Silly Me

Silly me. It was an honest mistake.

After lunch, the dog and I went for a short walk through the turgid summer heat native New Orleanians call ‘a bit cool for the season.’ Our efforts earned one of us a sheen of sweat and the other a drooling pant. I won’t say which one won which.

Our next door neighbor, lovingly referred to as “Crazy Shawn” since he is both crazy and Shawn, was outside working on his lawn. Or, for those familiar with Shawn’s house, his lack of a lawn. Shawn spent many years spraying Round-Up on his front yard until every blade of grass was sent to the great green fields in the sky.

Optimists who visit say beautiful things like, “He must be preparing a rock garden.”

He must. Without the rock or the garden.

Rain has eroded half-a-foot of soil from his front yard, weakening the foundation of his house, Crazy Shawn laid down tar paper to protect what was left.

Guests plagued by positivity say to us, “A tar paper garden. Doesn’t Gwenyth Paltrow highly recommend those?”

If she does, I applaud her critics’ collective restraint in their descriptions of dear Gwen.

So this afternoon, Shawn is working on his tar paper lawn, weeding away grass which has launched an attack from our yard on the quarter inch of dirt between his fence and the tar paper.

Shawn is muttering to himself.

As those who know Shawn are aware, Shawn’s mutterings are the flapping wings of a butterfly which eventually cause a tsunami halfway across the world. Only, in this case, it isn’t a tsunami we need fear. Shawn’s mutterings grow into 911 calls, stalking charges, and physical violence.

Reminds one of Wilson from Home Improvement, n’est pas? And just like Wilson, there are important fence related conflicts I don’t have time to delve into today.

As anyone on the street will tell you, it’s best to pass Shawn by when he’s muttering. They’ll tell you that then ignore their own advice — but that doesn’t make the advice any less valuable.

Do as they say, not as they do.

So I pass, ignoring the muttering mischief-maker, when one word catches my attention.

Renters.

I am a renter, could this muttering be about me? My natural sense of victimhood said, “Of course, why would he talk about anyone but you?”

And seeing as many of the neighbors have restraining orders against Shawn, there aren’t many people for him to talk about let alone to.

Then he paused. He nodded his head. He said, “Really? I can’t believe it,” while yanking up a tuft of grass and tossing it aside.

Silly me. It was an honest mistake. He was wearing a bluetooth device and talking to a friend.

A silly mistake that.

The dog and I passed through our front gate and she flopped down on the lawn. While she rolled around, I listened to Shawn go on about property values.

“And with such an expensive property!” he said, picking up unrooted clumps of grass and tossing them in a garbage can.

“Exactly. How do you handle it?” he asked, after a pause.

His friend must have some really awful renters. People destroying their property. Ruining the neighborhood. It’s unthinkable and, given this alternative, it makes me momentarily thankful to have Crazy Shawn as my neighbor instead of these reticent neer-do-wells.

Loaded up with grass, Shawn turns to drag the garbage can out to the street, giving me a clear view of his other ear.

The ear I assumed the bluetooth device was hung since is other ear was naked.

There was no bluetooth device.

No headphones.

No phone on speaker as he answers and asks questions about those… these… horrendous neighbors.

Silly me. It was an honest mistake.

Mardi Gras Is A Contact Sport

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Step right up and try to take on New Orleans Mardi Gras!

Ladies and Gentlemen!

Welcome, welcome, welcome to Carnivale Cole’s Mardi Gras Pitching Contest! Step right up and show off your strength and accuracy! Prove your skills to that lovely lady or gentleman in your life. Win them beads! A stuffed animal! Or any number of wonderous prizes.

Who will be the first to show us what sort of king cake they’re made of?

You, sir! Thank you very much. Step right up.

Let’s all give him a round of applause!

Now sir, let me start you off with 5 3-lb bags of beads. We’ll put you on this parade float and get you traveling down the street.

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I got photobombed as I tried to take a picture pointing at the mansion in the background. Two minutes later, I snagged a bag of beads before they crushed this lady’s head.

Up ahead, you’ll see people standing on platforms and ladders. Knock down at least 3 people and win this amazing stuffed elephant for your lady friend!

Okay ladies and gentlemen, hee went for the college girl on the foot-width platform. Good choice, she had nowhere to dive!

Oh! A near hit! Unfortunately the bag exploded on a ladder showering everyone with beads.

Bonus points for hitting someone already standing on the ground! They crumpled like a wet paper bag!

He must be getting desperate! He went for the baby carriage! Too bad it’s empty! A ruse de guerre!

Last chance, who will he go for?

The gentleman on the ladder who, it seems, was not quite as drunk as our contestant assumed! The man on the ladder caught the bag! No points awarded.

Thank you, sir for playing! Better luck next time!

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For those who don’t know, this is a king cake. It is amazing. You should trade your first-born in for one immediately.

 

 

The Game

Ma and Pa Adler are visiting New Orleans for the first time on their bi-annual inheritance tour.

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Here’s a family photo. Not my family. Legally they want to avoid any public acknowledgement of our connection. I’m not the second from the left.

What is an inheritance tour you ask? Why a tour to identify the child most deserving of the inheritance. The middle brother has been the running winner for over a decade, but I’m hoping to eek out a win this year.

Here are a few of the things I’ve already done to secure the top spot during this tour:

  • I picked Ma and Pa up at the airport.
  • I helped carry one of their bags!
  • I made Ma a cup of tea.
  • I let them buy me lunch! (Parents love spending money on their kids, especially the moochy, adult ones.)

Pretty good, huh?

And to help secure my spot, last night I pulled out Cards Against Humanity. Ask yourself, what else would two, god-fearing, Midwestern parents want to play?

Scrabble? Pfft.

Pictionary? Please.

Winning an inheritance is about one thing – Know. Your. Audience.

Some people would argue those are three things. These people don’t understand dramatic pauses.

Don’t be one of those people.

No one likes them. (I’m looking at you, Yolanda!)

In Round 7, yours truly was the Card Czar and I was magnificent at it. The skill, the charisma… Apparently, Card Czaring is what I was born to do. Thankfully, I was born in the right place at the right time.

Sometimes I feel bad for people who weren’t born at the right time or in the right place. Then I enjoy a Kit Kat, because empathy is a downer.

I read the card… “And the Academy Award for <blank> goes to <blank>.”

And here is the winning response:

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Cards Against Humanity – The Successful Pornographer’s Idea Generator

Yep. “The Academy Award for the Art of Seduction goes to Daniel Radcliffe’s delicious asshole.”

Played by none other than Ma Adler herself.

Tears streamed down her eyes, her complexion turned ruddy.

“Ma!” Pa said, shocked.

“I don’t even know who Daniel Radcliffe is,” Ma said, choking on laughter and falling from her chair.

“It’s Harry Potter!” I said, clutching my proverbial pearls.

“Oh. Oh! Well that’s not appropriate at all,” Ma Adler said, becoming quiet, before melting into a fit of laughter.

Now I’m just a small-town inheritance scientist, but this seems like a really good sign. I think I may take down the reigning champ of the tour… the middle brother.

They still have a visit with the youngest brother, so anything can happen.

But regardless of the outcome, I suppose I’ve already won the inheritance tour, since we now know where I got my sense of humor.

Ahhh…

Now sentiment aside, I still want the real inheritance – Grandpappy’s old Folger’s can of nuts and bolts.

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This is the inheritance. Most people wonder why I want it so bad. My answer? Because if I don’t get it, one of my brothers would.