Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Old people get a bad rap—maybe deservedly—for being overly protective of their yards and flowers and property in general. Old people don’t have jobs or kids to worry about any more, so they transfer all of that mother-hen/father-rooster protectiveness to the flora and the foliage in their yards.

I once read a book called Rush Home Road by Lori Lansens who made an observation about people whose lives are so problem free that they get upset when the neighbor kids step on their flowers or the neighbor’s dog chases a squirrel across their grass. Her implication was that if that’s the worst thing that’s happening to you in your life—well, your life is pretty blessed.

I guess we can tell how small or how large our lives are by what we choose to get angry about. One morning after I had read that book, I was sitting at the computer when I heard a rustling and crunching outside the window. I peeked out the blinds. A bird? An animal? A peeping Tom? No, just our kindergarten-aged neighbor boy peeing behind a bush on my decorative rocks.

Luckily, I had just read the book because it reminded me that if the very worst thing happening in my life was a kindergartner who couldn’t make it home to the bathroom, I must have a small life. So I just quietly closed the blinds again.

Stephen Colbert (I Am America—And So Can You) said that the answer to the illegal immigrant problem in the U.S. is to build a 2,000 mile front porch along the U.S.-Mexican border, line it with rocking chairs, and offer geezers free trips to Arizona, Texas, and New Mexico if they’re willing to take a shift on that porch, shaking their fists and yelling profanities at the illegals, warning them to stay off our property. I think Colbert meant it tongue in cheek—but I actually know one or two geezers who would be really good at that job.

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