I’ve never done an intervention before but I think my chance may be coming. This isn’t going to be as simple as demonic possession or drugs or alcohol abuse either. There is no professional help available for this type of problem. This one’s all on me and as the most senior male in the neighborhood I am bound by a moral obligation to help my younger male neighbor with his outrageous behavior. You see, he works too damn hard around the house and it’s starting to make the rest of us guys look bad.
He moved in about 10 years ago shortly after they got married and at first he seemed like he would fit right in. He did his share of mowing and maintenance and helping around the house but nothing out of the ordinary. After their first child was born and they decided that she had the better job, he became a stay-at-home dad. Since then his behavior has become decidedly more threatening to those of us who like a quiet cul-de-sac with low expectations of husbandry. I guess he never saw the movie Mr. Mom because I’ve never seen him with a week old beard or an ancient flannel shirt.
The guy’s from Nebraska so I guess we can look at that as part of the problem. Let’s face it, they named their championship football team after a brand of hand lotion and Larry the Cable Guy is more famous than Warren Buffet, even though Buffet’s funnier. It’s just that after 10 years of living in Kansas, isn’t it time to become acclimated to your surroundings? This guy works way too hard and the rest of us are starting to feel threatened. In the past couple of years he has added a stone retaining wall in the front yard, built a man-cave in the basement and done other improvements all around the house. That wouldn’t be so bad but he does it all while taking his girls to private school every day, coaching soccer, playing fantasy football and going to church almost every week. Who needs that kind of competition?
The last straw for me was last week when he had a sprinkler system installed and this week when he started re-sodding the backyard. The lawn wars have always been my best thing and since I had a 5 year head start on everybody else, mine always looked the best, even without a sprinkler system. Now he’s raised the ante to a level that I may not be able to keep up with. In order to save face today, I mowed my yard and the older couple’s behind me all in one afternoon. At the age of 57, I should be hanging out on the patio drinking iced tea and writing this blog not trimming, mowing and weeding a huge yard.
So I guess it’s time for the talk. I need to just take him aside and explain the Code of the Cul-de-Sac because apparently they don’t have those in Nebraska. The Code is a suburban tradition that has been refined many times over the years but has one basic premise, “No man will ever work so hard as to make his fellow-men look bad at the same time.” In his case this may be more difficult because he is a stay-at-home dad and the Code never really saw that coming. This won’t be easy for him but it’s going to be brutal for me. I would rather tell him he serves crappy beer than have to explain this misbehavior. I know his heart’s in the right place and he’s trying to do his best for his family but where does that leave the rest of us? We’re not exactly slackers but when he offers to tune up my mower in his spare time that just goes too far. So now I have to find exactly the right fatherly advice to help him become the good neighbor that we all need and want him to be, the kind that sleeps in on Saturday, drinks beer in the afternoon and generally lowers the wives’ expectations of what their husband should be able to accomplish in one weekend. But how do you tell Superman not to be so Super?
©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content