Hello Nephews and Nieces, your Aunt Mary is back from a lovely holiday by the sea. I’ve returned to a very full box; stuffed with queries such as this one from an angry nephew.
Dear Aunt Mary,
I live next to some urban cave dwellers from the end of Europe that time forgot. They smoke something that might need to be upgraded to compete with donkey dung. The smell is frightful! They also hack up buckets of phlegm and spit them all over their yard (at about 85 decibels). This starts from about 5 am and our only relief is when the whole tribe goes off to church to receive wisdom from their God. So, sitting out on our deck, enjoying the beautiful weather and having a genteel meal with friends has become a nightmare. I’d like to simply nuke their whole tribe. Is there a better solution?
Shatoff with the Spitoff – Inner West Cyberia
Well, this is quite a conundrum, isn’t it? My first reaction, like yours, dear Shatoff, would be to lob a sack of steaming dog poo over the fence and hope I hit one of the gobbing stinkers; but, as history has taught us all too often, such actions almost always end in an escalation of violence. You could soon find yourself dodging a rain of spittle yourself every time you step out onto your deck, or worse. No, this is exactly the kind of situation that calls for a covert operation.
Nephew, yours is a situation in which it behooves you to act like a superpower. Think for a moment about how large, powerful nations, such as the United States, have succeeded bringing about change from behind the scenes. I’m thinking specifically of Iran in ’53 and Australia in ’75; but you can probably recall any number of incidents in Bogota, Burma, Costa Rica, Korea, Laos, Guatamala, Indonesia, Iran, China, Taiwan, the Middle East, as examples. These covert operations, whatever our opinion of them, were in most cases very successful; well, as long as you leave Cuba ’61 off the list.
Funnily enough, your problem reminds me of something that took place during my recent holiday. My annual trips to the seaside, always involve a visit to my dear, old friend Judith. Judith runs a charming little B and B called Sunnyhaven and I usually find my stay there is a much needed retreat from the stress and strains of day to day existence. You see, Judith rarely if ever has any other guests apart from me.
Unfortunately for all concerned, this year was quite different. This year Sunnyhaven was a Mecca of sorts to a group of free-spirited pagans who apparently have taken the phrase “sex and drugs and rock n roll” as their personal credo. Now Judith is a lovely lady, an excellent cook and keeps Sunnyhaven’s rooms and garden in pristine condition; but to say confrontation is not her strong suit is akin to stating that verbal dexterity is not George W. Bush’s claim to fame.
This is all to say that by the time of my arrival, Judith was at her wits end. Her subtle suggestions that nakedness, loud music, drug taking and general hedonism were not the norm at Sunnyhaven were either ignored or did not even register as complaints. I could see immediately that Judith was reaching out to me for a solution and I decided immediately on a course of action. I explained to Judith the age old of concept of good cop/bad cop – one of the truly great covert operations of all time
Our plan agreed upon, I took to my task with relish. I pestered the other guests unflinchingly for the entire first day of my visit. “Oh my god!” I screamed in the morning as I happened upon my neighbors tanning au natural. “Aren’t you worried about burning those things? And… “Please! Do I have to look at those first thing in the morning? I’ve just finished a large plate of eggs!” Later in the day, I proclaimed loudly on my cell phone: “It’s a dank, musty smell. I’m not sure it’s tobacco at all. Do you think I should call the police?” That evening I knocked on the door to their room dressed in a gaudy nightgown, my face covered with skin crème and my hair bound up in curlers asking: How long do you intend to play that so-called music? I need my beauty sleep!” On each occasion, Judith appeared at my shoulder to smooth over the situation and carefully note that even though she wanted her guests to feel at home in Sunnyhaven she did have to try and consider the sensitivities of ALL her guests.
Interestingly enough, the more resolutely Judith apologized to the offending guests for MY behaviour, the more amenable they were to curtailing their salacious activities. Within a day or two they began to behave more or less like regular folks. One might even go so far as to say they were pleasant neighbours. Certainly the brownies they gave Judith and I on the second day of my stay were quite delightful. We had such fun that night drinking tea and gobbling brownies and giggling like schoolgirls over the success of our covert operation.
Anyway, it seems to me, dear Shatoff, you are in desperate need a visit from an unflinching granny or aunt. I suggest you invite her over today and immediately let her loose to inflict the most outrageous assault imaginable on your miscreant neighbors. Have her loudly point out each and every one of their disgusting habits but be sure to step in quickly and forthrightly each time to apologize sincerely for the old ladies “crazy” behaviour. I am sure you will not only form a new bond with your neighbours they will more than likely see some of the error of their ways. It’s worth a shot anyway, right Shatoff? After all, how often does a Bay of Pigs happen anyway?
Until next time… nosce te ipsum, dear ones.