This week Ammo Grrrll is thinking about PLAYING BY THE RULES:
The propensity to make rules for others to follow – somehow lawmakers always manage to exempt themselves – is truly astonishing. We have recently witnessed another weepy backdoor attempt by the President to immiserate the lives of law-abiding gun-owners while leaving the “refugee” terrorists, the criminals, the insane, free to continue with theft and straw purchases. This site has dealt very well with the issue and I have nothing to add except I sure would like to get ahold of some of that half billion to “study” the problem some more.
So I will just try to do what I’m here for, which is to entertain.
Except for the relentless gun-grabbers, perhaps nowhere is the tendency to overregulate more vilely displayed than in Home Owners Associations. We had never lived in a gated community or anything but a rather hang-loose working-class neighborhood before we bought our Dream House in Arizona.
We were used to neighborhoods where some people had manicured lawns and others hung their laundry on a clothesline in the front yard; some people mowed when you could no longer find the smaller children, and others used tweezers to extract every single dandelion. When we moved into our suburban house – itself a yuge step up from our basement apartment on the East Side of St. Paul – the family of four teenage boys next door had a big net in the yard with which to practice soccer goals for three seasons, and hockey slapshots for the other. Bang, bang, bang, slap, slap, slap. We lived with it and they lived with the fact that we had a roaming outdoor tomcat who annoyed the heck out of their elderly, near-blind dog.
In our Dusty Little Village, we were forced to sign in blood that we would abide by the Phoenix Yellow Pages-sized set of rules governing our HOA before we were even allowed to buy our home. We didn’t read the rules, of course. As with Obamacare, we were encouraged to sign on to them to “see what’s in them.” The last time the Jewish people signed on to something without reading it was The Torah, which turned out to contain several zany surprises. “No coveting OR shrimp? Really?”
The main problem with the HOA is the failure to have just a few common sense rules. We can’t just say, “No laundry in front. Don’t paint your house plaid,” and be done with it. Oh, no. We must specify the only nine allowed colors. Plus the ONE color for the fences; the ONE type of chicken wire to prevent the rabbits from eating all the landscaping; the ONE caliber of bullets with which to shoot the rabbits. Haha. I kid. HOA rules specify only nonviolent methods of dealing with rabbits, such as encouraging them to commit suicide by playing in an endless loop, the tape of Obama’s speeches that he gave to the Queen, apparently as a gag gift. The Paranoid Texan Next Door planted allegedly poison bushes, but the rabbits ate them right down to the ground without discernible ill effects.
The other problem, of course, is that many people do NOT have any common sense and so everything must be spelled out. In my experience, left to their own devices, homeowners will amass many kinds of demented lawn statuary: the inevitable pink flamingos, bunnies with bonnets, lighted deer, bears, cows. I figure these are transplanted country folk, living in the big city who miss their rural environment.
Which would open up a whole new market of lawn statuary for city folk who move to the country and have nostalgia for an urban setting: little panhandlers with their handwritten cardboard lies; small mechanical flashers in their grubby raincoats; gangstas in brightly-colored backwards caps; and one lane into the driveway permanently blocked off with orange cones and a Merge sign.
My former yard man, Enrique, gifted me with a little burro pulling a wagon which sat in the front yard for a few weeks until we received a letter citing the chapter and verse in the regs that prohibited yard art in the front yard. Or at least Mexican yard art. We have noticed examples of frogs, bleached steer skulls, and at least one orange ceramic pig that somehow passed muster. Unfortunately, the letter arrived in June when we were back in Minnesota.
Burdened with an insanely anti-authoritarian nature, when I called the Paranoid Texan Next Door, I said: “This is freakin’ America! I will fight for that burro till hell freezes over.” And he asked me if I had ever heard the song, “I fought the law, and the law won”? He then shared that he had waged a multiple-month battle to match the color of his fence to his house rather than the one approved color of Icky-Old-Snow Grey. And lost. As a postscript, he informed me that after all the geometrically-increasing fines they can levy, they can actually put a lien on your house. At which point, Mr. AG took the phone and urged the PT to “please move her ass into the back yard” while muttering something about how I still had much to learn about picking my battles.
Sometimes I sneak the burro back in front for a few hours. Because this is America. At this stage of my life, I can always plead dementia.