Thursday, August 30, 2007

"The Barber" Should Change His Name To "The Idiot"

You may recall my neighbor who refers to himself, and has all his friends refer to him, as "The Barber" despite the fact that he's stupendously not good at it, that I complained about last fall with his three yapping little prissy gay dogs keeping me awake. He apparently decided to have his roof reshingled over the past month. Yes, over the entire past month. Actually, it started back in the middle of July and has yet to be completed. He seems to have looked in the phone book for an ad proclaiming the world's most incompetent roofer because that's appears to be what he got. Watching this guy isn't exactly akin to a Keystone Roofers skit or a 3 Stooges skit, but my Christ, how long does it take to put up a roof? A day? Maybe two? I think a month and a half and counting is a little too long to have those three yipping backs of stupid barking at the roof eight to ten hours a day. The guy probably has everyone refer to him as "The Roofer," because it seems only people who are really, really bad at their profession have people refer to them by title only.

This roofer decided that he absolutely must have a dumpster in front of the house for his waste as well. This thing was parked in the street for thirty-three days. On the "no-parking" side of a two-lane residential street. Directly across the street from a handicapped elderly couple, who in turn had to park several houses down in order to not block the road. People raised their complaints, but you have to keep in mind that this is not only the world's most incompetent barber, but also the world's dumbest and most self-righteously indignant man. His position was that, as long as he had his building permit posted, he could legally have his dumpster parked illegally and blocking the road for as long as he wanted.

Fifteen days into this exercise in self-indulgent stupidity, my father happened to mention the situation to some cops about the laws regarding this thing, and they said they'd look into it, but never did anything about it because, you know a selfish, bad hairdresser inconveniencing his neighbors is not high on their list of criminal priorities. After a total of thirty-three days had gone by, my father, who has connections all over this city from his thirty years as a fire fighter, decided to talk to the head of the department of public works. This "barber" thinks he has connections in the city because he cuts people's hair. My father has connections all over this city from people he refers to as "an old fishing buddy of mine" or "a high school friend," the latter of which is what the head of the department of public works happens to be.

The head of the department of public works confirmed that the limit a dumpster can be parked legally on a residential side-road is a total of seven days. The limit a dumpster can be parked illegally on a residential side-road is a grand total of zero days. When he found out it had been parked there for thirty-three, the dumpster was towed within the day, most likely at The Barber's expense, and The Roofer had to finish his job sans dumpster. Ha-ha; that's what you get for always being a jackass to people, moron.

One time, The Barber came into my store and bought a carton of Marlboro Lights with a $3.00 coupon. The going price for a carton at the time was $34.76 + tax, which was clearly posted on the sign. I rung his cigarettes, subtracted the $3.00 coupon, and subtracted an additional 89 cents to price match a competing store. The total came to a few pennies over $33.00. He started to get huffy. "I thought they were $34.76!" he stated indignantly. "Plus tax," I calmly replied. "Let's see, an eight percent sales tax on thirty-four dollars would be . . ." took a second to compute it in my head, "roughly $2.72, so your coupon pretty much negated the sales tax. Plus, I took off an additional eighty-nine cents to price-match our competitor." He knew he had no argument and I pretty well embarrassed him in front of all the other customers who were stifling their laughter behind him, so he begrudgingly paid for them and left the store.

How does a man live to be in his sixties and own a business, yet not understand simple concepts like sales tax, or be able to take thirty-four times eight in his head? How does a man act that self-righteous and live to be in his sixties? You'd think that at some point in his life someone would have had the balls to call him on his own bullshit, preferably with the business end of a Glock. We don't have to put up with the stupidly indignant. Their main fault is that they are most commonly wrong about whatever it is they're thinking. All you have to do is have the presence of mind to point out to them how horribly, insufferably wrong they are and they won't be able to respond with any sort of logical argument. That's why we have to keep learning and keep thinking so we can combat the wave of self-indulgent stupidity whenever it decides to advance upon us.

I should have called after him, "AND SHUT YOUR FUCKING DOGS UP!!" but I didn't think it would be appropriate with a line full of customers. 'Tis a battle for another time, perhaps.

I've been learning to combat the dogs as well. Over the course of the winter, I discovered that not only are they so terrified of everything to include the wind, the rain, and the snow that they feel the need to bark incessantly at it, but they will also flee from it. All I would have to do is throw a snowball at their lattice enclosure and they would scurry, barking, back into the house where they were far less audible and thus far less annoying. After the winter, I discovered that a handful of ice cubes would do the same trick. It got to the point where I didn't even have to smash anything against their pen to trigger their flight response; all I had to do was yell, very definitively, "SHUT the FUCK up!" and they would flee, yipping, into the house.

This guy yells at, curses at, and threatens them all the time and all they do is stand there and bark at him. The sound of my voice sends them fleeing for their lives. I think it has to do with the conviction in my voice. He just growls it out in one constant sound, so they process it as no more of a threat than their own barking at him. When I say it, it carries the weight of "Shut the fuck up, or I'm going to pick you up by your tails and smash you against the wall until you shut up," and although I wouldn't, I'm certain they don't want to take the risk. I kept hoping he would one day hear me yell at them and say something to me because I'd just tell him that he's jealous because there's one thing that his dogs do for me that they don't do for him: obey.

He even gave up one of his dogs for some reason. Maybe it was sick, maybe he breeds them and someone bought it, maybe he was just taking care of it for an extended period of time, or maybe it finally got plump enough to eat; I have no idea. Unfortunately, he decided to replace it with a new one. I know this is new because they used to be all dirty gray, and this one is a dirty white. This new dog is afraid of nothing. If I yell at it, it'll just stand there and bark at me. If I throw ice at it, it'll just stand there and bark at me. I could probably surgically remove its vocal chords and it would find a way to stand there and bark at me, possibly by using a reserved set of back-up vocal chords located in its ass. Any tiny noise from my car pulling up to the soft landing of a butterfly will set this dog into a five-minute long barking frenzy. Seriously, this dog barks at noises I make inside my house. And no amount of yelling at or throwing things at it will make it stop. It just verifies, in the dog's mind, that there is something worth barking at.

So I have to fight dogs with dogs, or in other words, I have to turn his dogs against him. This is not an entirely difficult task since he works during the day and I happen to be up at night. He has a new dog whose bark is set at a hair trigger, and any subtle noise will set this dog on a several-minute barking rampage. Do the math here. Every night preceding a work day, I go outside every half hour or so and do something like shut the door, make a barking sound, or tap on the privacy fence to set the dog on a barking spree that will be sure to wake up the ass-bastard. Every half hour. He's going to get no sleep and give out crappy haircuts until either his business caves and he is forced to sell his house and live on the street until the hobos murder his dogs for food, or he will figure out that this dog is close to the worst investment he's ever made and send it on its way before he loses his business. I don't really give a shit which scenario plays out as long as I don't have to keep hearing Stupid the Wonder Dog every fucking day and night.

"The Barber" should change his name to "The Idiot" because that's the only thing he's truly good at.


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