive. Pick one, ya dinks
  • Old farts in big matches at Wrestlemania. I get that the idea is to use stars from the 90s to help get eyes on the new generation, but I still hate it. Goldberg’s going to need oxygen by the time he reaches the end of the ramp. Roman Reigns is only good against dudes he can run at as hard as he can, so yeah, let’s put him in the ring with the ancient fucking Undertaker. And AJ Styles gets the privilege of trying to carry Shane McMahon to something resembling a wrestling match. And they wonder why none of the current wrestlers are household names.
  • The idea that we need to protect outdated jobs naturally being fazed out by the market. I’m looking at you, manufacturing and coal mining. The former’s dying due to automation, the latter because natural gas is kicking its ass. It’s like trying to stimulate the ice delivery industry after everybody got a refrigerator. It’s a waste of time, and instead we should be spending that effort on training the people losing these jobs so they can find work in different vocations.
  • President Queef Walrus’s stupid face.

Power Rangers is a dud

My inner twelve-year-old and a slew of positive reviews convinced me to spend two hours of my life on the new Power Rangers movie. I didn’t expect much. I got even less.

Spoilers ahead.

Normally with these sorts of movies I expect the main event—the fighting robots, the giant monsters—to make sitting through all the dumb people parts excusable. It’s a trade off. With Power Rangers, however, the payout was so slim as to be basically nonexistent. The Rangers didn’t get into their armor until there was maybe 25 minutes left, and after a dull fight with a bunch of poorly-designed putties they fired up their ugly ass zords for a flat out boring battle with Rita and the giant Goldar. Like Rachel Maddow with supposedly important tax returns, it was a lot of build with no big climax.

And it was ugly. Like, bowling shoe ugly. That sort of organic-ish alien technology hasn’t looked good since Obama’s first term and even then it was pretty hit-or-miss. The Megazord in particular is embarrassingly 2010s.

The movie’s main problem, really, is the number of origin stories it needs to tell. Each of the five Rangers gets a turn, plus Zordon and Rita. These mostly work (especially the Black Ranger’s), except for the one that gets the most screen time. Jason, the Red Ranger, is a successful high school quarterback and a great dude with a bright future who inexplicably decides to pull a prank which gets him booted from the team and strapped with a transponder bracelet. When given the chance to explain, he drops a cliche “YOU’LL NEVER UNDERSTAND ME, DAD!” So yeah. I don’t know. I don’t think the writers did either.

Power Rangers also suffers from that epidemic of uber-seriousness infecting modern Hollywood blockbusters. Like most things I enjoy, the source material is campy, silly, and usually kind of stupid. This iteration is none of those things, and its few attempts to insert levity mostly feel out of place amidst all the emo doom and gloom.

Now, that said, there’s potential here for future episodes in the series to be much better. The origin stories are all told and the world is set. Elizabeth Banks’s turn as Rita Repulsa takes her work as Effie Trinket to a whole new level of insane. And, in spite of the movie’s issues, I did find myself starting to root for the Rangers as people as they slowly gelled into a team. Could be the next few movies invert my usual trade off formula and make the science fiction action the price of keeping up with the story.

So although I can’t recommend Power Rangers, I’m looking forward to the inevitable sequels. I think those will be pretty good.

Fools go Russian in

By now you’ve certainly heard all the salacious details about the phone call with a Russian ambassador that led to the resignation of national security advisor Michael Flynn. If you haven’t…bro, read up, you’re seriously missing out.

You know what really fascinates me about this whole debacle, other than the fact that we’d be so much obviously better off if everyone had just cut the shit and voted for Harambe? In 2017, given everything we know about the interception of telecommunications, a member of the President’s staff thought it was alright to conduct shady business over the god damn phone. Think about that for a second. Let it sink it. Let it swirl around in your brain like an extra test tube of tequila in a steakhouse chain’s tackiest frozen margarita. Unbelievable, right? How in the fuck does that happen?

Maybe Flynn and anyone else involved are just stupid. But they’d have to be amazingly stupid. How many “the government’s listening to this call!” jokes have you heard in the last month? Probably a few dozen. Those jokes are so prevalent because everybody knows telecommunications are no longer secure. Hell, I bet your grandmother’s joked about it at fucking bingo. Which, given that the supposed goal of Russia’s recent activity is to destabilize the west, makes me wonder if the ambassador on the other end of the line was setting a trap.

Or maybe the people involved are just arrogant. The administration seems to think itself above the law. Someone intercepts this call? Who cares! Nobody’s going to do jack shit because we’re the best and there aren’t enough Democrats in DC to do anything about it!

Or—and this seems very likely—Flynn and his pals are just a bunch of luddites and this is only the first such breach we’re going to see. Reports indicate President Shitgibbon tweets from an older Android phone that’s inherently insecure and that White House staff members are using private email addresses. That’s not just hypocritical; it’s inherently dangerous, and it’s likely they’ve already been compromised.

And this is why it’s important not just to follow the news, but to think about it and discuss it. The actions of the administration say a lot about the strengths, weaknesses, priorities, and mindsets of those serving the executive branch. Sure, what they’re saying is basically “Jesus tap dancing Christ on a god damn jet ski we are a yuuuuuuuge gaggle of shitgeese,” but like everything else in life there’s a lot more to it than that.

On Boston’s dating scene

It’s rare that an esteemed blogger like yours truly deigns it necessary to lower himself to the level of the Boston Herald, but in this case I couldn’t resist. This article about dating in Boston and why it kind of sucks caught my attention. If you’re too good for that rag, I’ll give you the tl;dr: the local dating scene is a source of much frustration due to unfriendly people, insular locals, the cold, high living expenses, and—of course—those gosh darn social media sites and dating apps.

As an active participant and self-proclaimed expert on Boston dating, I’m calling bullshit on pretty much all of that.

If you aren’t going out to meet people because it’s too chilly for your delicate widdle piggy toes, well—obviously you don’t want to meet people that badly, now do ya? The people around here are plenty friendly as long as you’ve actually got something to say. And blaming technology is just flat fucking lazy.

The living expense thing, however, is definitely a big part of the problem. Pretty much every Boston resident of dating age is paying off a buttload of student loans. Dinner anywhere even remotely hip ain’t cheap. And I think it’s a lot worse for older singles—for whom the dating pool is already more limited—because so many of them have chosen to pay the exorbitant rents that come with living alone. Many of them can only do so because they’re getting assistance from relatives or working multiple jobs, and I often hear them say things like “I had cereal for dinner three nights this week.” That particular demographic, I think, is about to be the subject of a lot of supposedly intelligent reporting about health, finance, and social standing that’s going to make me shrug and say “yeah, no shit.”

While the article cites Boston’s wide variety of nightlife options as one of the scene’s strengths, anyone who’s been out and about lately knows that’s total horseshit. It’s something I’ve been harping on for years. Yeah, there’s a lot of restaurants and bars in the area, but for the most part you’ve really only got two options: shithole or boring overpriced garbage. Having a large number of something absolutely does not mean you have variety. I can count maybe half a dozen legitimately fun places with actual things to do that also happen to be within walking distance of the subway. Your bars and restaurants are boring as fuck, Boston, and it’s keeping us all from getting smooches.

Which brings me to the people. Bostonians themselves are a problem here, but not in the way the Herald suggests. You know who’s typically kind of dry? College-educated liberal Millennials. Seriously. When all you’ve got to talk about on a first date is that last thing you marathoned on Netflix, I mean…why wouldn’t your prospective paramour move on to the next option? And I’m not just ragging on the ladies here; I love snooping on obvious first dates, and holy shit dudes, you’re frickin’ dull. My god. The goal is to interest the other party, not put them to sleep. Sometimes when I’m out and about in Cambridge or Somerville on a weekend night, and I look around at the room, and I find myself surrounded by people who dress the same, talk the same, try to intelligently expound on simple concepts they obviously don’t understand the same, constantly screw up irony even though they rely on it so heavily for their humor the same…I can kind of understand why certain parts of the country shit on the coasts, and I can totally see why it’s so hard to find someone to date. Very few local Millennials immediately stand out, which is a huge detriment in an activity where a first impression is likely your only impression. There’s a reason I generally prefer to hide among the “insular” townies. They’re fun from the get go.

“But Scott Colby!” you shriek. “Now that you’ve crapped on most of your neighbors, what, exactly, do you suggest we do about this?” If I knew, I’d already have turned the answer into a dating app, made a bazillion dollars, and moved somewhere warmer with better nightlife. I think it comes down to time. Checking boxes next to mutual interests does not build a rapport. Going out on a zillion first dates eats up hours we don’t have and leads to frustration. There’s a balancing act here somewhere, and when it comes to dating apps and websites I think it’s more an issue of how we use them than of the construction of the sites themselves. Use your head? Show some restraint? Be picky about where and when you meet people? Give the people you choose to meet more time to become interesting?

I don’t know. But I do know it’s the day after Valentine’s Day and CVS might have a shit ton of cheap candy unless it’s already been picked through. Get your Extra Care Cards out and get to it, losers.

Ugh, don’t fucking riot

I absolutely understand the desire to break shit at the mere sight of Milo. Just typing his name kind of made me want to throw my bowl of oatmeal through a nearby window. But he’s just a shock jock attention whore, a Kardashian with worse fashion sense and a bigger mouth, and the proper response to that sort of troll is to shrug your shoulders and go on with your day. Leaving him to be a precious snowflake in his disgusting safe space is much more effective than running up the street to hurl bricks at a bank. Don’t feed the trolls.

You know how the wall’s a stupid, short-sighted waste that doesn’t accomplish anything? Like the immigration ban? Or the reverse buy-one-get-one-free sale on regulation? Same logic here. Fuck with people’s shit and you turn them against you and you will never, ever get what you want.

Democratic leaders at all levels need to come out and condemn this behavior and promise to prosecute the perpetrators. Grab control of the messaging for once.

And the rest of us need to keep the “see, all protests are bullshit!” and “I knew those academic wussies couldn’t be trusted!” narratives from taking hold. Protesting peacefully is a very powerful, positive thing. Reports suggest that the Berkeley protest, about 1500 strong, was peaceful until a few dozen black bloc rioters (similar to those that attacked DC after the inauguration) showed up. That’s right, kids: all it takes to make a thousand people look bad is a couple of assholes. Think of any party you’ve been to, or of your local gym in January. It’s one of the reasons I’ve been reminding people to look out for paid agitators (although I’m not claiming that’s what happened here).

Remember: government is a social contract. It’s an exchange of freedom for rights and protection. When that contract erodes, people get pissed—and rightfully so. Expecting them not to stand up for themselves would be silly, but I think we can absolutely expect them to behave better than this.

Gravity Rush 2 is a ton of fun

I’ve got nothing new to complain about this morning. It’s an odd feeling. Is this how the Undertaker felt when Brock Lesnar conquered his Wrestlemania streak?

So let’s blow some positive smoke up a good thing’s ass. I finally found a video game that’s taking serious time away from my beloved Destiny. Don’t worry, boo. I’ll be back. She and I are just going on a little business trip. Platonically. I swear. Same room, separate beds. No! Babe! Don’t walk out!

As you probably don’t know because nobody outside of my immediate family actually owns a Vita, Gravity Rush stars a spunky heroine named Kat and her magic feline pal that helps her manipulate gravity, primarily so she can fling herself across the sky or walk along walls and ceilings. It was a fun but occasionally gimmicky thing designed to take advantage of the Vita’s motion sensors and rear touchpad (HA HA “rear touchpad”). When it worked, it was great; when the wonky camera or imprecise combat got in the way, it couldn’t have been more frustrating.

The sequel (available now on Playstation 4!) has fixed all of the original’s problems. The camera’s smooth and smart and a forgiving targeting system makes combat a breeze. Using Kat’s powers to hurl random objects at enemies or missile dropkick them in the face is bad ass. Few things in gaming are more fun than recklessly dropping her off a building, catching her, and then launching her off toward the next waypoint or pack of power ups. Big, beautifully designed worlds provide plenty of space to watch her fly.

At its heart, Gravity Rush is a super hero comic book rendered in video game form. The story is told primarily via static screens styled like comic book panels. Spoken dialogue is rare and reserved for character names or emotional outbursts. It feels like a series of smaller stories rather than a single big epic. Kat uses her powers to help everyone she meets, although that sometimes gets her into trouble. Her legitimate goodness is a breath of fresh air in a medium that often seems stuck on 90s-style brooding antiheroes with just so much pain, man. The plot’s nothing special, but it works well enough and it doesn’t get in the way of the gameplay.

Insert a generic comment about how we need positive, uplifting forms of entertainment in our current climate of negativity. Dumb jokes aside, Gravity Rush 2 more than does the job.

(I am a little concerned about Kat’s cat, though. His spectral, space-y look makes me suspect he’s Taken, which makes Kat an unwitting servant of Oryx and…oh god, I play waaaaaaay too much Destiny.)

Regulate this

Yesterday, President the Donald signed an executive order mandating that for every new regulation put in place two regulations must be revoked. Yeah, I shit you not.

Regulation is neither an inherent negative nor an inherent positive. Like so many other things, it’s all about how you use it (yes, random Republican who will never admit to his friends that he reads me everyday, like a gun—we’ll get into that another time). The devil’s in the details. Yes, regulation can stifle industry, but it also protects consumers, workers, and the environment, and it establishes a framework for conducting business fairly. It’s a balancing act, to be sure.

“But Scott Colby!” you say. “Won’t the free market regulate itself? Can’t workers who aren’t treated well just go work somewhere else? Can’t consumers wronged by a business just take their money elsewhere?” In theory, sure! In reality…well, how’s any of that work in a poor town where there’s only one factory, or where Wal-Mart’s crushed all the surrounding businesses? People need jobs and they need stuff. The wealth gap and the concentration of economic power into giant conglomerates has destroyed any ability the market might have had to regulate itself. Personally, I believe evidence suggests the infamous Invisible Hand economists like to talk about is attached to a raving drunkard tumbling wildly down a flight of stairs. He’s farting a lot too.

One of my biggest issues with President the Donald and large swathes of the Republican platform is the way they take complicated problems and boil them down to meaningless little piles of nothing. Immigration, terrorism, foreign relations, the economy, and security are all extremely complex concepts. You don’t stop illegal immigration just by building a wall. You don’t stop terrorism just by telling the citizens of seven countries they can’t come in. You don’t build a strong economy just by stripping away rules that inhibit business. Every move you make comes with an amazing list of corresponding consequences that don’t seem to be getting the consideration they should. Nothing happens in a vacuum.

President the Donald billed this executive order as a means of helping small business. Bullshit burger on a bullshit bun with a side of bullshit fries on a bullshit plate. Who stands to benefit more from a general reduction of regulation? The mom and pop that might be able to hire an extra employee, or all of the Donald’s billionaire pals who now have even more capital with which to take over the economy? If you want to ease restrictions on small businesses, ease restrictions specifically on small businesses. Put your money where your mouth is and prove there’s no conflict of interest or ulterior motive.

I could absolutely get behind that. Hell, helping small businesses is a core tenet of my own still-theoretical campaign platform. I’d argue that the rules for the family bakery up the street or the guy writing software in his garage absolutely should be a lot looser than those for huge conglomerates. Are you a multi-bazillion dollar corporation that refuses to pay its workers a living wage and wants to dump all its garbage in the river? Bite me. Are you a mom and pop trying to make it work in an area where the economy’s not so great? Let’s party! These are two wildly different games and they should be treated as such. You aren’t actually helping small business if you aren’t helping them gain ground on their larger competition in some way.

Why is it two regulations that have to be revoked rather than three or four or five? And what’s to keep me from writing one giant run-on sentence regulation that encompasses all sorts of stuff? Is there a limit to the number of conjunctions I can use? How do we feel about semicolons, or parenthetical statements nested to the nth degree?

And…*gasp* what happens when there’s only one regulation left? Oh no! We’ll never able to implement any new rules! Will we have to ask Sean Spicer (the closest thing the administration has to a hobbit) to put together a fellowship and drop the One Regulation to Control Them All into the volcanic caldera of Mt. Doom? (Yes, in this joke the volcanic caldera of Mt. Doom is Kellyanne Conway’s mouth.)(Oh man I’m gonna be laughing at that one for days.)

Reducing the complexity of our government is a noble goal, but it’s something we need to be smart about. This is just another silly play to the base and another box to check off on the to-do list on the Donald’s fridge. Steve Bananas is going to give him another sticker! There are better ways to help small businesses compete…you know, like actually helping small businesses compete.

Shit like this is why we need a wanking emoji. Who do I talk to about that?


 

While we’re here, we also have to talk about Sally Yates, former acting Attorney General. News broke yesterday that she’d ordered the justice department not to defend the executive order temporarily banning immigration from seven countries. Hours later, she was fired. The press release explaining why is horrific. You need to read that.

The United States government is not a monarchy; it’s a conversation, essentially, in which a series of checks and balances at least tries to make sure one voice doesn’t drown out the others. The role of the Attorney General is to follow the law, not the orders of the President.

So he fires people who do their job correctly if it means they’re not completely loyal to him. He’s been spewing nationalist rhetoric for a year and a half. He constantly demonizes immigrants and goes on and on about law and order. He’s suggested the press needs to be muzzled.

This is basically the first page in the binder they hand out at New Dictator Orientation.

Maybe that wanking emoji isn’t quite enough.

Ban this

First off, I would like to thank President the Donald for providing me with so much blog fodder. His never-ending quest to haphazardly check off all the boxes beside his campaign promises so it looks like he’s actually accomplished something has been invigorating, to say the least.

So this immigration ban on seven Middle Eastern countries is dumb, right? Yes, I know that refugees from these areas have caused problems in Europe. Yes, I know Syria should probably be renamed Westeros at this point. Yes, terrorism is a horrible thing and we’ll remain a target as long as we’re prosperous.

I don’t care.

I could tell you we should be nicer to refugees because god damn it we’re the fucking good guys and it will pay off in the long run. I could tell you that assuming people who want to hurt us so badly won’t find a way to fake being a part of the “right” faith is extremely naive. I could tell you that declaring seven countries to be full of nothing but terrorist scum is a great way to encourage violence by people already inside our borders and is going to look amazing on the cover of ISIS’s next recruitment flyer. I could tell you that only a fucking asshole would implement changes like this without any sort of advance warning to travelers. I could tell you this whole thing will likely end up proven unconstitutional. But you’ve heard all that, so let’s get full Scott Colby on this bastard.

What this really comes down to, of course, is terrorism. Terrorists hurt people and damage property to make statements and influence the lives of their enemies. That last clause is the key, and it’s the part we’ve been doing a shit job fighting.

There’s one and only one correct way to react to a terrorist attack: help the victims, rebuild, smile and crack a beer when a drone shoves a rocket up the correct person’s ass, and don’t change a god damn thing.

When I see a metal detector at a sporting event or a concert I get pissed. When I saw a man in military fatigues carrying a big rifle in the Kenmore Square station at Red Sox Opening Day I was rip shit and I wanted to punch Wally approximately 7000 times more than I usually want to punch Wally. Every single one of these changes to our daily lives is a reminder that our enemies are slowly exerting their influence upon us—and we’re helping them. Many of these changes set a precedent that could allow future crackhead politicians to tighten down on our lives even further. It’s wasted money, time, and manpower that could be spent on more constructive efforts.

So I’m against the immigration ban not just for the humanitarian issues and logical lapses, but for the same reasons I was against the Patriot Act, expanded electronic surveillance, increased airport security, and all the rest: I ain’t fucking afraid of fucking terrorists. I’m not giving those terds the time of day. I’ve lived just north of Boston for the last decade, by the way, so don’t tell me that’s just because terrorism hasn’t impacted my life. I really don’t understand why so many Americans who live in places that would never in a million years become targets get their knickers in such a collective twist about this shit. I mean, seriously: 9/11 was horrible, but how in the fuck are we still using 9/11 as an excuse to do things? Bin Laden got got and Al Qaeda’s a smoking crater. When does it end?

If you’ve got concrete intelligence suggesting an impending attack then yeah, do something about it. If your intelligence consists solely of “these guys look like that last asshole and have a few of the same hobbies,” get the fuck outta here. If you can help fifty people but one of them might cause trouble, you absolutely help those fifty people and take your chances with that one jerk.

Refugees whose lives have been ruined by terrorism are being kept at arm’s length because they themselves might be terrorists. Wrap your head around that one. What a kick in the junk. Innocent Muslim children who don’t actually know what a Mohammed is are going to die because of this crap.

We’re the home of the brave, right? Fucking prove it.

The five most underrated sandwich ingredients

I don’t know about you, but crapping on the President all the time makes me hungry! There’s no better way to soothe the hunger pangs of an outraged liberal stomach than with a good old-fashioned sandwich. So here are the five most under-rated sandwich ingredients, because if I just write about politics all the time I’m going to drive myself nuts.

5. Spinach. Lettuce is for losers, bro. Lettuce doesn’t even lift. It ain’t swole like you and me. Now spinach, on the other hand…that shit’s lit. It fits better. It tastes better. It’s greener. Spinach all the way.

4. Caramelized onions. A source of sweetness often overlooked. Caramelized onions are the clean up hitters of the Sandwich All-Star team. They drive all the other flavors in with authority.

3. Italian meats. Salami. Capricola. Mortadella. Prosciutto. Soppressata. (…those are all Italian, right?) Here’s your muscle. Your carefully cured enforcers. Solid alone; dangerous in a group. Italian meat keeps the rest of your sandwich in line through sheer force of will. Treat it right or it will catch you outside.

2. Onion rolls. The foundation. Without some sort of bread, your sandwich is just a pile. Nobody wants a pile. A nice fluffy onion roll kicks your lunch to the next level. It’s absorbent. Stuff doesn’t fall out of it. Satisfying to hold but easy to put in your mouth (HA HA HA).

1. Stuffing. This stuff’s the shit, yo. Stuffing ain’t just for various hollowed out birds. Used appropriately, it adds a layer of moisture, flavor, and texture that can rock the Oakleys right off the back of Guy Fieri’s head. Try it. Love it. Thank me later.

And no, I’m not suggesting you try an Italian sub with spinach, caramelized onions, and Stove Top on an onion roll…or am I?

You know what doesn’t make a good sandwich? Trying to charge your neighbor for a stupid Fucking Wall you don’t need in the first place. Oh, so you’ll force them to pay with a 20% tariff on goods imported to your country? Way to pass the cost off onto your own citizens, dickweed. But I get it; it’ll never come to that, because that sort of tariff would tank the Mexican economy by allowing goods from elsewhere to undercut their prices. Investments into Mexico have already slowed and the peso craps all over itself any time the topic is brought up. Anyone with the wherewithal to cross the barren wasteland along the border ain’t going to be deterred by a wall. A wall can’t stop tunnels, aircraft, drug-launching t-shirt cannons (yup, that’s real), ladders, ropes, Brock Lesnar, human pyramids, pole vaulters, Graboids, or dynamite. There’s a reason this sort of fortification went out of style around the same time as full plate armor, broadswords, and healing people with leeches. He’s holding a friendly neighbor hostage to pay for a wasteful project that’s going to turn into nothing but a giant money pit. What a nice, reasonable fucking guy. I hope all the animals that can’t migrate past the Fucking Wall piss all over it.

Sorry. Couldn’t resist. Enjoy that sandwich!

A crappy parable

Let’s say you wake up one morning and decide you hate your neighbors. In your infinite wisdom you decide to stroll up and down the street screaming at the top of your lungs about how they’re degenerate assholes and losers who can’t be trusted, and the next time any of them even touches a blade of your precious grass you’re getting the hose or maybe the paintball gun.

You make sure to do this every day so they don’t forget. Occasionally you single one of them out for being particularly lazy or disgusting. “Ron’s a useless slob and his wife is ugly!” you shout. “The Worth kids are never going to amount to anything but meth heads and their father’s a diddler, I just know it!” You feel good.

Next, you build a fence. Not just any fence. The best fence. You pay for it out of your family’s vacation funds without any second thoughts and your useless, no good neighbors are going to reimburse you once it’s done. They’ve never agreed to do so, and they’ve told you over and over to pound sand, but you insist they’re going to pay up anyway and you boast loudly of your brilliant plan to anyone who will listen. You give the job of building the fence to your brother-in-law, who you pay extra because he’s family and it’s not like you’re using your own money to pay for it, not really.

The fence takes three years to build because your land’s kind of uneven and your brother-in-law’s kind of a lousy scumbag. It winds up costing a lot more than you thought. No family vacations until at least 2025. Your kids don’t really hate you; it’s just a teenage phase they’ll grow out of. They’ll understand when they’re adults.

You look out proudly upon your fence. It’s done. Your friends and family didn’t believe you’d actually do it, but you did. Now you realize you have to watch it, carefully, lest one of those ne’er-do-wells surrounding you tries to climb it or vandalize it or throw stuff over it. So you do. You start losing sleep. Your work life suffers. Your wife, feeling neglected, starts sleeping with Mr. Worth, the supposed diddler, who’s family got to go to Disneyland three years in a row. None of the neighborhood kids will trade Pokemon with your little bundles of joy. Your house gets egged on Halloween. The Homeowner’s Association “forgets” to invite you to the summer block party. No one will give your wife a cup of sugar when she goes asking around for one, ruining your daughter’s Sweet Sixteen and directly resulting in five years of steep therapy bills.

Maintenance costs continue to climb. Your beloved fence needs a fresh coat of paint. It’s crooked and sinking a bit over in the corner. Your neighbors continue to ignore the invoices you leave in their mailboxes, except that god damn Mr. Worth who tries to pay in Monopoly money. And somehow, despite your magnificent fence and your tireless vigil, you find dog shit on your lawn all the god damn time. Your daughter comes home from school in tears because all the other kids won’t stop making fun of her crazy ass father.

A massive storm hits the area, toppling trees, damaging roofs, the works. The neighborhood bands together to help Mr. Worth patch up his garage. You remove the fallen tree from your driveway, alone, while your wife glares at you through the kitchen window and sexts her secret lover. You throw out your back.

But you wouldn’t actually do all of that, right? That sort of thing would make you the town joke because only a crazy person would be that fucking nuts. You know being neighborly will pay off in the long run. You know there are better, cheaper ways to protect your beloved lawn. And you’d try to instill all those positive values in your children and make sure they get to go to Disneyland at least once.

Soooooooooooooo…