The Fugliest House in the Neighborhood

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Fugliest House

Face facts, people: windows that close are highly overrated. Why do repairs today when you can put them off until tomorrow? The fugliest house in my neighborhood is so fugly kids won’t even go near it on Halloween despite the faded plastic pumpkin on the porch that’s full of candy that expired in 1968. If you think brand-new Tootsie-Rolls are hard to chew, try a few from 50 years ago – THEY’RE FREE!

Adults: forget the Tootsie-Rolls – nothing but empty calories, bad for the waistline. LiveScience.com explains why living in fugly is actually so good for you: “Termites generally consist of up to 38 percent protein, and […] are also rich in iron, calcium, essential fatty acids and amino acids such as tryptophan.”

Pass the fondue fork, that’s all I can say!

People living in fugly often become termite farmers by default, otherwise known as neglect, but there are so many other insects that maybe it’s best not to specialize. The Bay Area Bug Eating Society – which actually exists and whose optimistic acronym is “B.A.B.E.S.” – informs us that “Some common bugs for eating include: termites, ants, crickets, grasshoppers, grubs, caterpillars, cicadas, maggots, dragonflies, beetle larvae, beetles, scorpions (cut off the stinger), spiders, earthworms, water bugs, and cockroaches, and bees (boil to neutralize the stinger).”

Um, B.A.B.E.S.: I wouldn’t put a cockroach anywhere near my mouth even if my house was loaded with them, and scorpions aren’t bugs, they’re arachnids, but thanks for the stinger warning anyhow.

Random internet research shows that fugly also has nutritious fringe benefits – 100 grams of dung beetles contain 17.2 grams of protein; sure, it’s less than the 26 grams of protein in ground beef, but if you live in fugly dung beetles are free, whereas decent ground beef can run you over $5.00 a pound!

You can see I like to look at the bright side of things, even the bright side of fugly, but as we know not all is sunny on the fuglier side of the street. For instance, the fugliest house in the neighborhood might not be yours, but it might be the house next door.

Then – what to do, what to do, what to do?

First give thanks, because at least it’s not across the street so you don’t have to look at it every day through the window. Then you need a P.o.A., or a Plan of Action!

My recommendation for a P.o.A. would be to prioritize the most annoying aspect of the fugliest house in the neighborhood, and work down from there. Start, for instance, with the rooster. No one in the suburbs needs a rooster I firmly proclaim, so first check your city’s Code for the section entitled, “Thou shalt not harbor a rooster,” or “Thou shalt not covet a chicken,” or something along those lines. If your city’s Code contains such a section, call Code Compliance, leave a message, and expect action on your complaint sometime within the next 30 years. If you send an email the response time will be much shorter, somewhere around 15 years, because it’s easier to subpoena written documentation even if it takes them forever to find it.

If you can’t wait that long consider castration – not of the fugly homeowner even if that’s what you’d like to do because you’d need his hard-to-get informed consent, but of the rooster. Tell the fugly homeowner about the fantastic benefits of having his rooster caponized, as we who have investigated the rooster-castration procedure know it is called: when the time comes to eat Foghorn J. Leghorn, capon meat is tenderer, juicier, and more flavorful than run-of-the-mill chicken, and it has more protein per gram than stingless scorpions or even those yummy dung beetles. Plus once Foghorn’s dead he’s sure to stop cock-a-doodle-dooing at 5 a.m. in the morning, thus killing two stones with one bird, and cutting your earplug bill in half.

Now that we’re on the subject of Code Compliance, experience tells me that doing something is not something Code Compliance is very good at doing. That is unless you consider “doing something” to be driving around town in brand-new air-conditioned SUV’s with illegally tinted windows so you can’t file a complaint against the driver you can’t see who isn’t doing much of anything but driving around town listening to SiriusXM Radio on the government’s tab, which SUV’s they never get out of except when it comes time to levy fines on people they think are likely to pay said fines – which, by definition, excludes fugly homeowners since they won’t even pay for ground beef and eat dung beetles instead. In which case they do a lot and are constantly busy, and it’s the primary reason why I was once fined for having grass an eighth of an inch too long, but the guy who owns the house in the picture lives happily ever after: I paid the fine; he never would.

Nonetheless, Code Compliance is the municipal department you’ll have to rely on to help you solve your fugly house problem. As intimated above, Code Compliance response times range from 15 to 30 years – similar to the punishment for aggravated manslaughter – so you’re better off not leaving voicemails or sending emails, but rather showing up at municipal meetings, where you will be completely ignored unless you arrive with a megaphone, a neighborhood posse, and placards that read, “Just Say No to Fugly!”

Once you’re given the floor, demand action: “What are you going to do about fugly!?!?!” shout. At first you’ll hear excuses, but do not relent: “What are you going to do about fugly!?!?!”

Eventually – it may take more than one meeting but it should take less than 15 to 30 years – Code Compliance will come up with a P.o.A. of their own. Make sure it includes at minimum:

a) Caponizing Foghorn J. Leghorn (though euthanizing him might be your ultimate goal).

b) Removal of all habitats that foster the spontaneous generation of cicadas, maggots, scorpions, water bugs, and cockroaches (which is pretty much the entire yard).

c) Biohazard removal of all Tootsie-Rolls more than a decade past their sell-by date (and melting that godawful plastic pumpkin that you’re sick of looking at as part of the process).

d) Tenting the fugly house to kill the termites (making sure the fugly homeowner isn’t inside despite your darkest fantasies).

e) Painting the goddamn thing (in a tasteful color that would be approved by any respectable Homeowners Association in a neighborhood better than yours).

f) Planting a lawn (then mowing it at least once a year).

g) Perennials (because they last longer than annuals).

Note that this is what Code Compliance will order the fugly homeowner to do, but be prepared: the fugly homeowner isn’t going to do it because he knows that all Code Compliance really does is drive around town in brand-new air-conditioned SUV’s with illegally tinted windows so you can’t file a complaint against the driver you can’t see who isn’t doing much of anything but driving around town listening to SiriusXM Radio on the government’s tab. Thus you will have to return to your municipal meetings with that megaphone, neighborhood posse, and placards that read, “Just Say No to Fugly!” multiple times over many years, or at least until the fugly house collapses on the fugly homeowner due to termite damage, and you delay calling 911 for 15 to 30 years.

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